50th year for torchlight procession

THE Roman Catholic Church’s annual torchlight procession reached its 60th anniversary on Saturday.

Some of the participants in the 50th anniversary torchlight procession. (Picture by Cassidy Jones, 29875734)
Some of the participants in the 50th anniversary torchlight procession. (Picture by Cassidy Jones, 29875734)

Started by Pere Maurice Lecluze, of Notre Dame du Rosaire Church in 1961, it has taken place every year since.

Beginning at Blanchelande College, it takes the form of a procession to the Little Chapel with the praying of the Rosary and singing of hymns, reminiscent of the torchlight procession that takes place every night in Lourdes, France, in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

About 50 people attended.

‘As part of our Catholic faith we tend to go on pilgrimages to holy shrines such as Lourdes or the Holy Land and it’s an ancient tradition going back hundreds of years,’ said the Catholic Dean of Guernsey and parish priest, Father Chris Rutledge. ‘Those pilgrimages are part of spiritual renewal to deepen the faith.’

Farmhouse chef Gary Benton and fiancee Wioleta Marchewka, who works at Creaseys, were among those taking part.

Ms Marchewka, who comes from Poland, was taking part in the procession for the second time, but it was the first time for Mr Benton.

‘We attend the Catholic Church and I was only confirmed at Easter so this is all very new to me,’ he said.

Philomena Pipet, who hails from the Irish Republic, has lived in Guernsey since she moved here to work as a nurse in 1965.

‘I’ve been coming to these processions since I’ve been in the island,’ she said. ‘I just happen to be a Catholic and it’s one of our important feast days.’

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