On Friday, December 12, the Mexican Apostolate of the Diocese of Brooklyn will hold a traditional torch pilgrimage commemorating the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn, will start the celebration with Holy Mass at 12 p.m. at the Co-Cathedral of Saint Joseph, 856 Pacific Street, Prospect Heights. He will be joined by Auxiliary Bishop Octavio Cisneros, who will deliver the Spanish homily. Following Mass, the torches will be blessed and lit up on the front steps of the Co-Cathedral before the pilgrimage proceeds to the different participating parishes throughout Brooklyn and Queens. The pilgrims will carry the torches as they sing, pray and spread messages of hope and love on their way back to their parishes.
The event, locally titled “Light of Christ,” is a response to Bishop DiMarzio’s call for unity in the Mexican community of the Diocese, which includes the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens.
“We will reunite again to celebrate and honor Our Lady of Guadalupe. The unconditional devotion and faithfulness of our Mexican parishioners called for an official celebration. Together as a Diocese, we will carry the torch representing the light of the Holy Spirit in our lives,” said Bishop DiMarzio.
This year’s pilgrimage marks the second time that Catholics from Brooklyn and Queens will gather together to celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe in an official diocesan celebration. With 31 participating parishes, the initial Mass is expected to receive more than 1,000 devotes.
“Coordinating this with the participating parishes has been an ongoing effort of the Apostolate who, for two years, has periodically visited each one of them, providing catechesis, evangelizing the Mexican community and offering signs of communion. Although for us it is very meaningful to celebrate together Our Lady of Guadalupe, we try to do so with knowledge while we grow in Faith” said Father Jorge Ortiz-Garay, director of the Mexican Apostolate of the Diocese of Brooklyn.
According to the 2010 National Census and the 2013 American Community Survey, there are nearly 200,000 Mexicans living in Brooklyn and Queens. “By lighting these torches we will carry Christ’s Light through the streets of our neighborhoods. It is our way of evangelizing and recognizing our community,” added Father Jorge.
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The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated every year on December 12, to commemorate the anniversary of her 1531 apparition before an indigenous peasant in Mexico City. She is considered the Patroness of Mexico and the Continental Americas.