Golden Rose for Altötting

Pope Benedikt XVI. gives special award to Altötting - Cardinal Meisner as papal legate brought the Golden Rose – The bishop of Passau is pleased by the high appreciation – Prime minister Dr. Günther Beckstein at the Pontifical Mass in Altötting
Rome/Passau/Altötting (iop).

The Shrine of Mary in the diocese of Passau in Altötting received a personal award by Pope Benedikt XVI: The Golden Rose. As papal legate, the arch bishop of Cologne, Joachim Cardinal Meisner, brought it on Friday, August 15th, 2008. He handed the Golden Rose for the Patrocinium of the Chapel of Mercy on "Mary’s Ascension" at the Pontifical Mass to the diocese bishop of Passau, Wilhelm Schraml in the Basilica of St. Anna. The administrator of the Holy Chapel, prelate Ludwig Limbrunner, then led the papal decree of Benedict XVI. in German language.
This was the first time a German Shrine of Mary was aware the papal rose. As probably no other place of pilgrimage, Altötting is now called the „Heart of Bavaria“, personally awarded by Pope Benedikt XVI.. Because already during his visit in Altötting, in September 2006, he had lain down the bishop’s ring that he had been wearing until his election as pope, in front of the holy picture in Altötting. Today, this ring is carried by the sceptre of the statue of the Mother of God. Benedict XVI. was thus the first one in praise in front of the Holy of Holies in the „Old treasury“ and chapel of worship at the chapel square. Only a few weeks before, he personally agreed that the „New treasury“ that was to inhabit the museum of pilgrimage as of May 2009 may carry the name  "House Pope Benedict XVI." .
The Passau bishop Wilhelm Schraml said this is confirmation of the joy of belief by the successor of Saint Peter; and also the joy of being here in this Church of Jesus Christ. The papal rose in Altötting is to be deemed as a calling to "carry this joy out to the world". The bishop understands the papal award also as a renewed invitation "to look to Christ, to pray to him, also in form of the Eucharistic bread".
After the Pontifical Mass, Cardinal Meisner, Bishop Schraml, Prelate Limbrunner, and Prelate Furtner carried the Holy Picture and the Golden Rose back to the Chapel of Mercy. Currently, the papal rose – around 45 cm high and a flower wreath of a diameter of 22 cm – is displayed in a silver shrine to the right of the altar. It is intended to take its final place in the administration of the bishop in the entrance area to the "House Pope Benedict XVI. – New treasury and pilgrimage museum“.
Among the thousand pilgrims from all over Bavaria, Prime Minister Dr. Günther Beckstein also participated in the celebration. During the following reception by the mayor of Altötting, Herbert Hofauer, the spoke a few words of greeting.
The day of celebration in Altötting ended with an Eucharistic sermon in the parish church. The holy of Holies was carried from the Chapel of Prayer and returned after the sermon. After the Eucharistic Sermon, a relief of Pope Benedict was uncovered in the front room of the Chapel and blessed by Cardinal Meisner. This filigree piece was created by sculptor Sabine Thalhammer, born in Altötting. This completed the interconnection to Pope Benedict XVI., who prayed there in 2006. Bishop Schraml and many pilgrims had already come to the Chapel Square the evening before for the traditional procession of light.
The tradition that the Pope gives a rose goes back to a procession in Rome in the Middle Ages, on the 4th Sunday of fast, called "Laetare". On this Sunday in the middle of the fasting period – the height of fasting had passed, the focus was on Easter – the Pope carried a natural, later a golden rose to the church Santa Croce. The City prefect of Rome received the rose. The rose symbolises Christ. The gold stands for resurrection, the thorns for the passion. The artful blossom emphasizes the beauty of resurrection and is to soothe the grievance over the suffering of Christ.
In the course of the decades, the sign of papal goodwill was not only given to persons, but also to monasteries or cities. For all recipients, the rose is always reminder and obligation. The Popes in the 20th Century only awarded important churches, mainly sanctuaries of the Mother of God. Pope Benedict XVI. continues this tradition.
Pope Johannes Paul II. had already awarded the Shrines of Mary in Tschenstochau, Loreto, Knock in Ireland and to Lourdes. Pope Benedikt XVI. gave it to Mariazell in Austria, Aparecida in Brazil and now to Altötting.