Parishes invited to host Silver Rose liturgy in tribute to Mary

Roxanne King

A rose made of Mexican silver to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe as patroness of the Americas and of the pro-life movement is currently on its way from Canada through the United States to arrive on Mary’s Dec. 12 feast day in Monterrey, Mexico. The Silver Rose pilgrimage, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, will come through the Denver Archdiocese Aug. 1-18.

Parishes are invited to host the Silver Rose with a one-hour liturgy to increase devotion to Mary, respect for human life and the spiritual renewal of each nation. Local Knights councils will assist with organizing the liturgies. Everyone is invited to attend them.

“The Knight’s Silver Rose program honors Our Lady of Guadalupe and affirms dedication to the sanctity of human life,” said Stephen Sweeney, a Knight organizer of the event. “The prayer services include Liturgy of the Word, a rosary and consecration to Mary [of pro-life efforts].”

Some parishes also choose to celebrate a Mass, organizers said.

Our Lady of Guadalupe is an icon of the pro-life movement as her appearances to the peasant St. Juan Diego nearly 500 years ago in what is modern-day Mexico City ushered in the largest mass conversion of a people in the history of the Church from a religion that involved human sacrifice.

Dressed as an Aztec princess, Mary appeared to Juan Diego on Tepeyac Hill in December 1531 and asked him to tell the bishop of her desire for a church to be built where people could take their prayer requests for her intercession. The bishop, however, asked Juan for a sign to prove the request came from Mary. At Mary’s direction, Juan found a sign — roses not native to the land blooming from the frozen ground on Tepeyac Hill. After filling his cloak with them, Juan hurried to the bishop. Upon opening his cloak, the roses fell out and Juan and the bishop saw a more wondrous sign — an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe miraculously imprinted on the cloak. Convinced, the bishop built the church. The cloak bearing the image remains on view at the Guadalupe Shrine in Mexico City where it draws millions of pilgrims annually.

Every year, runners from villages across Mexico light torches at the Guadalupe Shrine in Mexico City and relay them to their home churches to arrive on Dec. 12. For the Silver Rose pilgrimage, instead of carrying a torch, Knights steward a silver rose to recall the miracle of Guadalupe and Mary’s promise of aid. The final destination of the silver rose is the Guadalupe Basilica in Monterrey, Mexico, where the Silver Rose program was initiated in 1960 by the Columbian Squires, youth group of the Knights of Columbus.

Since its inception, which started with a single live rose, the program has grown to relay eight silver roses, which take different routes from their March departure, half from cities in Canada, to their final destination.

“The routes cover several provinces in Canada and most U.S. states,” said JR White, a Knight organizer of the event.

In addition to promoting Marian devotion and the dignity of all human life, organizers said the pilgrimage embodies international brotherhood and builds unity among the Knights.

The Knights urge parishes interested in participating to contact them as soon as possible.

To host or find a Silver Rose liturgy or get more information about the Knights, contact Sweeney at 303-880-9820 or stephen.sweeney@archden.org or White at 303-330-6245 or wjr35000@juno.com.

Silver Rose Pilgrimage Host Locations

Date/Parish/City

August 3: St. Louis Catholic Parish (Englewood, CO)

August 4: Mother Cabrini Shrine (Golden, CO)

August 5: St. Jude Catholic Parish (Lakewood, CO)

August 6: Risen Christ Catholic Parish (Denver, CO)

August 8: Our Lady of the Pines Catholic Church (Conifer, CO)

August 9: St. Francis of Assasi Catholic Church (Castle Rock, CO) 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

August 9: Immaculate Heart of Mary (Thornton, CO) Starting time: 6 p.m.

August 11: Holy Ghost Catholic Church (Denver, CO)

August 12: Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (Denver)

August 13: Christ the King Catholic Church (Evergreen, CO)

August 15: Queen of Peace Catholic Parish (Aurora, CO)

August 16: St. Mary Catholic Parish (Littleton, CO)

August 17: Holy Cross Catholic Church (Thornton, CO)

 

COMING UP: The shock of forgiveness

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Every so often, the media will pick up a story that serves as a potent reminder of what it means to be a Christian. That’s because living as a Christian in today’s post-Christian society is an unusual way of living, contrary to what the rest of society might say about it. It is not “outdated.” It is not “irrelevant.” It is radical, countercultural and, to some, even incomprehensible.

On Oct. 2, the trial of Amber Guyger came to a close. Guyger, a former Dallas police officer, was charged with the murder of Botham Jean, a 26-year-old man who lived in the same apartment complex as Guyger. On Sept. 6, 2018, she walked into Jean’s apartment, thinking it was hers, saw Jean sitting there on the couch, and after giving verbal commands, shot him twice, killing him. It was an absolute tragedy and played into the ongoing national conversation about police behavior toward people of color (Guyger is white; Jean is black).

What I want to focus on is a particular moment that came at the end of Guyger’s trial, after she had been sentenced to 10 years in prison. Jean’s younger brother Brandt took to the witness stand to address his brother’s killer directly. He wasn’t planning on saying anything during the trial but changed his mind at the last minute. A prompting of the Holy Spirit? I think yes, based on what happened next.

“I hope you go to God with all the guilt, all the bad things you may have done in the past,” Brandt told Guyger. “If you are truly sorry … I forgive you. If you go to God and ask him, he will forgive you.” He continued, “I’m not going to say I hope you die … I personally want the best for you … I don’t even want you to go to jail. I want the best for you, because I know that’s exactly what Botham would want … and the best would be: give your life to Christ. Giving your life to Christ would be the best thing that Botham would want you to do.”

But it didn’t stop there. Brandt was bold enough to ask the judge if he had permission to give Guyger a hug. He was granted it, and they embraced for over a minute, Guyger weeping into Brandt’s shoulder, just as some of us might do were we to be embraced by Christ.

Botham Jean’s younger brother Brandt Jean hugs former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger after delivering his impact statement to her in Dallas, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019. Guyger has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing her black neighbor in his apartment, which she said she mistook for her own unit one floor below. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool)

Brandt has every reason to hate Guyger. This woman gunned down his innocent brother who had his whole life ahead of him and was given a lighter sentence than what she originally faced. Those in the courtroom and watching on TV wouldn’t have been shocked to hear Brandt tell Guyger that he hopes she rots in hell. No, the shock from those in the courtroom – and subsequently, the rest of the nation – came when Brandt did the exact opposite.

With those words and the simple act of embracing his brother’s killer, Brandt gave the world an incredible witness to the forgiveness Christ calls us to live as Christians. Of course, you can count on the bickering voices of social media and pundits to take this powerful moment and exploit it for their own agenda, but that’s because many of them don’t understand. It is not normal in our culture to forgive. It is also not easy. And that’s what makes witnessing something like this so shocking. It was not supposed to happen, but it did. It defied every expectation. Make no mistake about it: Brandt was living his call to be more like Christ in that moment. And it is exactly this moment – this shocking moment – that we are able to get a glimpse of what it is to be a Christian.

Following Jesus does make for quite a shock. And it is that shock that we are called to bring to the rest of the world, just as Brandt Jean did.