Special Sunday Mass celebrates international tradition

Published 7:00 am Saturday, October 17, 2015

Bryan Cassagne, the Grand Knight from the Picayune Knights of Columbus, explained that on Saturday at 9 a.m. a Mass will be celebrated at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church to commemorate the running of the rose.

The running of the roses started in Mexico by squires, a group of young men associated with the Knights of Columbus, Cassagne said. According to runningoftherose.org, the group wanted to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe, a title of the Virgin Mary. Our Lady of Guadalupe told Saint Juan Diego to seek flowers at Tepeyac Hill in December, which was usually barren, and there he found roses, according to the website. Juan then arranged the roses in his cloak and when he opened it, the roses fell to the floor and the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe formed in his cloak. The cloak, one of Mexico’s most important cultural and religious symbols, and the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of the most celebrated in the Catholic Church, according to the website.

The squires came up with the idea of running the roses from Canada through the United States to Mexico, Cassange said. They initially used a real rose, but after a year it decomposed, thus prompting the switch to metal. Now the rose is silver.

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The roses arrive on Sunday morning and will go from Picayune to Kenner, Louisiana and various other cities and eventually they will end up in Mexico City by December.

The Knights on Bikes, a group associated with the Knights of Columbus who ride motorcycles, are going to be at the church to lead the sterling silver roses from St. Charles Borromeo, the last Mississippi church to have the roses to Louisiana, Cassagne said.

“To me the biggest thing is that we get to share in the brotherhood of our Louisiana Knights. We get notoriety for being that last event in Mississippi and the first one in Louisiana and that’s a neat experience,” Cassagne said. “It’s a basic Mass, but we do an explanation of the roses at the start of the Mass and we have an Knights of Columbus honor guard and state officers from Mississippi and Louisiana.”

Following the Mass, St. Charles Borromeo will hold their Fall Festival at 10 a.m. Cassagne said there will be a lot of arts and crafts, foods and games. The food will consist of hamburgers, chicken, hot dogs and there will be a booth for the Hispanic ministry, which will serve Hispanic foods, Cassagne said.

The Mass and the passing of the roses is something that people in the community look forward to, Cassagne said.

“It is a big deal because it commemorates an important event and it’s a way for us to shine a little bit more because it gives a chance to take part in the exchange with Louisiana, so that makes it special. It gives us a fraternal feel with our brother Knights from Louisiana. We’re really looking forward to it,” Cassagne said.