New video, toolkit aim to widen evangelization of traveling Guadalupe torches
By EmmaLee Italia | Contributing Editor
As celebrations of the Blessed Mother reverberate throughout the month of May, the diocesan Department of Evangelization and Family Life will promote the fourth annual Antorchas Guadalupanas in a special mini-documentary video, “Walk With Us – Our Lady of Guadalupe Pilgrimage.”
Produced by the diocesan Department of Multimedia Production, the video that will launch May 10 showcases the journey of the torches dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe, which begins in the Diocese in early November and culminates in a December procession to St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton.
Josué Arriola, director of the diocesan Department of Evangelization and Family Life, said the video is designed to promote the Antorchas Guadalupanas devotion not only among parishes that have participated in years prior, but also to introduce the concept and encourage participation among parishes that have yet to join in the celebration.
“The video is not only visual – we want people to have a moment of conversion, a moment to realize that it’s something bigger than ourselves, and to bring the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which is hope,” Arriola said. “[She says,] ‘I’m here because I’m your Mom, I’m here to protect you.’”
Arriola will meet with pastors one-on-one to discuss the origins of the devotion and the process of hosting a torch in the parish; the video is part of a promotional toolkit, which includes a booklet that explains the reasons for pilgrimage and digital resources that can be shared in the parish community.
Jossie Ramos, bilingual administrative assistant in the Department of Evangelization and Family Life, said one of the main points the video makes is that “this is for everybody – this is an invitation for all, not just some.”
“It was captured very well in the production, and that’s the message [that will be brought] to the pastors,” Ramos elaborated. “People think that this is a Mexican or Hispanic event – but it’s an event for everyone; it’s [about] our Blessed Mother.”
The department elected to start promoting the event earlier this year, taking advantage of the Marian mindset of May. “By the end of August, [pastors will have] made a decision about a week to host the torch,” Arriola said.
Three distinct phases encompass the torches’ journey: the lighting of the torches during a diocesan-wide Mass, the torches traveling to and from various locations during the month of November, and the December pilgrimage to the Cathedral. In 2018, 30 parishes and schools hosted torches, and both a Pro-Life and a Knights of Columbus torch traveled throughout each of the Diocese’s four counties.
“This year, we’re trying to be really intentional in having all the tools available so that parishes feel empowered,” Ramos said. “It’s going to be a beautiful witness of our faith throughout the city streets of Trenton.”
Arriola praised the new video. “It goes more in depth and tries to touch on what we experience when we are a part of [the pilgrimage].” Those who worked on the video, he noted, said that “when they were walking with us, they felt that a joy was walking with them … We want people to experience what this is – not natural, but supernatural.”
To view the video beginning May 10, visit www.dioceseoftrenton.org/guadalupe.