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Aug 12 Golden Roses & Aparecida

Today in 1967 Pope Paul VI granted a Golden rose to Aparecida Cathedral in Brazil. The Golden Rose is an ornament, which popes have traditionally blessed on the fourth Sunday of Lent, Lætare Sunday (also known as Rose Sunday), when rose-coloured vestments and draperies substitute the penitential purple, symbolizing hope and joy in the midst of Lenten season. Golden Roses have been awarded to people – men, women, and one married couple - as well as to states and churches.


Rose Sunday is an opportunity to look beyond Christ's death at Calvary and forward to His joyous Resurrection. In the Old Testament, in the book called the Song of Solomon, part of the Wisdom literature The Messiah is hailed "the flower of the field and the lily of the valleys" also comparing the rose to the flower referred to in Isaiah 11:1: "There shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root."

Before the 15th Century, the Golden Rose consisted of a simple and single blossom made of pure gold and slightly tinted with red. The thorns and red tint of the petals refer to His bloody Passion. Later, to embellish the ornament while still retaining the mystical symbolism, the gold was left untinted but rubies and afterwards many precious gems were placed in the heart of the rose or on its petals.

Giving the rose supplanted the ancient practice of sending Catholic rulers the Golden Keys from St. Peter's Confessional. The custom, started when the popes moved to Avignon, of conferring the rose upon the most deserving prince at the papal court, continued after the papacy moved back to Rome. The prince would receive the rose from the pope in a solemn ceremony and be accompanied by the College of Cardinals from the papal palace to his residence. Until the sixteenth century Golden Roses were usually awarded to male sovereigns. From the sixteenth century onwards it became more common to award them to female sovereigns and to the wives of sovereigns. The last male to receive a Golden Rose was the Doge of Venice, in 1759. The last female, last sovereign, and last person to receive a Golden Rose was Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg, in 1956.

Since then, the rose has only been awarded to shrines and churches with Paul VI making five awards, John Paul II making nine awards and Benedict XVI making eighteen awards, twice as many as his predecessor even though he served less than half of his stretch as Pope Benedict made them all to Marian Shrines and Francis has made five awards of the Golden Rose.

Today in 1967 Paul Vi awarded his to The Cathedral Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady Aparecida The largest cathedral and the second largest Catholic church in the world in interior area after the St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. It has room for more than 30,000 people. Aug 12 was the occasion of the 250th anniversary jubilee of the appearance of the statue of Our Lady of Aparecida by three fishermen who were attempting to catch a large amount of fish in the nearby River. Despite their prayers, their attempts were fruitless until late in the day, one of the fishermen cast his net and pulled it back to find the statue of the Virgin Mary and upon his next cast, he found the head. The group cleaned the statue, wrapped it in cloth, and returned to their task to find their fortunes had changed and they were able to obtain all the fish they needed. The statue was originally housed at the home of Felipe Pedroso, one of the fisherman who found it. This became a popular site for visitors wishing to pray to the statue, leading Pedroso's family to build a small chapel to house the statue. This was replaced in 1734 by a larger chapel, and then the first basilica on the site. In 1955, with pilgrimage numbers still growing, the construction work began on the present building, in a site nearby. In order to provide a peaceful and safe visit, the Sanctuary has about 200 security staff with . 400 military police, on average, reinforce in special seasons.


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