Flores de Mayo: keeping the faith through Mary
Msgr. Ramon Pet, ACCCE chairman, speaks to 104 participants of the ongoing 6th Summer Catechetical Institute at the St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary, Jaro, Iloilo City. GEMMA FLORES SARDUMA
JARO, Iloilo City – With many parishes preparing for this month’s “Flores de Mayo”, an official of this archdiocese reminded the faithful that the “Flores de Mayo” is held not just for the sake of tradition but to “nurture the faith and love of the Lord Jesus through His Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary”.
“The Flores de Mayo is a beautiful tradition very close to the hearts of the Filipino, known as and called ‘Pueblo amante de Maria’ (“people in love with Mary”). We should foster this devotion so that it will never go away despite the negative influence of modern culture on the younger generation,” said Msgr. Ramon A. Pet, HP, chairman of the Archdiocesan Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education (ACCCE) as he directs the 6th Summer Catechetical Institute (SCI), an annual basic faith formation training program for catechists, now taking place at the St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary in this city.
Flores de Maria
Every afternoon in the whole month of May, in the chapel of the village or town, even in private homes, the “Flores” is held.
The devotion basically consists of instruction on the basic truths of the Catholic faith, novena prayers, and the offering of flowers before an image of Our Lady accompanied by the singing of children.
According to Pet, the devotion is believed to have been brought to the Philippines by the Spanish missionaries after the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1854.
Originally called ‘Flores de Maria’, this devotion, said the priest, was taken from the book “Devocion del Flores de Mayo”, printed in the year 1867, which was later translated into English by Mariano Sevilla.
Flowers: symbol of commitment
“The true meaning of the offering of flowers to the Virgin Mary is a sign of love for the Mother of God as the spiritual mother of the people,” he said.
According to Pet, the flowers also symbolize the virtues of the Blessed Virgin that the devotees would commit themselves to pursue, accompanied with the prayer that, through her intercession, God may bless the children and their families as well as the entire parish.
Flores de Mayo guidelines
The ACCCE chairman announced that the Commission for Catechesis recently published a book that can serve as a handbook for the celebration of Flores de Mayo and thus help strengthen the devotion among the faithful “so that the new generations will learn to love and grow in devotion to Jesus with Mary as the foundation of their lives”.
“The present guidelines put emphasis on the Word of God,” the priest pointed out.
“Let us take heed of Our Lord’s invitation to bring Mary into our lives and love her in the way Our Lord did,” he added. CBCPNews