VATICAN CITY, AUG. 23, 2010 (Zenit.org).- In addition to sending a special envoy to the centenary celebrations for the Argentinean Diocese of Catamarca, Benedict XVI also gave the 11th Golden Rose of his pontificate to Mary at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Valley there.
Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz, archbishop of Santiago, Chile, represented the Pope at the centenary celebrations on Saturday.
The image of the Virgin to receive the rose is a 42-centimeter (16-inch) marble statue that dates back to original Spanish missionaries of South America. The native population developed strong devotion to Our Lady in this representation, and over the years, various miracles have been attributed to her.
The Golden Rose is a papal decoration conferred on prominent Catholic personalities; it has gone through a significant evolution. Initially, kings and dignitaries received it, later it was conferred almost exclusively on queens and, more recently, on Our Lady. The distinction was created by Pope Leo IX in 1049. In more recent times, after the Second Vatican Council, the papal decoration has become almost exclusively a gift from popes to Our Lady. This was the 11th Golden Rose that the Pontiff has given to Our Lady in the more than five years of his pontificate. The other 10 were given to the Shrine of Jasna Góra in Poland (2006), the Basilica of Aparecida in Brazil (2007), the Mariazell Basilica in Austria (2007), the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. (2008), Our Lady of Bonaria in Cagliari, Italy (2008), Our Lady of Pompeii, Italy (2008), Our Lady of Europe in Gibraltar (2009), and the “Virgen de la Cabeza” (literally, Virgin of the Head) of the Diocese of Jaen, Spain (2009), the Shrine of Our Lady of Ta’ Pinu (2010), and Our Lady of Fatima (2010).