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Saints of St. Cecilia

Parishioners of St. Cecilia Catholic Church attend a monthly mass in honor of the Virgin of Soledad, the patron saint of the Mexican state of Oaxaca. Latino immigrants have made the South Los Angeles church a home for the saints they worshiped in their native lands. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
A packed congregation is the norm for the monthly masses in honor of the Virgin of Soledad. With the start of such gatherings in 2001, St. Cecilia became a center for Oaxacan religious life in Los Angeles. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Nick Zuniga, with his son Allen, 3, touches the feet of the Black Christ of Esquipulas statue and prays for blessings. The figure is an icon for Indians in southern Mexico and a national and religious icon in Guatemala. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
The Oaxacan Echo youth band performs upbeat, traditional mass songs that are played in the small churches of Oaxaca. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
A Christmas Eve mass is filled with parishioners. “This church now is the definition of a parish — which is the communion of communities,” said Father Luigi Zanotto, who was instrumental in the turnaround of St. Cecilia. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)
Elizabeth Cruz, a parishioner at St. Cecilia, displays a figurine of the Virgin of Juquila, a centuries-old saint worshiped by Oaxacans in Mexico and given a home at the South Los Angeles church. Cruz is wearing a tiara because she was named a second princess at the church. (Mel Melcon, Los Angeles Times)
Elizabeth Cruz, left, and her sister, Delores Cruz, carry baskets of flowers on their heads as they take part in a pilgrimage to St. Cecilia Catholic Church in honor of the Virgin of Juquila. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)