Rose runners race through region

A well-known Catholic icon passed through the area this weekend on its journey from London, Ontario, to Monterrey, Mexico.

Volunteer runners and Knights of Columbus members accepted a Silver Rose during the Our Lady of Guadalupe Silver Rose Run on Friday at St. Brendan Catholic Church in Elkins. On its journey, the Silver Rose passed through Tucker County and followed a path to Elkins. From there, runners passed the Silver Rose to Buckhannon where runners took it on to Weston.

The Running of the Silver Rose program is staged annually by the Knights of Columbus in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who appeared in an apparition to St. Juan Diego, an indigenous Mexican Indian, on a hillside near Mexico City in 1531, according to information on the Running of the Silver Rose Facebook site.

The Columbian Squires, a branch of the Knights of Columbus based in Monterrey, Mexico, began the run in May of 1960, using an actual living rose. The initial rose run started in Ontario, Canada, and was carried through the United States into Mexico and delivered to the Basilica in Mexico City in time for the celebration of the Feast of Guadalupe on Dec. 12.

Eventually, the living rose was replaced by a rose crafted from traditional Mexican silver. Today, there are three silver roses and three routes through the United States – eastern, central and western. The roses are now carried every year from May through November, the Running of the Silver Rose site explains.

According to legend, Juan Diego was told by Our Lady of Guadalupe to go to the top of a hill and gather flowers he would find there. He found a garden of roses, not native to the area, that were growing in frozen earth. He gathered the roses and took them to the bishop. When Juan opened his cloak, the roses fell to the floor and there was a portrait of Our Lady of Guadalupe imprinted on the fabric of his cloak.

Mike Kuba, a parishioner at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Buckhannon, ran the Silver Rose more than 12 miles from Talbott Road to the church.

“I am a sometime runner and wanted to contribute,” Kuba said. “I think the intent of the program is what is most important to me.”

Fr. Timothy Grassi, pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Thomas and Our Lady of Mercy in Parsons, ran the Silver Rose from Parsons to Kerens.

“We had five runners from our parishes that participated in the Silver Rose (Run),” Grassi said. “I ran the Silver Rose for 2 miles. It was inspiring for me because the Silver Rose represents pro-life. The Silver Rose Run brings attention to respecting life. Our Lady of Guadalupe and Roses represent her willingness to bear the child and her willingness to bear life no matter the case. I think it is important to get that message out to others.”

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