Guadalupe Torch Run in Lake Charles - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Guadalupe Torch Run in Lake Charles

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She's the patron saint of the Americas and each year, there's a torch run honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe.

To many, her image is a sight for sore eyes in a troubled world. And, as is the annual custom, a torch run honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe is making its way through Southwest Louisiana. 

What they call the holy fire is on its way from the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City to St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.

Father  Bryan Thompson is  co-chaplain for Hispanic ministry for the Diocese of Lake Charles.

"It's a public statement of faith. It's a public pilgrimage to say to the world what she means in our lives, what she means for us as men and women of faith. She is the patroness of all the Americas and she connects us all the way from Mexico City all the way to New York City as well and those two great metropolitan areas," said Thompson.
 
Joel Merino is one member participating in the full run from Mexico to New York. Father Thompson translates as Merino explains the spiritual connection for family members living in separate countries.

"It's a great support for them, a great encouragement . It's because of their faith the situation is made less difficult for them, seeing the torch and knowing that it's going to pass by their family members in the United States as well," said Merino.

Yet, it also may increase awareness of social justice issues.

"He hopes, most of all, that people will understand difficulties of immigration not only with their head but also with their heart," said Father Thompson, translating for Merino.

But more than anything, they hope to spread a message of faith and love.

"The message of Jesus Christ and the message that we are preaching with our lives is something that isn't confined to the four walls of the church but is something that we want to take out into the streets," Thompson said.

The run is to finish in New York on Dec. 12 -- the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The torch and images of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego are at St. Henry Catholic Church where they celebrated with a mass that started at 5:30 p.m.

Another mass is at 6:30 a.m. Friday at St. Henry. Then the relay heads east down Broad Street and U.S. 90 through Iowa, Lacassine, Welsh, Roanoke and on to Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Jennings. Mass will be celebrated there at 5:30 p.m. Friday.

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