05/09/2007, 00.00
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Flores de Mayo: devotion to Mary to give young people and families a Christian focus

by Santosh Digal
The May Flowers project is meant to enhance traditional Marian celebrations in May. Much time and effort will go to youth. In addition to prayers and flower offerings, there will be moments of reflection to share thoughts about important issues.

Manila (AsiaNews) – Flores de Mayo is a project that seeks to enhance traditional Marian celebrations in Catholic parishes across the Philippines. Flowers will be offered to the Virgin, prayers will be recited, and moments of reflection will be shared.

The initiative of reviving the centuries-old Marian custom of offering flowers to the Blessed Virgin Mary during the month of May was spearhead by the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (EPFL) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) headed by Pampanga Archbishop Paciano Aniceto.

The project Flores de Mayo seeks “to develop and deepen Marian devotion [. . .], especially those that concern human sexuality and family life,” Archbishop Aniceto said.

Mgr Joel Baylon, chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Youth and bishop of Masbate, urged various youth groups to take part in the celebrations. In doing so young people can get to know the Blessed Mother better.

“I would like to encourage the various youth groups in the parishes all over the country to support this worthy practice,” Bishop Baylon said. “For, aside from the usual prayers to Mary and the floral offerings, the Flores de Mayo project also offers ways to reflect and share themes and topics that are very relevant and timely for the youth of today.”

The Flores de Mayo project also provides an opportunity to evangelise the youth and their families on the need to practice chastity within and before marriage by following a programme based on the theme of purity.

“Speaking about the immaculate purity of Mary, we shall teach young Filipinos the value of chastity,” the ECFL organisers said.

At the end of the month, when celebrations will come to a close, there will be a procession. "On that occasion, we shall present a spiritual bouquet to Mary that includes our intentions, promises to stay pure, offerings of sacrifices and personal consecrations to the Mediatrix of All Grace,” they said.

Many Church leaders backed the Flores de Mayo project, including Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles and Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iniguez, not to mention Pampanga Archbishop Paciano Aniceto.

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