In September and October, the Silver Rose, the Knights of Columbus’ tribute to Our Lady of Guadalupe, made its way through Tennessee.
Six silver roses will be carried through the United States to Mexico on different routes as part of a grand relay, being handed off from one Knights of Columbus council to the next, with a special prayer service scheduled at each stop.
One of the six arrived in Elizabethton on Sept. 20 and made its way across the state before it was handed off to Knights in Arkansas on Oct. 11.
“Every stop along the route of the Silver Rose pilgrimage is an occasion for prayer and spiritual renewal centered on the rosary,” said Jerry Dougherty of Council 12633 and a parishioner at St. Thomas the Apostle in Lenoir City, who is coordinating the Silver Rose program for the Tennessee Knights of Columbus.
St. Thomas was one of the stops for the Silver Rose in Tennessee.
Mr. Dougherty has been involved in the Silver Rose program for five years.
“After witnessing the prayer service at my parish … I immediately saw the impact and wanted to get this program into more councils and parishes across the state,” he said.
The Knights of Columbus of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish participated in a North American effort paying special tribute to Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas, through the Our Lady of Guadalupe Silver Rose – One Life, One Rose program. It involves carrying six Silver Roses from Ontario through the United States to Monterrey, Mexico.
The Running of the Rose began in 1960 when groups of Columbian Squires – the Knights of Columbus youth program – in Mexico, the United States, and Canada decided to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe by carrying a rose from Canada to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Monterrey. The devotion quickly grew in popularity and began to spread across the United States.
The original rose was a real flower; but a bronze and silver replica was quickly made to avoid decomposition.
In 2001 Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson expanded the program by beginning the “Running of the Rose” from the 119th annual meeting of the Supreme Council held in Ontario. Today six Silver Roses travel from Canada to the United States to Monterrey, arriving at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Dec. 12, the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
As the Rose traveled through Tennessee, a Silver Rose program was held at each town on the schedule. The service in Lenoir City was held at St. Thomas the Apostle on Sept. 24. Approximately 100 parishioners, led by Father Julian Cardona, prayed to Our Lady of Guadalupe to strengthen their efforts to restore the culture of life in society.
In addition to travel arrangements, prayer services are planned by the Grand Knight of each local council, working in tandem with the pastor of his particular church. The local Fourth Degree Assembly provided an honor guard at the prayer services, Mr. Dougherty said.
“The Running of the Rose” is a perfect program for the Knights of Columbus, said Mr. Anderson.
“Through it we honor not only Our Lady of Guadalupe and express the unity of the order, but we also reaffirm the order’s dedication to the sanctity of human life. It is to the Blessed Mother that we turn in prayer as we work to end the culture of death that grips our society. As we think in terms of ‘One Life, One Rose,’ it is most appropriate that we turn to Our Lady of Guadalupe, who made known her will through Juan Diego and the ‘Miracle of the Roses.’”
A Knights of Columbus Silver Rose was presented to Pope Francis at the conclusion of a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica celebrated in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Dec. 12, 2014. Cardinal Norberto Rivera, archbishop of Mexico City and a member of the Knights, was among the concelebrants.
The Holy Father received the silver rose from Monsignor Eduardo Chávez, postulator of the cause for canonization of St. Juan Diego and a canon of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, at the symbolic culmination of the 55th annual Silver Rose program.
Mr. Anderson, who also was present at the Mass with his wife, Dorian, and other Knights of Columbus representatives, had asked Monsignor Chávez to present the rose to Pope Francis on behalf of the order.
Although the Silver Rose has Mexican origins, the prayer services are not directed only at Hispanic parishioners, Mr. Dougherty said.
“English, French, and Spanish booklets containing recommended prayers, Scripture readings, and a litany accompany the Silver Rose,” he said.
The stops the Silver Rose made in the Diocese of Knoxville also included St. Elizabeth Church in Elizabethton, St. Therese in Clinton, St. Mary in Oak Ridge, St. Stephen in Chattanooga, Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Chattanooga, St. Jude in Chattanooga, Holy Spirit in Soddy-Daisy, and St. Alphonsus in Crossville.
For more information about the Running of the Rose visit www.kofc.org/un/en/service/church/rose/.