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LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — The leader of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles celebrated a mass on Sunday in which he offered his perspective on one of America’s most controversial issues — immigration.

Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, a native of Mexico, addressed parishioners and guests at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown and asked them to pray for changes to the United States’ immigration laws.

“Of course, I’m not a politician. I’m a religious pastor,” Gomez said after the service. “But I think it’s obvious that there’s a possibility — especially after the immigration bill passed the Senate, and now in the House they’ll do something, possibly, and come up with a real comprehensive immigration reform. So I’m very optimistic.”

Gomez succeeded Cardinal Roger Mahony in March 2011 as head of the Los Angeles diocese, the largest in the U.S. A native of the Mexican city of Monterrey, Gomez is the highest-ranking Hispanic bishop in the U.S. and the first to serve as archbishop of Los Angeles.

He is also the author of the newly published book “Immigration and the Next America: Renewing the Soul of Our Nation,” in which he “argues that immigration reform is a human rights test for our generation” and “urges reform of our broken immigration system.”

“I’ve never seen this cathedral so crowded,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said on Sunday. “This is an issue, to have immigration reform, not only for Los Angeles and for California, but for the United States. It’s going to be good for our economy. The benefits are clear. It’s good for our security and public safety.”