Attendees at Saturday’s service said the pontiff’s message reinforced their own beliefs. “It is very important to recognize our genocide because if we don’t recognize this one, we cannot prevent the next one,” Mourad Iskadhian, 43, of Montebello said.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! MONTEBELLO – Area Armenians and local officials attended a prayer service conducted by His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, at the Armenian Martyrs Memorial Monument at Bicknell Park. The monument, which sits on a hill, was erected in 1968 and is dedicated to the memory of Armenians who lost their lives at the hands of the Ottoman Turkish Government from 1915 to 1921, a period many call the Armenian genocide. “This is a service that honors their memory and blesses their souls so that they may rest in peace,” Armenian National Committee spokesman Raffi Hamparian said. Montebello is one of the many cities the pontiff will visit during his month-long tour of North America. This is his second visit to California in seven years. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 Several hundred people attended Saturday’s event and eagerly applauded when he spoke of the importance of the commemorative monument. “This memorial that stands at the heart of the state of California is a reminder of the Armenian genocide that happened during World War I,” the pontiff said. “I consider this living monument a challenge of all people that we must join our forces for the promotion of human values.” Values, he said, that are not just Armenian values, but human ones. The pontiff’s visit occurs at a time when the United States government is considering two pieces of legislation that urge the current Turkish government to recognize the role of its predecessors in the mass killings and acknowledges the United States’ opposition to recognizing it as a genocide. The resolutions, supported by the House International Relations Committee, await action by the House of Representatives.