After hours of being carried through the streets of Trenton with much fanfare Dec. 2, the seven torches that had been touring the Diocese for a month in honor Our Lady of Guadalupe were brought one by one to the front of the nearly full St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton.
It was there that the Diocese’s second annual “Las Antorchas Guadalupanas,” or Guadalupe torches pilgrimage, came to a crescendo, as an estimated 1,000 of faithful – many donning traditional Hispanic dress or carrying musical instruments – came together for a Mass celebrated in Spanish and English by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., and concelebrated by 14 of the Diocese’s priests.
Photo Gallery: 'Las Antorchas Guadalupanas' walking pilgrimage
Photo Gallery: Mass, festivities for Our Lady of Guadalupe
The torches, which were placed in front of the sanctuary of the Diocese’s Mother Church at the start of Mass, had been traveling throughout the four counties of the Diocese since Nov. 4, stopping for increments at parishes and schools, where they were displayed during bilingual Masses and spiritual events. They were all adorned with ribbons bearing the names of each location it had visited.
In his homily, Father Arian Wharff, parochial vicar in St. Theresa Parish, Little Egg Harbor, spoke of how the torches were symbolic of the Blessed Virgin Mary lighting the way to her Son.
“Today we gather as a Christian community, as Catholics,” Father Wharff said. “We celebrate the light of the Church, the light of each of us. We have seen the presence of God active in our lives. We have been blessed. He has given us the love, faith and hope – hope in the future, in the middle of this diverse community.”
The Mass was part of a daylong celebration that began around 9 a.m. with a 3.8-mile pilgrimage that began at Immaculate Conception Church – part of Our Lady of the Angels Parish – and journeyed to the Cathedral for the Mass and celebration that followed, which was complete with food and traditional dances and music in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Walking along North Clinton Avenue during the last leg of the pilgrimage route, Leticia Jimenez joined hundreds in joyfully singing the beloved song, “La Guadalupana.”
“We are all here with joy and contentment,” Jimenez, a mother of two and parishioner of St. Mary Parish, Barnegat, said as she walked toward the Cathedral. “This is a very happy day for us. … We love the Lord – we trust in him, and we believe in the intercession of his mother, the Virgin Mary.”
For updates to this story, check back to TrentonMonitor.com. See full coverage in the Dec. 14 issue of The Monitor.