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 [email protected] or White at 303-330-6245 or [email protected].

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: A last chance for Australian justice

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My late parents loved Cardinal George Pell, whom they knew for decades. So I found it a happy coincidence that, on November 12 (which would have been my parents’ 70th wedding anniversary), a two-judge panel of Australia’s High Court referred to the entire Court the cardinal’s request for “special leave” to appeal his incomprehensible conviction on charges of “historic sexual abuse,” and the even-more-incomprehensible denial of his appeal against that manifestly unsafe verdict.

Thus in 2020 the highest judicial authority in Australia will review the Pell case, which gives the High Court the opportunity to reverse a gross injustice and acquit the cardinal of a hideous crime: a “crime” that Pell insists never happened; a “crime” for which not a shred of corroborating evidence has yet been produced; a “crime” that simply could not have happened in the circumstances and under the conditions it was alleged to have been committed.

Since Cardinal Pell’s original appeal was denied in August by two of three judges on an appellate panel in the State of Victoria, the majority decision to uphold Pell’s conviction has come under withering criticism for relying primarily on the credibility of the alleged victim. As the judge who voted to sustain the cardinal’s appeal pointed out (in a dissent that one distinguished Australian attorney described as the most important legal document in that country’s history), witness credibility – a thoroughly subjective judgment-call – is a very shaky standard by which to find someone guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” It has also been noted by fair-minded people that the dissenting judge, Mark Weinberg, is the most respected criminal jurist in Australia, while his two colleagues on the appellate panel had little or no criminal law experience. Weinberg’s lengthy and devastating critique of his two colleagues’ shallow arguments seemed intended to signal the High Court that something was seriously awry here and that the reputation of Australian justice – as well as the fate of an innocent man – was at stake.

Other recent straws in the wind Down Under have given hope to the cardinal’s supporters that justice may yet be done in his case.

Andrew Bolt, a television journalist with a nationwide audience, walked himself through the alleged series of events at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne, within the timeframe in which they were supposed to have occurred, and concluded that the prosecution’s case, and the decisions by both the convicting jury and the majority of the appeal panel, simply made no sense. What was supposed to have happened could not have happened how it did and when it did.

Australians willing to ignore the vicious anti-Pell polemics that have fouled their country’s public life for years also heard from two former workers at the cathedral, who stated categorically that what was alleged to have happened could not have happened how it did and when it did, because they were a few yards away from Cardinal Pell at the precise time he was alleged to have abused two choirboys.

Then there was Anthony Charles Smith, a veteran criminal attorney (and not a Catholic), who wrote in Annals Australasia that the Pell verdict and the denial of his appeal “curdles my stomach.” How, he asked, could a guilty verdict be rendered on “evidence….so weak and bordering on the preposterous?” The only plausible answer, he suggested, was that Pell’s “guilt” was assumed by many, thanks to “an avalanche of adverse publicity” ginned up by “a mob baying for Pell’s blood” and influencing “a media [that] should always be skeptical.”

Even more strikingly, the left-leaning Saturday Paper, no friend of Cardinal Pell or the Catholic Church, published an article in which Russell Marks – a one-time research assistant on an anti-Pell book – argued that the two judges on the appellate panel who voted to uphold the cardinal’s conviction “effectively allowed no possible defense for Pell: there was nothing his lawyers could have said or done, because the judges appeared to argue it was enough to simply believe the complainant on the basis of his performance under cross examination.”

The Australian criminal justice system has stumbled or failed at every stage of this case. The High Court of Australia can break that losing streak, free an innocent man, and restore the reputation of Australian justice in the world. Whatever the subsequent fallout from the rabid Pell-haters, friends of justice must hope that that is what happens when the High Court hears the cardinal’s case – Australia’s Dreyfus Case – next year.

Photo: CON CHRONIS/AFP/Getty Images