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Torch Runners from Throughout the Archdiocese to Gather at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Chicago, IL (December 3, 2009) – After an 8 p.m. Mass, the annual torch run in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patroness of the Americas, will take place beginning at approximately 10:30 p.m. on Friday, December 11, at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, 1150 North River Road in Des Plaines.

Representatives from Hispanic parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Chicago will carry torches blessed by Fr. Miguel Martínez, rector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, to their respective parishes.  The torch runners are expected to pass through the suburbs of Rosemont, Schiller Park, River Grove, Elmwood Park and several other Chicago neighborhoods.  Upon arriving at their parishes, runners will place the lighted torch at a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the “mañanitas” (songs that honor Mary, the Mother of God) will be sung, followed by Mass at approximately 5 a.m.

This year marks the 478th anniversary of the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, when Hispanic Catholics celebrate the Virgin Mary’s multiple appearances to St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, an Aztec native who converted to Catholicism. Between December 9 and 12, 1531, the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Juan Diego several times, including when she asked him to be her messenger to the Bishop of Mexico City.  It was on this trip to Mexico’s capital city that Juan Diego’s dying uncle, Juan Bernardino, was healed and Mary’s image was miraculously emblazoned on Juan Diego’s cloak.  This garment is now on display in Mexico City’s Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and attracts millions of pilgrims each year.

This year’s activities at the Shrine will include two conferences by the Mexican actor, film producer and inspirational speaker Eduardo Verastegui, star of the 2005 film “Bella”. Verastegui’s first conference, directed to young adults on his personal conversion and return to the Catholic Church, will take place on Friday, December 11, at 10 p.m.  The second conference, for the general public, will be held on Saturday, December 12, at 11 a.m. and will focus on his love and devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Both talks will be conducted in Spanish.

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