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"Antorcha Guadalupana" Guadalupe Torch Run begins Wednesday, December 11

CHICAGO, IL (December 6, 2013) - This overnight celebration honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas, will begin with an opening Mass on Wednesday, December 11, at 4 p.m., at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, 1100 North River Road in Des Plaines.  The Mass will be celebrated by Fr. Marco A. Mercado, Archbishop’s Delegate for Hispanic Ministry and Rector of the Shrine.  The lighting of the traditional “Antorcha Guadalupana” or “Guadalupe Torch” will take place at 10 p.m.

Throughout the two-day celebration, Masses will be offered every two hours in the Shrine’s outdoor grotto and in the gymnasium. The outdoor mass celebrated at the grotto will be shown live in a tented area outside the gymnasium.  Music and Folkloric dances in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe will also be held indoors throughout both days. . A large food tent, located in between the outdoor grotto and the gymnasium, will be available as a warming center.  Another large heated tent will be available directly outside the gymnasium.

After the lighting of the Guadalupe Torch, pilgrims, representing dozens of parishes throughout Cook and Lake counties, will light their own torches and participate in the Guadalupe Torch Run.

Parishes participating in the Torch Run include: St. Agnes of Bohemia Parish in Chicago whose parishioners will be celebrating their 10th anniversary as participants in this celebration, St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Wheeling, Mission San Juan Diego in Arlington Heights, Our Lady of Lourdes in Chicago and St. John Bosco Parish in Chicago whose participants will be arriving on bicycles.

When the torch bearers complete their pilgrimages they will place their torch near a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe at their own parish and the “mañanitas” will be sung, followed by Mass at approximately 5 a.m.
At the Shrine the traditional serenade to Our Lady or “mañanitas” will begin at midnight. Most Rev. Alberto Rojas, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago and the Cardinal's Liaison to Hispanic Catholics, will be the main celebrant at the Mass immediately following the serenade, which will begin at approximately 12:30 a.m.

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Schedule of Events

Wednesday, December 11
4 p.m.  Opening Mass
6 p.m.  Mass
8 p.m. Mass
10 p.m. Lighting of the Guadalupana Torch
11 p.m. Mañanitas (Televised live on Univision to US and Mexico)

Thursday, December 12
12 a.m. Mañanitas (Traditional Mañanitas)
Mass Schedule: 12:30 a.m., 3 a.m., 5 a.m., 9 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m.
Closing Mass: 7 p.m.

Remote Parking
Shuttle busses to and from remote parking locations will be available every few minutes from 4 p.m. on Wednesday, December 11, throughout the evening and until 5 p.m. on Thursday, December 12. Use of remote parking is highly encouraged as Central Road between Wolf and Central is anticipated to close in the late afternoon on the 11th due to the high volume of pilgrims accessing the grounds of the Shrine.

Remote Parking Locations
• Oakton Community College, 1600 East Golf Road, Des Plaines
• St. Emily Parish, 1400 E. Central Road, Mount Prospect
• St. Chong Ha Sang Korean Catholic Mission, 675 Dursey Lane, Des Plaines
• Northwest Assembly of God, 900 N. Wolf Road, Mount Prospect
• Plaza Palwaukee, 664 Milwaukee Ave, Prospect Heights

See Map


Torch Run Beginnings
The “Antorcha Guadalupana” or “Guadalupe Torch Run” began at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 2004 when a request was made to the Shrine’s Guadalupano Committee by Fr. Matt Foley, then pastor of St. Agnes of Bohemia in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood.  His request was  to light a torch at the Shrine to be carried back by runners, in the form of a relay, to his parish almost 26 miles away.  Eighty-five people from St. Agnes participated in that first run. Word of the ceremony spread and the following year several other parishes participated in the event. Participation in the torch ceremony has grown to include dozens of parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Chicago.  Hispanic Catholics celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe as the mother of the one true God and the torches are a symbol of Christ’s light in this world. Every year, thousands gather in her presence as they implore for her intercession and protection.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Appears to Saint Juan Diego
This year marks the 482nd anniversary of the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, when Catholics from across all of Latin America celebrate the Virgin Mary’s multiple appearances to Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, an Aztec native who converted to Catholicism.

“On 9 December 1531, when Juan Diego was on his way to morning Mass, the Blessed Mother appeared to him on Tepeyac Hill, the outskirts of what is now Mexico City. She asked him to go to the Bishop and to request in her name that a shrine be built at Tepeyac, where she promised to pour out her grace upon those who invoked her. The Bishop, who did not believe Juan Diego, asked for a sign to prove that the apparition was true. On 12 December, Juan Diego returned to Tepeyac. Here, the Blessed Mother told him to climb the hill and to pick the flowers that he would find in bloom. He obeyed, and although it was winter time, he found roses flowering. He gathered the flowers and took them to Our Lady who carefully placed them in his mantle and told him to take them to the Bishop as "proof". When he opened his mantle, the flowers fell on the ground and there remained impressed, in place of the flowers, an image of the Blessed Mother, the apparition at Tepeyac.”
Source: Vatican Website

Saint Juan Diego’s Tilma (mantle) is now on display in Mexico City’s Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and attracts millions of pilgrims each year. Juan Diego was canonized a saint by Pope John Paul II at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe on July 31, 2002. 


Fr. John P. Smyth, President of Maryville Academy, accepts a traveling statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe and provides a permanent home within the Marian chapel.
A replica of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe arrives at Maryville. This marks the first official replica of the image to be allowed out of Mexico from Mexico’s basilica.
Monsignor Esteban Martinez, along with the Children’s Choir of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico, blesses the grounds and pours soil from the Tepeyac of Mexico onto the New Tepeyac of North America in Chicago. The site is given the authority from the Basilica to be a site to satisfy mandas (promises) to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
A replica of the statues of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego called “La Ofrenda” or “The Gift,” are installed at the Shrine.  The larger than life bronze statues adorn the small hill at the center of the grotto. The Our Lady of Guadalupe statue measures 12 feet high and weighs 2200 pounds, while the Saint Juan Diego statue measures 6 feet high and weighs 800 pounds. The original statues can be found at the Basilica in Mexico City.
Juan Diego was canonized a saint by Pope John Paul II at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The first Antorcha Guadalupana takes place at the Shrine in Des Plaines
Rev. Miguel A. Martinez is assigned as Chaplain of Maryville-Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel.
The Cross of the Apostleship is installed near the grotto of Our Lady. The cross is blessed by the Most Rev. Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSpS later that same year.
Cardinal Francis George decrees this location a Shrine and assigns the Rev. Marco A. Mercado as the first Rector.

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