And so begins, in the quiet of the night, what will blossom into the annual Mother’s Day Rose Sale. For over two decades Pro Life Catholic Ministries has coordinated the efforts of over 70 Christian Churches in assembling and selling fresh rose bouquets, raising funds to keep open the doors of 15 Pregnancy Resource Centers throughout San Bernardino and Riverside counties.
Several ladies, shivering in the cold, shine flashlights on the crates, counting to make certain the order of over 12,000 roses is complete. Next all the crates are divided into six mountains, consisting of the supplies each neighborhood, each vicariate throughout the Diocese, will need to make beautiful rose bouquets for mothers and tias, Omas and madrinas.
As the sun begins to rise cars arrive, each eager to load what volunteers at St. Thomas the Apostle in Riverside and Sacred Heart in Palm Desert will need to assemble the bouquets. Drivers from St. Francis Xavier Cabrini in Yucaipa and Holy Family, Hesperia hurry, knowing that hundreds of volunteers are waiting to create gifts to honor special women. Boxes of donuts are sent back to the Confirmation students and young adults, Respect Life leaders and families at St. Catherine of Alexandria in Temecula and the rest, a small thank you for labor offered with love.
As the cars drive off, the first shift of volunteers at the Montclair site fill dozens of buckets with water as the Knights of Columbus use what look like guillotines to chop inches off the roses, plunge them into the buckets where they will drink for several hours until the hall fills with volunteers of all ages. They come to celebrate the sacredness of motherhood, to save the lives of babies and help put the lives of families back together again after a crisis. Out of the darkness, into the light.
Marie Widmann is the Director of Pro Life Catholic Ministries for the Diocese of San Bernardino.