Essex Knights of Columbus pass silver rose to Michigan State Council

Filed under: In Our Community |

by Sylene Argent

One of the eight silver roses currently being relayed across Canada, before crossing North American boarders as part of the annual “Running of the Rose” relay, spent some time in Essex Centre recently.

On the evening of Tuesday, April 3, members of the Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church Knights of Columbus (Council #3305) hosted a special ceremony to relay one of the roses to representatives of the Michigan State Knights of Columbus Council.

Through this pilgrimage, the silver roses will make their way through Canada and the US, before arriving at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Monterrey, Mexico for December 12. The arrival will be just in time for Our Lady of Guadalupe’s feast day.

Essex Knights of Columbus Grand Knight, BJ Harrison, noted, to his knowledge, this is the first time a rose exchange has taken place in Essex Centre.

Knights of Columbus Ontario State Deputy Dan Heffernan said his branch received the rose around a month ago. He was pleased to take part in the ceremony where the rose was presented to the Michigan State Council.

“It is a pleasure and honour to be here with Canadian counterparts to share the rose,” Michigan State Council State Deputy Kenneth Unterbrink added.

This long-standing tradition has been an annual occurrence since 1960, when groups of Columbian Squires in Mexico, Canada, and the United States decided to honour Our Lady of Guadalupe, according to Since its inauguration, the program has expanded to include eight silver roses.

The first rose was a natural flower. Silver was eventually chosen as it is one of Mexico’s precious metals.

The relay is done in honour of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Wikipedia notes Catholics believe the Virgin Mary appeared four times before peasant Juan Diego and once before his uncle. The first apparition is said to have occurred on the morning of December 9, 1531, at the Hill of Tepeyac. Mary asked for a church to be built at that site in her honour. The account was difficult for others to believe.

On request of a sign, eventually Diego gathered flowers from the top of Tepeyac Hill. When he later approached the Archbishop, on December 12, the flowers, which were in his cloak, fell to the floor. The fabric is said to have the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe.