LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -Their's is a fervent devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe-- but as they carry her image and a torch, they also bring a message of love, peace and concern for human rights-- they passed through sulphur where they stopped for lunch.
Rev. Arturo Lozano is the Director of Hispanic Ministry for the Diocese of Lake Charles. He was one of those here to welcome the runners. They seek to promote friendship and solidarity and be a symbol of hope for family members living apart. "Don't divide the families. Treat them with fairness. Pay the right salaries. Don't exploit women and children. You see these are basic values that are valid all over the world and why not in the United States. That's the same thing that the first immigrants demand when they entered through New York and look what we have now: A beautiful country that is made of so many nationalities."
One of those on the journey is Christina Robinson who has made the journey nine times. Father Lozano's translates. "She does this because of the love that she has for the mother of God and also because she wants to make of this race a symbol of defending the rights of the immigrants to be well treated when they come to the United States."
Runners representing Mexico's migrant community journey all the way from Our Lady of Guadalupe Basilica in Mexico City to New York City--where they end up at St. Patrick's Cathedral December 12th.
The annual relay, the International Run Carrera Antorcha Guadalupana Mexico-New York Torch Race is making its way through Southwest Louisiana today and tomorrow.
More than 25,000 people take part in the relay and an audience of more than 22 million in Mexico and the United States monitors its progress.
Here's the schedule from the point they crossed the Texas line:
-The Torch was met by runners from Southwest Louisiana who joined with the Mexican runners along a route down U.S. Highway 90 through Vinton, Sulphur and Westlake.
-The runners were driven from the west side of the Calcasieu River I-10 Bridge into Lake Charles and will met with other local runners at the Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitor's Bureau on Lakeshore Drive before continuing the journey through downtown Lake Charles along Broad Street to Eighth Avenue and then to St. Henry Church where mass was celebrated at 6 p.m.
-Thursday, Nov. 11 runners will journey from St. Henry down Broad Street to U.S. 90 through Iowa, Welsh, Roanoke and Jennings before crossing over into Acadia Parish at the Mermentau River and into the Diocese of Lafayette.
At the end of the journey the torch will have gone through nine Mexican states, 13 in the United States, while passing through more than 60 cities and covering more than 3,133 miles.