Mary Page News
January 21, 2000
Mary Page News items give insight into our interest areas, our outreach, and the myriad ways people honor Our Lady. We welcome your input and your comments.
Pope John Paul II on Mary at the Turn of the Millennium
Pope John Paul II on Mary at the Turn of the Millennium
On Christmas Eve, Pope John Paul II opened the holy door of the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome. During the Mass that followed the Holy Father spoke of the Door, Jesus Christ. Excerpts from the Pope's Christmas Eve Midnight Mass homily included thoughts about the Mother of Jesus:
"At this hour, the word 'today' ('to you is born this day...') rings out with a unique sound: it is not only the commemoration of the birth of the Redeemer, it is the solemn beginning of the Great Jubilee. We are spiritually linked to that unique moment of history when God became man, taking to himself our flesh....We fall down in adoration before the Son of God. We unite ourselves in spirit to the wonder of Mary and Joseph...Mary, dawn of the new times, be at our side as we trustingly take our first steps into the Jubilee year!"
On January lst, normally celebrated in the liturgical calendar in honor of Mary, Mother of God, and more recently also as the World Day of Peace, the Holy Father opened another holy door in the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome. The Pope's message called repeated for peace: "May the Lord grant you peace! This is the Church's wish to all humanity on the first day of the new year..."
John Paul II then turned in his message to Mary, the "woman" of the "fullness of time." Excerpts from the message follow:
On this most significant day, I have had the joy of opening the Holy Door in this venerable Liberian Basilica, the first one in the West to be dedicated to the Virgin Mother of Christ. A week after the solemn rite held in St Peter's Basilica, today it is as thought he ecclesial communities of every nation and continent were gathering here in spirit, under the Mother's gaze, to cross the threshold of the Holy Door which is Christ.
It is, in fact, to her, the Mother of Christ and of the Church, that we wish to entrust the Holy Year just begun, to protect and encourage the journey of all who become pilgrims in this time of grace and mercy. ... "Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart." Today, the first day of the new year, on the threshold of a new year, of this new millennium, the Church returns to this inner experience of the Mother of God. She does so not only by thinking back to the events of Bethlehem, Nazareth and Jerusalem, to the various stages, that is, of the Redeemer's earthly life, but also by considering all that his Life, Death and Resurrection have brought about in human history.
Mary was present with the Apostles on the day of Pentecost; she participated directly in the birth of the Church. Since then her motherhood accompanies the history of redeemed humanity, the journey of the great human family, for whom the work of Redemption is intended.
At the beginning of the Year 2000, as we move into the Jubilee season, we trust in your motherly "memory", O Mary! We set out on this special path of salvation history, which is kept alive in your heart as Mother of God. To you we entrust the days of the new year, the future of the Church, the future of humanity, the future of the entire universe.
Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Peace, watch over us.
Mary, Salus Populi Romani, pray for us. Amen!
In the Holy Father's general audience for January 5, 2000, he spoke of Mary as the Father's beloved daughter. He called to mind that the theme and catechesis of the past liturgical year had focused on God the Father. He stated< "Today, at the end of that series of reflections and as a special introduction to the catechesis of the Holy Year, let us once agin lovingly consider the person of Mary." The Pope then spoke of the Father's election of Mary for the plan of Christ becoming man. He repeated the angelic salutation, "Rejoice!" and continued:
"We can see that the expression sounds as if it were Mary's very name, the "name" given to her by the Father from the beginning of her existence. From the moment of conception, in fact, her soul was filled with every blessing, enabling her to live in outstanding holiness throughout her earthly life. Mary's face reflects the mysterious face of the Father. The infinite tenderness of God-Love is revealed in the maternal features of Jesus' Mother."
The discourse continues by indicating how Mary alone as mother can call Jesus "Son". It explains the various ways Jesus in turn can and does address his mother.
[The above source material is taken from L'Osservatore Romano, issues for January 5 and January 12, 2000.]
Mary and the Fathers of the Church: the Blessed Virgin Mary in Patristic Thought
Father Luigi Gambero, SM, professor of patristics at the Marianum in Rome and at the International Marian Research Institute (IMRI) located at the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio, has gathered together the texts of the Fathers of the Church about the Blessed Virgin Mary. Father Thomas Buffer, who did his licentiate studies at IMRI, has recently translated the book, which was published by Ignatius Press, 1999.
The National Catholic Register featured a review by Mark S. Gordon from Mystic, Connecticut. Gordon writes, "The Fathers [of the Church] offer seeking Christians the possibility of recovering that true, primitive Christianity which many non-Catholics assume was lost in the post-apostolic age." Gordon explains how John Henry Newman, too, thought that Catholic devotion to Mary had exceeded the teachings of the Fathers. He set out to research what the Fathers had to say about Mary, and from that basis, proceeded to tackle the questions of Marian devotion in the Catholic Church. The Buffer translation of Gambero's collection now makes it possible for English readers to explore for themselves what early Christians taught about Mary.
Orthodox Byzantine Icons
Did you know that the staff of St. Isaac's (St. Isaac of Syria Skete) in Boscobel, Wisconsin, has an extensive icon distribution system that now produces more than 50,000 icons a year? The Marian Library has received their excellent catalogue, which also announces their website. A wide variety of Marian icons are offered. Check them out at:
Yearly Apparition to Jakov Colo, Christmas 1999
The Blue Letter reports in its December 1999 (Vol 17, 12) issue that Our Lady appeared to Jakov Colo, one of the Medjugorje seers, at 3 p.m. on Christmas. The visit is to have lasted ten minutes. The Blue Letter states, "Our Lady came joyful and in a golden dress with the baby Jesus in her arms."
The following message is quoted in the Blue Letter as follows:
"Dear children! Today on the birthday of my Son, when my heart is filled with immeasurable joy and love, I invite you to a complete openness and to a complete abandonment to God. Throw all darkness out of your heart and allow God's light and God's love to enter into your heart and to dwell there forever. Be carriers of God's light and love to all mankind, so that all in you and through you may feel and experience true light and love which only God can give you. I bless you with my motherly blessing."
Ten Years Ago, The Wall Came Down
Ten years ago, the iron curtain separating Europe was opened. A note in Maria [Nov/Dec 1999] reminds us of how it was in Austria at the time:
18,000 Attend the Celebration of the Name of Mary in Vienna
The power of prayer is evident again and again. Ten years ago the iron curtain fell on the Austrian border as Mary's nameday was being celebrated at the Vienna "Stadthalle". 18,000 prayed for peace that year. Thousands of voices spoke the ancient words of the Rosary and thus for a week transformed the Vienna "Stadthalle" usually a place of pop stars and entertainment into a place of prayer, of devotion and of faith.
Meditations on Mary
Lutheran spiritual writer Kathleen Norris has published a book of meditations and paintings: "Meditations on Mary," according to the Wisconsin State Journal. Norris, who spent time at a Benedictine abbey 15 years ago, says her devotion to the Virgin Mary is grounded in her belief that "Mary's life is as powerful an evocation of what it can mean to be God's chosen as the life of Moses, or St. Paul," according to the Journal.
Marian Statue Ends "Pilgrimage" in Nazareth
The Zenit news agency from Rome presented the following article in its online service:
VIRGIN MARY'S TRIP AROUND WORLD ENDS IN NAZARETH
NAZARETH, JAN 10 (ZENIT).- The pilgrimage of the statue of Our Lady of Nazareth ended in the Holy Land yesterday. Her long journey began in Nazareth on March 8, 1998, on the occasion of International Woman's Day.
The remarkable statue, which represents a very young pregnant Mary, was sculptured by Gregory Misner and crowned by John Paul II. Over the past two years, the statue was venerated in 35 countries around the world, by millions of faithful in preparation for the Great Jubilee of the year 2000.
The statue arrived in Bethlehem on December 24, for the proclamation of the Holy Year. After a brief stay in Jerusalem, the statue finally arrived "home" in Nazareth, according to Capuchin Fr. Giovanni Maria Leonardi, who organized this worldwide Marian pilgrimage.
Recent Articles About Mary Reported in the Marian Library Newsletter
The following are short reports by Rev. Thomas A. Thompson, SM, concerning recently published articles that came to our attention. Mary Page does not necessarily endorse the ideas expressed in the articles and books reviewed.
A bishop of the Assyrian Church of the East (formerly referred to as the Nestorian Church) reflects on the possibilities of convergence between the Catholic and the Assyrian Church on three Mariological themes. The fifteen-hundred year theological rupture between the Catholic and the Assyrian Churches was repaired by a Common Christological Declaration between the two churches in 1994. The Assyrian Church prays to Mary, Christokos, Mother of Christ our God and Savior, whereas the Catholic Church addresses Mary as Theotokos, Mother of God and also as Mother of Christ. The history of this controversy indicates the need to seek complementary formulas, which do not mean differences in the "content and meaning of the apostolic faith." The Assyrian Church responds to the definition of the Immaculate Conception by affirming the sinlessness, sanctity, and purity of Mary, but its sees sin, not as something which is part of human nature, but as residing in the will. Similarly, the Assyrian Church views the Assumption, not in Western terms of "body and soul" now in heaven, but as part of the Virgin's glorification and exaltation. Although the words are not the same, the content of the faith is preserved.
The Magnificat in Luke's Gospel shows the influence of texts from the Hebrew Scripture, e.g., Psalm 96, 105, 106, 113: 7-9, and Hannah's Song in I Samuel 2. There is evidence that Hebrew women recited these texts after the birth of their first child; similar prayers are found among Arab women today. A extension of this practice was that women recited these verses when they first became aware of their pregnancy. The Magnificat might therefore have been an appropriate response to Elizabeth's greeting acknowledging Mary's pregnancy, "Blessed is the fruit of your womb."
The Ars Sacre movement of Père Couturier believed that the best artists should be asked to work on religious art, regardless of their faith or lack of it. Though somewhat alienated by Catholicism, Le Corbusier used Christian symbolism in his poetry and sketches to express spirituality. In an earlier work the St. Baume project--Le Corbusier had portrayed the power of primitive female goddesses, together with symbols of Mary Magdalen and the Virgin Mary. The image of Mary was frequently associated with female goddesses who regenerate humanity. In the chapel at Ronchamp, the abstracted body of the Virgin Mary is embodied in the forms of the religious structure.
The Mexican mestizaje culture is composed of an underlay of meso-American world and an overlay of sixteenth century medieval Catholicism. The ancient Mexican faith mirrored the divine in an interlocking relationship in which the divine itself was social. "Gods" were all representative of the one God. Mutual impermeability and intrinsic relationship joined to form a single idea. The Nahuatl religious imagination abounded in interchangeable divine images. Socialization of the divine allows access to the divine through reciprocal acts. Marginalization and powerlessness combined to reinterpret la Virgen as image of the divine. In response to fragmentation and modernity, the la Virgen presents an active presence of the divine, in female form, in a resacralized world.
Panel: Artistic or Anti-Catholic?
The University of Dayton's Campus News Digest [January 20, 2000] reports:
- A priest, three professors and an art museum director will gather Wednesday, Jan. 26, to examine issues of art, religion, censorship and anti-Catholicism generated by the Brooklyn Museum's recent "Sensation" exhibit, which spawned intense cultural commentary and political debate regarding Chris Ofili's "The Holy Virgin Mary," which contained elephant dung and images of genitalia. See UD NewsThe priest is Fr. Johann G. Roten, SM, Director of The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute.
Mary in the Secular Press
Commentary on Mary in various news articles from December 19, 1999 January 17, 2000.
The director and editors of Mary Page under the auspices of the International Marian Research Institute do not necessarily endorse or agree with the events and ideas expressed in this feature. Our sole purpose is to report on items about Mary gleaned from a myriad of papers representing the secular press.
Newest Edition: Marian Library Newsletter
The Winter edition of the Marian Library Newsletter reached the homes of subscribers and friends at Christmas. It contained the following articles, some of which you will find located in the various sections of Mary Page:
Mary Page offers reflections on Marian themes. This section offers direct quotes from magisterial documents on the theme of Mary as a member of the Church. For example:
As a believing disciple of Jesus, Mary can be called daughter of the Church, and our sister as well. For, like us, she has been redeemed by Christ, although in an eminent and privileged way. (Paul VI, Feb 2, 1965) (Found in Behold Your Mother 114
You are invited to help us pray for our prayer corner intentions. See our section:
The intentions of the Holy Father for 2000:
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