State Council News

Silver Rose Unites Divided Border

Posted Dec 11, 2018
by Mark

The Knights of Columbus Silver Rose program transcends borders, nationalities and race.

From March through December, eight silver roses are shepherded by members of the Knights along various routes that extend from Canada to Mexico.

Several of the roses arrived in Laredo, Texas on Dec. 8, being presented from the U.S. Knights to the Knights in Mexico, or the “Caballeros de Colón,” as they are locally known. The ceremony took place at the center of the “Bridge I - Gateway to the Americas,” which is an international bridge over the Rio Grande River, which marks the border between the two countries.

“The Knights take our responsibility and call to evangelize seriously,” said Knight Javier Cabello. “It is truly a transformational experience to see the devotion of so many Catholics, not only in Mexico, but now more so all over the world when they see an image or any relic associated with Our Lady of Guadalupe.” 

The procession to the international bridge began following a Mass at the San Agustin Cathedral in Laredo. More than 100 American Knights and their families accompanied the roses, along with Customs and Border Protection agents and Laredo police. The state deputies from Texas and Oklahoma, Mark Evans and John Pierce, respectively, carried the roses to the bridge.

Father Iden Bello, pastor at San Agustin, delivered the roses to Father Armando Arizola Garza and Father Jesús Feliciano from the Nuevo Laredo Diocese. Then the Caballeros de Colón carried the roses to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, where they will present the roses in time for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Dec. 12.

The roses have traveled from Canada to Mexico to symbolize unity among the peoples in the Americas since 1960. They are also a symbol of the pro-life movement, which recognizes Our Lady of Guadalupe as its patroness. At every stop during their pilgrimages, Knights are called to pray for the unborn, pregnant women in need, the elderly, the handicapped and those with special needs.

“We saw the devotion of Catholics and the curiosity of non-Catholics brought to life as the Silver Roses were brought into Church or as they processed through the streets on their way to church,” said Cabello. “If it touches the soul of just one individual with the love and grace of our Blessed Mother, that fulfills the intent of the Silver Roses.”

The U.S.-Mexico border continues to cause tense political discussions, most recently over a migrant caravan camped in Tijuana breaching the U.S. border. The caravan consisted of more than 5,000 Central Americans who sought asylum in the U.S. Last month, U.S. agents fired tear gas to deter over a hundred migrants who were attempting to cross the border.

Pope Francis places the silver rose at the feet of an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe during the Dec. 12 Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica.
Image Credit: (L'Osservatore Romano)

In response, Most Reverend James Tamayo, Bishop of Laredo, called church leaders to “extend the compassion of Christ” should “the caravan come to our doorsteps.” The bishop was originally slated to present the rose to the Caballeros de Colón, but appointed Father Bello to be his designee.

Nevertheless, Dan Norman, one of the coordinators of the Silver Rose handoff in Texas, said the feeling that day at the border in Laredo was one of unity and fraternity.

“The former state deputy of Mexico-Northeast [a leader in the Knights] gave a small speech expressing his feelings,” said Norman. “Saying our faith and devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe brought us together surpassing borders, languages and many differences for the same reason – to honor Our Lady.”

The exchange on the international bridge closed in a unified prayer and repeated praise.

“Viva la Virgen of Guadalupe,” they shouted. “Vivat Jesus.”

By Andrew Fowler, Supreme Knights of Columbus

More information about the Silver Rose Program can be found at Silver Rose

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