Torch captains gather on Warren Street outside of St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton, following the lighting on Oct. 29. Mike Ehrmann photo
Torch captains gather on Warren Street outside of St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton, following the lighting on Oct. 29. Mike Ehrmann photo

“Today we celebrate the lighting of the Torches that will be going to parishes and organizations in our Diocese to represent our devotion, our love for our Blessed Mother and her role as interceder for us,” Msgr. Joseph L. Roldan said as he welcomed the faithful to the Torch Lighting in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton.


The twenty-one Traveling Torches (Las Antorchas Guadalupanas) were lit and sent forth by Msgr. Roldan, rector, following the Oct. 29 Mass, and will travel with their Torch captains to parishes, schools and organizations where they will be present during Masses, recitations of the Rosary, prayer services and cultural celebrations in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

In his homily, Msgr. Roldan reflected on the Gospel story of Zacchaeus, “a man of faith who did what was necessary to see Jesus,” and shared how Jesus makes himself present to us in the celebration of the Mass and in the Eucharist.

“Jesus makes himself known to us – if we only open our hearts to him.”

He also spoke of the Torches and the Blessed Mother.

“We give her the honor she deserves, but our devotion does not remain with her.  Her love continues to being us to love of the Jesus. The Torches represent the love and light of Christ – led by our Blessed Mother – who leads us to her Son.”

The significance of that was not lost on Soledad Quiroz, a parishioner of St. Paul Parish, Princeton, who serves as a Torch captain and will bring the Torch to her own parish along with St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Red Bank; Christ the King Parish, West Long Branch; and Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Lakewood.

“I’m blessed and honored to be here with our Blessed Mother and to bring Our Lady to the different parishes.”

In addition to parishes and schools, the torches will be in the care of the various Knights of Columbus organizations and the Respect Life Ministries in each county of the Diocese.

Estela Valladares from St. Rose of Lima Parish, Freehold, is captain of the Monmouth County Respect Life Torch. She and others bring the Torch with them when they pray outside the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Shrewsbury.

“I feel a responsibility, I am bringing the light of Christ. We are bringing light to the darkness,” she said.

Sabino Chico, Ocean County Respect Life Torch captain and parishioner of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Lakewood, explained how he hoped to extend the reach of the Torch’s light this year, saying, “I’ve been a part of the Torches for many years. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the protector of the unborn and I want to bring the Torch with me this year when I pray at the abortion clinics in Perth Amboy.”

“I’m honored and privileged to bring the torch to Burlington Country,” Martin Gottell, parishioner of Holy Eucharist Parish, Tabernacle, and Knights of Columbus chapter president shared.

Gottel and Edward Michalak, Knights of Columbus general program director for the New Jersey State Council and parishioner of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Moorestown, spoke of ways they could collaborate in bringing to the Torch to even more people in Burlington County.

“We were just saying how we can collaborate and work with our local parishes to integrate and plan our prayer services,” Michalak offered.

The torches will reunite during a pilgrimage on Dec. 3 in Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Lakewood.

Visit as more information continues to be shared about the Torches and pilgrimage.