RALEIGH - Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral opened its doors May 23 to welcome the Philippine community, which celebrated Flores de Mayo with a procession of a Virgin Mary statue on a float decorated with flowers.
Flores de Mayo is a festival held in the Philippines in the month of May. "Flores" is the Spanish word for flowers and "Mayo" is a Filipino and Spanish term for the month of May. It is one of the devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary that culminates with the "Santacruz an" a ritual pageant held on the last day of the month to honor the finding of the "true cross" by Queen Helena.
Many Filipinos who left the Philippines brought this tradition with them to the United States.
This is the 5th year that the community celebrated Flores de Mayo in Raleigh.
“We started at St. Andrew the Apostle with just 22 participants and the following year we got bigger in size with 45 people. After that event, we realized that we needed a bigger place, and Monsignor David Brockman, who has been very close to the Filipino community, opened the doors to the cathedral,” said Maria Romp, who has organized the event.
The month-long devotion to Mary traditionally ends with a fiesta, or celebration, on the last day of May. The Filipino community in the Diocese of Raleigh used to organize a big celebration, however due to COVID-19, last year was different.
“We continued the celebration even last year with just eight of us. Attendance may be slightly lower than usual, but the community remains connected and strong in our faith,” said Romp.
This year the celebration of Flores de Mayo coincided with Pentecost. During the homily, Father Eric Michael Cruz Imbao said, “Since today we celebrated the birth of the Church, what a beautiful thing to celebrate Virgin Mary and Pentecost, the arrival of the Holy Spirit.”
Father Cruz reminded the attendees how Flores de Mayo highlights the beauty of the Filipino culture and their love for Mother Mary and how the celebration is one way to get closer to God.
The celebration ended with a small parade of people who brought flowers to the statue of Mary near to the altar. Holy Cross Gospel Choir and the Fayetteville Catholic Filipino Choir joined collaboration during the celebration, performing traditional music in honor of the Blessed Mother.
The Flores de Mayo Mass was livestreamed on YouTube and is available to view.