Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's day roses

We were back at St. Joseph's Catholic Co-Cathedral today (I can't quite countenance going to Manhattan seven days a week), where they have a distinctive mother's day ritual which emerged through happy accident.

As described in the parish bulletin:

It is our parish custom to give a rose to all the women who are mothers or mother figures at the Masses. One year, we ran out of roses. Displayed prominently in the sanctuary was an image of Our Lady of Guadelupe and it was surrounded by bouquets of roses. I took some of the roses surrounding the image and gave them to the women who remained without a rose to take home. Mary would deny nothing to her daughters. The following year we gave flowers to everyone entering the church. At the offertory, everyone was asked to bring up a rose and place it before Mary. On Mother's Day, many mourn that they have never had the opportunity to be mothers; children mourn mothers who have died, and sadly it is sometimes mothers who mourn their lost children. Some people are angry due to their mothers' shortcoming; all mothers consider the ways in which they may have failed. So this Mother's Day, let us honor Mary, our heavenly mother and her daughters, for whom she would give everything - even her own Son.

We participated, what fun! Offering roses to the Virgen - who of course has a special relationship with red roses - had a special resonance since so many of the parishioners hail from across the Americas whose protectress she is. (Red roses are a little odd for most other mothers, actually, aren't they? A little too oedipal? Good to sublime those feelings heavenward!) It'll be interesting to see if this ritual sticks (designated "mothers and mother figures" no longer get to take a rose home), and, if so, if a different story emerges about it. 

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