From staff reports
A day after the Our Lady of Guadalupe torches came together in Trenton in celebration of the Blessed Mother, faithful from the Diocese and beyond set off on pilgrimage to Mexico to grow closer to the Patroness of the Americas.
“I will take all of your prayers, all of your faces, all of your lives with me and pray for your intentions and your needs,” Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., said during the Dec. 1 Mass celebrating Las Antorchas Guadalupanas, explaining how he would be joining the faithful on the diocesan pilgrimage to Tepeyac, Mexico, and the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Photo Gallery: Diocesan Pilgrimage to Mexico
Bishop O’Connell and dozens of faithful, priests of the Diocese and diocesan staff are in Mexico Dec. 2-7, visiting the national shrine and various cathedrals, viewing and praying before relics of saints, and sampling local cuisine and music.
The group visited the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe Dec. 3; the national shrine of Mexico in the north of Mexico City houses the cloak containing the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. They also visited the Church of Santiago Tlatelolco, the site of St. Juan Diego’s baptism.
According to tradition, the Virgin Mary appeared Dec. 9, 1531, to a local man named Juan Diego. She asked that a shrine be built where she appeared, Tepeyac Hill, now in a Mexico City suburb.
They also visited the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon, built in the 2nd century AD, and learned about how the Aztecs worked the obsidian stone. The Pyramid of the Sun is the third-largest pyramid in the world
Other pilgrimage highlights are set to include:
• Excursion to Puebla, City of the Angels and Churches – the fourth-largest city in Mexico; Church of St. Francis, which houses the incorrupt body of St. Sebastian;
• Mexico City: Mass in Holy Family Church, tomb of Jesuit martyr Father Miguel Agustin Pro; Metropolitan Cathedral, the oldest and largest cathedral in Latin America; National Palace, which houses murals by Diego Rivera
• Mexico City: Church of the Fifth Apparition, site where Blessed Virgin Maria de Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego’s uncle, Juan Bernardino, and well of healing water; Mass in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
In speaking on the trip earlier this year, Father Jeffrey E. Lee, pastor of St. Mary Parish, Colts Neck, and diocesan director of pilgrimages, said an important part of the pilgrimage would be Mass in the Basilica, since Mexico is a country from which the Diocese of Trenton receives many people alive with the Catholic faith.
“St. John Paul II during his epic pontificate re-affirmed Our Lady of Guadalupe as the patron of America,” Father Lee explained. “While the U.S. still venerates Our Lady under the title of The Immaculate Conception, John Paul II saw the Americas as one America, as outlined in the report in the Synod for America during his pontificate.”
Pick up a copy of the Dec. 13 issue of The Monitor for a full report on the pilgrimage. Continue to check back to TrentonMonitor.com for more photos.