By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Reporter
KANSAS CITY — When an event honoring someone unites people from three countries, it’s something to celebrate. And when that someone is Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas, it’s, well, es impresionante, awesome, c’est fantastique!
The annual Knights of Columbus Silver Rose Run will stop in Missouri Oct. 16-Nov. 6, crossing the state line from Kansas where it has been since Sept. 25. A bilingual Mass will be celebrated Oct. 16, beginning at 1 p.m. with the Rosary, Mass at 1:30 p.m., followed by a prayer service at Holy Cross Church, 5106 St. John Avenue, Kansas City. A silver rose will be placed at the foot of the statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe by local Knights of Columbus. The rose, one of three, will later be transported to St. Joseph and then to other Knights councils in the state before traveling on. The Silver Rose Run begins each year in Canada, covers much of the United States, then crosses into Mexico, concluding at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Monterrey.
The Silver Rose Run is an annual relay of sorts, which dates back to 1960. A group of Knights of Columbus Squires in Monterrey, Mexico, young men associated with the Knights, wanted to show their love and gratitude to Our Lady of Guadalupe, and came up with the idea of a relay that would unite three neighboring countries — Mexico, the United States and Canada.
The squires contacted squires from London, Ontario, to Laredo, Texas, asking that the Canadians begin the relay that would bring the rose through the U.S. to Mexico. A rose was picked in Ontario, blessed by London Bishop John C. Cody, then it was on its way. The rose was flown to New York, where it was brought to then Supreme Knight Luke E. Hart. Hart traveled to Dallas, Texas, and gave the rose to fellow Knight Jack Callerin, who transported it to Laredo. There the rose was received by the Mexican squires who carried it across the international bridge and then ran it to Monterrey, arriving on Dec. 12, 1960, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Inspired by the first Run for the Rose, the squires wanted to repeat it the following year. The rose, however, had faded and died. After much consultation, Bishop Cody and an associate had a bronze rose made and sent to Monterrey. When the squires and Knights of Columbus in Monterrey learned of the bronze rose, they decided to have a silver rose made. A rose from a garden in Monterrey served as the inspiration for the silver rose from 1961-1997.
The silver rose was jointly blessed by Bishop Alfonso Espino Silva of Monterrey, Bishop Cody of London, Ontario, and Archbishop Francis J. Spellman of New York. The tow roses, one silver one bronze, were sent to Laredo, and ceremoniously transported across the international bridge, eventually ending up in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Monterrey, where they remain.
In the 51 years since the first Rose Run, the annual journey of the rose has symbolized unity and the international brotherhood of the Knights of Columbus in three countries. In recent years, the Silver Rose Run has become a symbol of the Knights of Columbus’ devotion to Our Lady and commitment to the Culture of Life. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patroness of the Pro-Life movement.
In 2001, Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson said that through the Silver Rose Run, “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 her will known through St. Juan Diego and the Miracle of the Roses.”
Beginning in 2010, three silver roses began their journey in Canada, traveling through many U.S. cities and visiting numerous Knights of Columbus councils before meeting again at the international bridge in Laredo. From there, the three roses traveled to Monterrey.
On May 1 of this year, the three silver roses left Ottowa, Canada, heading toward their destinations. One rose started from Manitoba to British Columbia and south along the Pacific Coast before heading east through Arizona and New Mexico, and then to Laredo.
A second silver rose started its journey from Ontario, traveling through the Central U.S. to Laredo. A third rose began its journey in New York, meandering through the eastern third of the country before heading west to Laredo. The three roses will be presented to Knights and Squires from Mexico at the International Bridge, and carried to Monterrey. They are expected to arrive at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Dec. 12, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
All are invited to the bilingual Mass at Holy Cross Church 1:30 p.m., Oct. 16.
For more information about the Silver Rose Run, visit www.runningoftherose.org and click on link to Respect Life activities.