Flores de Mayo a holy rite, not a fashion show – CBCP


MANILA, Philippines — The president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines CBCP) urged the faithful on Tuesday, not to turn this month’s Flores de Mayo festivities into mere pageants of beautiful women and “strongly discouraged” the “third sex” from participating in the processions.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma reminded their flock that the festivals of May were meant as offerings of prayers and flowers to the Blessed Virgin Mary and not beauty contests.

Palma said he was really praying that this year the flock, would be more enlightened about the true essence of the month-long celebration culminated by the Santacruzan, a novena procession on the last day of the Flores de Mayo.

The procession is held in honor of St. Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine the Great who was said to have found the relics of Christ’s cross in Calvary, according to Palma.

As the legend goes, St. Helena discovered three crosses and instructed one of her sick servants to lie down on all the three. The servant was said to be miraculously cured upon touching one of the three crosses. This was then determined to be Christ’s cross.

Since its introduction in the Philippines during the Spanish period, Filipinos continue to celebrate the santacruzan, usually marked with a procession of embellished floats and ornately dressed characters representing the various religious characters.

“We should all reflect on the celebration of Flores de Mayo, which is a time of offering flowers to the Blessed Virgin Mary,” said Palma over Church-run Radio Veritas on Tuesday.

“It is a beautiful tradition and I pray that the Santacruzan will not be reduced to a mere parade of pretty young women and the third sex.  It must be an expression of prayer and faith and the gift of the cross,” added the leader of the Church hierarchy.

While other Catholic bishops do not necessarily ban gays from joining the Santacruzan, Palma stressed on Tuesday that the dioceses and archdioceses of the Catholic Church “strongly discourage them from participating in the procession.”

“We discourage anything that would distract the people from their faith and devotion and from the important roles of Mama Mary that we would like to honor,” said Palma, adding that it should not become an avenue for gaining popularity.

As much as possible, they should not turn the event into a fashion show or treat it as a mere venue for merrymaking, he said.

“We should respect tradition… it’s a sign of faith and an event to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary,” stressed the senior prelate.

“I hope the people would refrain from staging parades for popularity’s sake or to showcase lewd clothing especially among women and even the gays because it doesn’t look good,” added Palma.

In many provinces, the processions are often occasions for gays to parade in female or transgender finery.

“Let the Blessed Virgin Mary be the center of the celebration and I hope it will always be in the spirit of faith and gratitude,” he added.

For his part, Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said reducing the holy celebration into a fashion show could be considered “blasphemy.”  He suggested that people pray the rosary to make the event more meaningful.

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  • WAJ

    What do you mean by “third sex”, bakla ba ang tinutukoy ninyo? Pagkakataon na nila ito sa mga ganitong okasyon lang nagkakameron sila ng pagkakataon umarte.Dapat ipadala sila sa Spratly ipain sa mga Intsik…

  • karmiknoscet

    that’s true. 

    • lliam_S

      andito ka rin anak?

  • Ralph L

    Jose Palma- inggit ka lang mga pari nio di puede sumali sa santacruzan!! Ang papanget nio!!!

    • julymorning


      • Ralph L

        sino ka namang pobreng spokesperson ni Jose Palma??? I bet youre from Cebu- the dirtiest province in Central Visayas!!!!! ano may angal ka??!!

  • Marc Lloyd

    This is not a holy rite! It is nothing but a fund raising exercise. But of course, some people worship money. The Roman Catholic church has been known for its idolatry – the worship of dumb statues made of wood and stone.

     It deceives its blind, unthinking followers from seeing the truth and worshiping God and attaining salvation through Jesus Christ, by exalting Mary above Him. This is in direct contradiction to what is written in the Bible:

    Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)

    “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

     “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all …” (1 Timothy 2:5) 

    Let us study the Bible so we can’t be easily fooled into believing a false gospel. The truth shall set us free.

    • baracena

      Catholics use statues, paintings, and other artistic devices to recall the person or thing depicted. Just as it helps to remember one’s mother by looking at her photograph, so it helps to recall the example of the saints by looking at pictures of them. Catholics also use statues as teaching tools. In the early Church they were especially useful for the instruction of the illiterate. Many Protestants have pictures of Jesus and other Bible pictures in Sunday school for teaching children. Catholics also use statues to commemorate certain people and events, much as Protestant churches have three-dimensional nativity scenes at Christmas. they are signs not to be worship but images to remind people that we should live by their examples and teachings. Moreover, yes indeed the bible is the source of our teaching but we must not forget that there are Sacred Traditions, these are also sources of teaching of the church. 
      Maybe you are the one blinded because you are one sided and single minded. 
      With regard to fund raising everybody raises funds even the protestants and born again christians raises funds for their respective church so don’t you exclude them and just single out the catholics for rasing funds….. di hamak na mas malala nga ang fund raising nila they oblige their members to give 20% of the total family income…. the catholic church does not require its members to give such amount they only ask what they can give….. SO DO NOT SINGLE OUT THE CATHOLICS FOR FUND RAISING….

    • Anthony Perez

      Marc Lloyd, you are obviously in the dark about these things. I hope I can clarify some things that you mentioned, or is your heart made of stone? 

      First of all, whatever your church is, who founded it? Was it some mortal man, or was it founded by Jesus Christ himself and given to Peter in a long, unbroken line of apostolic succession, something that only the Catholic Church can boast of? 

      Where did your bible come from? Wasn’t it from the Catholic monks who had handwritten the bible centuries before print? 

      No, we do not worship dumb statues. And please do not be hypocritical about statues. Mankind has long been making portraits, pictures, and statues of great men and women because they want that person to be remembered. Same way we are reminded by God through the works of men. 

      Luke 1:26 says Mary is highly favored among women. ”
      28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that arthighly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. ”

      But we do not place Mary above Jesus. That is just simply being ignorant of Catholic catechism. But you know why Mary is exulted by heaven and earth? Because she chose to exult God, not herself. 

      Luke 1:46 says “My soul glorifies the Lord, *my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour.He looks on his servant in her lowliness; *”If you are truly to study the bible and be honest with yourself, you will come home to the Catholic church brother. “To be steeped in history is to cease to be protestant.” – Cardinal Henry Newman Cardinal Newman, of course, was a Catholic convert. 

      • Diepor

        I tought even the church is saying is to much the way people are worshipping some statues thinking they have magic powers . Like the parades in Manila,trying to touch a rope or statue .

      • Bobbi Francisco

        I suggest the Bible story about the snake statue that God told Moses to make and the story about the sick woman who touched the garment of  Jesus Christ and got healed. I believe that it is not called “magic powers” . It is called God’s Grace.

      • Diepor

        The devotees must be taught that they don’t need to jostle their way up to the carriage just to touch the image of the Black Nazarene,” Bacani said. “It’s not the touch of the hand that matters but to touch the Lord through their faith.” You see , it’s Filipino superstition .

      • Marc Lloyd

        “THE PRIMACY of the Roman Catholic Church depends upon one fundamental doctrine: the claim that
        Peter was the first Bishop of Rome and the founder of the Roman Church. ..

        The fact remains, many ecclesiastical authors of the second century, Justin Martyr among them, give
        information completely negating Peter’s supposed Roman bishopric. This is admitted by virtually all
        scholars — except conservative Catholics (Ency. Biblica, col. 4554). But, more important than this, the
        records of the True Church of God — the writings of the New Testament — absolutely refute the Roman
        Catholic claim.

        It is time that the world gets its eyes open to the truth of this matter — the truth, which is clearly revealed in
        the Word of God. The Apostle Peter was NEVER the Bishop of Rome!
        PROOF ONE: We should consider Christ’s commission to Peter. This is often very embarrassing to
        Catholics, because Christ commissioned Peter to become chief minister to the CIRCUMCISED, not to
        uncircumcised Gentiles.

        PETER is NOWHERE called the Apostle to the Gentiles! This precludes him from going to Rome to
        become the head of a Gentile community.

        PROOF TWO: Paul specifically told the Gentile Romans that HE had been chosen to be their Apostle, not

        PROOF THREE: We are told by Paul himself that it was he — not Peter — who was going to officially found
        the Roman Church. “I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be
        established” (Rom. 1:11).

        PROOF FOUR: We find Paul not only wanting to establish the Church
        at Rome, but he emphatically tells us that his policy was NEVER to
        build upon another man’s foundation. “Yea, so have I strived to preach
        the gospel, not where Christ was named, LEST I SHOULD BUILD UPON ANOTHER

        (Rom. 15:20).
        PROOF FIVE: At the end of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans he greets no
        fewer than 28 different individuals, but never mentions Peter once!
        See Romans 16 — read the whole chapter!”
        PROOF SIX: Some four years after Paul wrote Romans, he was conveyed
        as a prisoner to Rome in order to stand trial before Caesar. When
        the Christian community in Rome heard of Paul’s arrival, they all
        went to meet him. “When THE brethren [of Rome] heard of us, they came
        to meet us” (Acts 28:15).

        Again, there is not a single mention of Peter among them. This would
        have been extraordinary had Peter been in Rome, for Luke always mentions
        by name important Apostles in his narration of Acts. But he says nothing
        of Peter’s meeting with Paul.

        Why? Because Peter was not in Rome!
        PROOF SEVEN: When Paul finally arrived at Rome, the first thing he
        did was to summon “the chief of the Jews together” (Acts 28:17) to
        whom he “expounded and testified the kingdom of God” (Verse 23).

        But what is amazing is that these chief Jewish elders claimed they
        knew very little even about the basic teachings of Christ. All they
        knew was that ‘‘as concerning this sect, we know that everywhere it
        is spoken against” (Verse 22). Then Paul began to explain to them
        the basic teachings of Christ on the Kingdom of God. Some believed
        — the majority didn’t.

        Now, what does all this mean? It means that if Peter, who was himself
        a strongly partisan Jew, had been preaching constantly in Rome for
        14 long years before this time, AND WAS STILL THERE — how could these
        Jewish leaders have known so little about even the basic truths of
        Christianity? This again is clear proof Peter had not been in Rome
        prior to 59 A.D.

        No Mention of Peter in Paul’s Letters

        PROOF EIGHT: After the rejection of the Jewish elders, Paul remained
        in his own hired house for two years. During that time he wrote Epistles
        to the Ephesians, the Philippians, the Colossians, Philemon, and to
        the Hebrews. And while Paul mentions others as being in Rome during
        that period, he nowhere mentions Peter. The obvious reason is — the
        Apostle to the circumcision wasn’t there!

        PROOF NINE: With the expiration of Paul’s two year’s imprisonment,
        he was released. But about four years later (near 65 A.D.), he was
        again sent back a prisoner to Rome. This time he had to appear before
        the throne of Caesar and was sentenced to die. Paul describes these
        circumstances at length in II Timothy.

        In regard to his trial, notice what Paul said in II Timothy 4:16. 

        “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men [in Rome] forsook
        me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.”

        This means, if we believe the Catholics, that Peter forsook Paul,
        for they tell us Peter was very much present at Rome during this time!
        Peter once denied Christ, but that was before he was converted. To
        believe that Peter was in Rome during Paul’s trial, is untenable! 
        PROOF TEN: The Apostle Paul distinctly informs us that Peter was not
        in Rome in 65 A.D. — even though Catholics say he was. Paul said:
        “Only Luke is with me” (II Tim. 4:11).

        The truth becomes very plain. Paul wrote TO Rome; he had been IN Rome;
        and at the end wrote at least six epistles FROM Rome; and not only
        does he NEVER mention Peter, but at the last moment says: “Only Luke
        is with me.”

        Peter, therefore, was never Bishop of Rome!”

               from:  Simon Peter versus Simon the Sorcerer (Dr. E.L. Martin)

    • Elroy Ampuller

       Are you a Born Again?or Burn Again? did the Catholic Church really teaches to worship dumb statues made of wood and stone and commit idolatry?Judge and you will be Judge !!! I dont know if the Truth has really set you free….If the Church exalts Mary how much more is the Lord Jesus Christ? we exalt Mary but we dont worship her !! Think it this way… I worship you but I will bullshit your mother !!!

      • Diepor

        The devotees must be taught that they don’t need to jostle their way up to the carriage just to touch the image of the Black Nazarene,” Bacani said. “It’s not the touch of the hand that matters but to touch the Lord through their faith.” You see , it’s Filipino superstition .

      • Kouji Inoue

        mary is not the mother of Jesus.  buo na ang fetus ng ilagay sa womb nya. Mary is just a carrier.  The mother and father of Jesus in real terms is the Holy Spirit. you said you don’t worship Mary, eh bakit nagnonovena kayo at pinaparada nyo lahat ng mga rebulto nya?  any yan fashion show?

      • Elroy Ampuller


        Don’t muddle the issue .. who carry the fetus in the
        womb?even test tube sperm implanted in a woman’s womb,you call her surrogate
        mother,still she is the Mother and the Holy Spirit you call mother and father
        of the Lord Jesus is in Mary as proven by the anounciation of an angel of the
        Lord who says Hail Mary full of grace The Lord is with you,Blessed are you
        among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb whom they call Jesus..kung mag
        novena ka at magparada ka it doesnt mean nagworship ka…it’s catholics
        tradition like mag mano..Even the Lord Jesus dont destroy tradition..because if
        early people destroys tradition we will be in the dark of our past life
        practice..from oral tradition when paper was not yet discovered then written up
        to now…is not we are commanded by GOD to honor you Mother and Father?i wish
        to follow God’s command than to succumb to People’s ignorance…

      • Marc Lloyd

         The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.

        1 Corinthians 2:14

        New International Version (NIV)

      • Elroy Ampuller

         Tha Devil also quote the Holy Bible to judge…LOL..and how sure you are i dont have the Spirit..did you know me? I love your copy pasted comments above…

    • karmiknoscet

      it’s just a way of remembering.

    • julymorning


      • Marc Lloyd

        The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.

        1 Corinthians 2:14
        New International Version (NIV)

    • David Gonzales


      Do not be discouraged… remember you are a vessel chosen to carry the good news to those who hear and accept the saving grace of what Jesus did on the cross and bad news to those who reject the truth… but carry on with the good work… your reward is not earthly in nature but awaits you when you hear HIM say, “well done my faithful servant”.

    • Kouji Inoue


      • Elroy Ampuller

         Roman Catholics don’t deceive people and we don’t worship Mary we only honor her as commanded by the Lord to honor your Mother and Father…and Mother Mary is the historical Mother of the Lord Jesus…we have free will to think..Men are deceived only by their evil desires …All things in this world has its purpose,happy Mothers Day…and pls.don’t shout!

  • Diepor

    The rich and powerful has paid to get their loved ones turned into saint for hundreds of years . It was politics , a way for the church to get influential . I hope it’s not like that anymore .Maybe soon we worship the great aunt of Joker Arroyo .

  • jason

    All of the comments below veered away from the topic of the article. The issue consists of two points: (1) Flores de Mayo becoming a mere pageant of beautiful women and (2) strong discouragement of “third sex” from participating.

    First of all, the Catholic Church doesn’t have any right to the Flores de Mayo event. Any Filipino can observe or conduct it any way necessary for the organizers as long as they’re not stepping on other people’s rights. Second, if it’s about “offering of prayers and flowers to the Blessed Virgin Mary”, why can’t the “third sex,” as was insensitively, ignorantly, and carelessly used by the good Archbishop, offer prayers and flowers to the Virgin Mary? Would the Blessed Virgin Mary, a humble servant of the Lord, not listen to the prayers of the transgenders, gays, etc? Second, the archbishop’s comments are also anti-women, for it prolongs the idea that it’s women’s fault again and that they’re the root of evil. They suffered long enough and the arcbishops should be more gender-sensitive toward women and the LGBT community. Third, weren’t the servants, according to legend of St. Helena, also marginalized socially during St. Helena’s time? Yet they were given the opportunity to “lie down on all the three” crosses and were healed. Why can’t the archbishops act like the honorable St. Helena? Fourth, if it’s about the “gift of the cross”, why would the prelates deny that gift to transgenders, who are also marginalized socially?

    Nevertheless, I agree that it should not just be for popularity. It should have a purpose. I disagree, though, that it is just a mere fashion show. I think it’s an opportunity for artists to share their talents and offer it to the Blessed Mary, if they are Catholics. If it’s merrymaking, what’s wrong about that? Is not written in 2 Corinthians 9: 7, “Each of you must give as you have made up your mind not reluctantly, or under compulsion for God LOVES a CHEERFUL giver.” I guess what’s wrong is that they don’t think it’s for God. Masyado na atang seryoso ang mga archbishops. They seem to be out of touch of reality. The prelates sound like the Pharisees in Matthew 15: 2 when they questioned Jesus and his followers,“Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands before they eat.” Jesus answered back to the Pharisees by saying, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?” Matthew 15: 3.

    What is the commandment of God? Is not not to love thy neighbor as one self, as the second greatest commandment? If the prelates love the “third sex” as themselves, would the prelates call them “third sex”? Using the word, “third sex” is like saying there’s a “first and second sex” Or are they ignorant to gender studies? Would the prelates exclude themselves from participating the Flores de Mayo as what they are suggesting to the LGBT community?

    Unfortunately, the prelates since they are deprived of sex, they immediately judge the clothing as “lewd” instead of trying to know first the purpose of the clothing. I thought the prelates didn’t want merrymaking? Why do they call it then, “a celebration” at the end of the article? If Flores de Mayo is for the “spirit of faith and gratitude,” can’t the the LGBT community express their faith and gratitude? Lastly, Jesus was judged as “blasphemous” several times for not following the tradition. Are the archbishops acting the like the Pharisees, re-crucifying Jesus Christ and his humble followers? If there’s one thing the prelates have done good is that to encourage the faithful to reflect on the Flores de Mayo’s history and purpose. Well, I just did. I just realized how rich and beautiful the legend of St. Helena is. Take note, I don’t worship her or even Mother Mary. I’m an ecumenical Christian and I respect the practice of Catholics of honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary. As for me, I don’t need to pray the rosary. I just re-state what the Angel Gabriel told Mary, “Hail! Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee!” I don’t have to repeat it over and over again. I just recite it with an open heart. I disregarded Mother Mary before, but when I found out that I was very sick when I was a child, my mother asked for the intercessory prayers of Mother Mary. She never admitted that to me. I just found out from my sister.

    Being a mother of God is no easy task. I think Blessed Virgin Mary deserves proper credit and recognition. No one has the right to judge her, or any women, or any LGBT person, for we will all be judged. I think Blessed Virgin Mary should not be the center of the celebration as she would’ve also requested to us, if she could speak now. I think we should also not forget that we’re offering flowers, prayers, and gratitude to the healing of Jesus to the least of his people.

    To each, his own. May peace, love and hope prevail in our country. Live and let live.

    • Kouji Inoue

      Sobra nang katangahan at pangloloko ang gusto at mga sinasabi ng mga archbishops na yan.  Wala clang pakialam sa kung anuman ang gustong gawin ng lahat ng klase ng tao sa flores de mayo.  Wala kayong karapatan diktahan ang kultura at kalooban ng mga Pilipino.  Bakit di nyo na lang ayusin ang mga kabaklaan at kabababuyan ng inyong mga kasamahang pari kesa sa pakikiaalam sa kultura ng Pilipino.  Sobra na ang pangloloko nyo sa mga Pilipino.  Kaya hindi makaahon sa kahirapan ang Pilipinas ay dahil sa mga mali ninyong mga turo.  Matakot kayo sa Diyos.

      • Elroy Ampuller

         Blame Game …LOL..Respect begets respect..Discipline people discipline..Flores de Mayo is one of the tradition of the Church its not a culture of filipino people..don’t blame the Church ..hay naku !!

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