LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The Guadalupe torch run from Mexico City to New York passed through Southwest Louisiana on Thursday Nov. 1.
In this time of political turmoil over immigration and caravans coming to the U.S., those running bring a message of peace, love, and concern for human rights.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is seen as a loving mother; the Patroness of the Americas, by those who share a devotion to her.
The annual torch run includes many along the route who carry her image thousands of miles from Mexico City. The event helps bring awareness of the plight of immigrants and family members who are separated.
Joel Merino, of Mexico, spoke through a translator,
”We travel thousands of miles and maybe a little more than that because we’re following the track that lots of migrants travel to come to the United States. We’re following the traditional path that many people from South America and Mexico travel to come to the U.S.,” he said.
Some runners go part of the way as the procession moves through their area, but Merino is one traveling the entire journey; thousands of miles.
“I volunteer to do this and the reason I volunteer is to bring peace and calmness to all the immigrants in the United States who are living undocumented today,” Merino said.
While the torch run is a religious event, it is also about human rights and brotherly love.
“It’s not really different this year because every year, we carry the same message for the 17 years that we’ve been doing this, and the message is the laws in this country can become more kind to people that are undocumented,” said Merino.
“We’re hoping that when people see our procession, they’ll see that it’s a spiritual one. And we’re hoping that it brings awareness to politicians and leaders in the community to know that people in their own communities are advocating for peace and resolution to the migrant crisis going on in the United States,” he said.
The trek began at the shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City and ends in New York on Dec. 12, where mass will be Celebrated at St. Patrick Cathedral in honor of the her feast day.