CARIGARA, Leyte, May 2, 2015) – “The May Flower devotion should not be up to just eating and playing….It is about Mary.”
This was the timely reminder from Fr. Roel Cahido, parish priest of the Holy Cross parish of Carigara, the oldest town in Leyte where Christianity was first introduced by Jesuit missionaries.
“The children and older ones should know the meaning of Flores de Mayo that it is about Mary, the Holy Rosary and the basics of Catholic faith, Mary being that most beautiful flower,” he added. `
In his weekend Mass homily, Cahido underscored the need to focus on the catechesis about Mary following a general observation that many kids who join the Flores de Mayo come only for the prizes, as well as the games.
The priest called on the parish youth in-charge of the Flores de Mayo, in the 28 barangays and chapels covered, to teach the children about growing in the faith, especially during the month of May, which is traditionally dedicated to the Blessed Virgin.
“I am trying to inculcate in the minds of the youth their responsibility of imparting their faith and knowledge throughout this month,” he said, encouraging the people, however, that the devotion should not only be in the month of May but throughout the year.
According to Cahido, May is when flowers bloom in Western countries and Mary, as the most beautiful flower, takes centerstage. In this devotion, flowers are offered to Mary, who is venerated as the mother of Jesus.
Venerating the Cross
He said, the May Flower devotion should not be mistakenly identified with the Santacruzan (Triumph of the Cross), albeit Mary is part of both festivities.
Cahido stressed that the May 3 commemoration of the Feast of the Cross in the seventh century became a tradition not on the said date, but incorporating it by way of the Santacruzan in the May festivities, particularly on May 30.
Although the Holy Cross of Christ has its own feast in September, Queen Helena’s finding of the wooden cross where Christ was said to have been nailed, called the True Cross, continues to grab the limelight on May 30, a day before the culmination of the traditional Flores de Mayo.
The pastor of Holy Cross Parish reminded the faithful that Mary, the most beautiful among the flowers that grow in May, is part of the Santacruzan as she followed Christ until His death on the cross. Similarly, Empress Helena of Constantinople and Constantine the Great were said to have found the True Cross on May 3.
He stressed however that the Santacruzan is for older people, while the May flower devotion is largely for children, but should have the same focus: the Virgin Mary and the basic teachings of the Catholic faith, praying the Holy Rosary, making the sign of the cross and venerating it. (Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros/CBCP News)