All four torches honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe come together Dec. 3, 2016, at St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton, after the “Antorchas Guadalupanas” pilgrimage. This year’s event will see seven torches traveling all four counties of the Diocese before joining for the Marian pilgrimage. Jairo Torres photo

All four torches honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe come together Dec. 3, 2016, at St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton, after the “Antorchas Guadalupanas” pilgrimage. This year’s event will see seven torches traveling all four counties of the Diocese before joining for the Marian pilgrimage. Jairo Torres photo

By Christina Leslie | Correspondent

After last year’s successful celebration of faith, hope and light, the traveling torches dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe will once again dwell in the Diocese’s four counties and blaze the way to greater love of Mary.

Seven “Antorchas Guadalupanas,” or Guadalupe torches, symbolizing Mother Mary lighting the way to her Son, will be begin their journey during the Nov. 4 diocesan pilgrimage to Washington’s Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., will light the torches and invite their bearers to go forth and proclaim the Good News.

Related Coverage: 2016 ‘Las Antorchas Guadalupanas’

After their journey back to the Diocese of Trenton, the torches will begin their month-long travels through each county, stopping for one-week increments at parishes and schools, where they will be displayed during Masses and spiritual events throughout November. Many of the events will be celebrated in English and Spanish, and the torches will be adorned with ribbons bearing the names of each location it visits.

Last fall saw the first “Antorchas Guadalupanas,” which included four torches traveling the Diocese and culminating in a four-county pilgrimage through Trenton from two church locations to St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral for Mass and celebration. This year, the pilgrimage route will include a third starting point.

The first torch lightings will be in St. Mark Church, Sea Girt, at 4:30 p.m., Nov. 5; St. Ann Church, Browns Mills, at 11:30 a.m., Nov. 5; St. Joseph Church, Trenton, at 6 p.m., Nov. 4, and St. Barnabas Church, Bayville, at 11:30 a.m., Nov. 5.

The complete schedule can be found at dioceseoftrenton.org/Guadalupe, which will also feature an interactive map, and photos, videos and other information as the torches make their way through the Diocese.

Pro-life groups, parish religious education programs and Knights of Columbus councils are expected to join in the observance, noted Josue Arriola, director of the diocesan Department of Evangelization and Family Life.

“With Our Lady’s help, we should get good results,” Arriola said.

“We are just amazed at the response from all the churches,” added Maria Guzman-Paczkowski, the department’s administrative assistant. “We have been bombarded with excitement and many ideas from the Anglo community, which wants to embrace this, as well.”

In preparation for the events, parishes will distribute lapel buttons with a picture of the torch and the invitation to “Come Walk with Us! We’re following Jesus!” and the date of the Marian pilgrimage’s final Mass.

On Dec.2, faithful from throughout the Diocese are invited to join as one diocesan family in the torches’ journey to their final destination: St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton, for a noon Mass celebrated by Bishop O’Connell.

A walking route has been mapped through the streets of Trenton to the Cathedral beginning at three churches. Pilgrims wishing to walk the entire 3.8-mile route can begin at Immaculate Conception Church, 540 Chestnut Ave., Trenton; 2.4 miles from St. Anthony Church, 626 South Olden Ave., Hamilton, or 1.4 miles starting from St. Joseph Church, 540 North Olden Ave., Trenton. (Immaculate Conception Church is a worship site of Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Trenton, and St. Anthony Church is part of Our Lady of Sorrows-St. Anthony Parish, Hamilton.)

Along the route, pilgrims will be led in praying the Rosary, hymns by various choirs and musicians, and fellowship with other walkers.

Those unable or unwilling to walk the route may begin at the Cathedral at 151 North Warren St., where they can view the procession that will be livestreamed on large screens in the lower level of the Cathedral. After Mass, a celebration with traditional Hispanic music, dance, food and other events will be held in the lower level and the parish gymnasium across the street. Shuttle busses from the Cathedral to the three church starting points will be available.

A recent radio interview on the “Catholic Matters” WFJS radio station with Arriola and Father Jarlath Quinn, chaplain and liaison for Respect Life Ministry in Mercer County, further explores the significance of Our Lady of Guadalupe to present-day Catholics and describes the plans for the Dec. 2 celebration. It may be found on Sound Cloud.

The progression of the torches and the pilgrimage are a perfect fit for faithful from many backgrounds, organizers said. John Muka, a parishioner in St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Yardville, who is on the event planning team, pointed out, “This is a great pro-life activity, and religious education students can participate for service hours.”

The Diocese’s many social media platforms will allow pilgrims and viewers alike to follow the festivities in English and Spanish via their computer, tablet or smartphone. In addition to the Diocese of Trenton site, faithful may visit Facebook.com/CatolicosdeTrenton for updates or to find a livestream of the procession.

Through November and on Dec. 2, the Diocese’s newspaper, The Monitor, will also be posting coverage to its site, TrentonMonitor.com, as well as its Facebook page and Twitter.

Online Registration

All events for “Las Antorchas Guadalupanas” are free of charge, but registration is encouraged for the Dec. 2 procession to the Trenton Cathedral to plan for logistics and food. Register online at guadalupe2017.eventbrite.com or via smartphone by texting “olg2017” to 44222.