The tradition that the Pope gives a rose goes back to a procession in Rome in the Middle Aged, 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.
The ring of the bishop that the Pope laid under the Holy Picture in September and the "Golden Rose" show his personal appreciation and solidarity with this place. Pope Benedict XVI. is truly at home in Altötting.