Mary Page News

July 25, 2001

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.

News from the ML/IMRI

Thesis Defense

Father Denis V. Wiseman, O.P., a student at the International Marian Research Institute, defended his S.T.D. dissertation, summa cum laude, on July 20, 2001.  The title of his thesis: "Al Nome Di Gesů Cristo Crocifisso E Di Maria Dolce." Salvation and Mary in the Life and Writings of Catherine of Siena. 

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Personal thoughts and reflections about Mary from our readers 

We've added a section to our Research and Publications section showing selected personal comments from our readers about the Virgin Mary.  Click here to see comments received within the past month.  From this page, feel free to submit your own personal thoughts on Mary.  

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Current Exhibit Extended!

Mary and Women: Images From the Heart, featuring works by Janet McKenzie, will continue to be on display through August 17, 2001.  The works can be seen on-line by clicking into the Gallery section of the Mary Page and then choosing 'Current Exhibit'.

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International Marian Research Institute Summer Courses

Summer courses began on June 11.  See the course offerings for the summer academic session of The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute at: Summer Schedule.

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 Marian Events

This section lists all of the current Marian Events by geographical position.

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Mary in the Secular Press

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.

Commentary on Mary in various news articles from June 6 through June 18, 2001.

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News from Around the World

Flowers of Our Lady and Mary Gardens Slide Show

In response to numerous requests, our website "Flowers of Our Lady and Mary Gardens Introductory Slide Lecture" has now been made available for group use - formatted for computer slide show projection, with the 50 photos in larger 6" computer image size, and Narration Text formatted separately for printing out.  The Slide Show and Narration text files will be sent, on request, as e-mail message attachments.
In requesting, please specify whether they are desired for Macintosh (Clarisworks/Appleworks software version 4 or later), or Windows (Microsoft Word Power Point and Word software, versions '98 or later) computer format.

Please address your request to: "Mary's Gardens" <>
Mary's Gardens web site at URL:

"Look on the flower, think of Mary"

From Zenit

Papal Prayer at Greek-Catholic Church of St. Nicholas 

KIEV, Ukraine, JUNE 24, 2001 Here is the text of a prayer recited Saturday by John Paul II at the Greek-Catholic Church of St. Nicholas, where he stopped en route to the Apostolic Nunciature.  

* * *

O Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Zarvaniza,
I thank you for the gift of my visit to the Kyivan Rus'
from where the light of the Gospel spread through this whole region.
Here before your miraculous icon,
kept in this church of Saint Nicholas,
I entrust to you, Mother of God and Mother of the Church,
my apostolic journey to Ukraine.
Holy Mother of God,
spread your maternal mantle over all Christians
and over all people of good will
who live in this great nation.
Lead them to your Son, Jesus,
who is for everyone the way, the truth and the life.

[Original text: Ukrainian; translation by Vatican] 

Homily at Mass of Beatification at Lviv Hippodrome

New Blessed "Exhort You: Be United!"

LVIV, Ukraine, JUNE 26, 2001 ( Here is a translation of John Paul II's homily at the Mass of beatification for Archbishop Jozef Bilczewski and Father Zygmunt Gorazdowski today at the Lviv Hippodrome.

* * *

1. "Do whatever he tells you" (Jn 2:5).

The Gospel passage just proclaimed tells of Mary's first intervention in the public life of Jesus and brings to light her cooperation in the mission of her Son. During a wedding feast at Cana attended by Mary and Jesus and his disciples, the wine runs out. Showing faith in her Son and coming to the help of the embarrassed bride and groom, Mary encourages the Saviour to respond to their need and so he performs his first miracle.

"Woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come" (Jn 2:4), says Jesus in reply. But Mary is not put off by these words, and turning to the servants she says: "Do whatever he tells you" (Jn 2:5). She shows fresh confidence in her Son and sees her plea rewarded by the miracle.

The Gospel episode invites us today to contemplate Mary as "Help of Christians" in our every need. It would be instructive to retrace the history of a people that has been faithful in order to recognize the signs of the maternal protection of Mary, who is always concerned for the well-being of her children. We would be able to gather so many testimonies of Mary's interventions on behalf of individuals and communities. But the most beautiful testimonies we find in the lives of your saints.

Let our gaze rest upon two sons of this land whose devotion to the Blessed Virgin inspired them to follow a path of perfection, as today we are solemnly recognizing. They are Archbishop Józef Bilczewski and Father Zygmunt Gorazdowski, both of whom had nurtured a deep love for the Mother of the Lord. Their lives and their pastoral service were an unceasing response to her summons: "Do whatever he tells you" (Jn 2:5). Heroically obedient to the Lord's teaching, they travelled the narrow path of holiness. Both lived here in Lviv, at almost the same time. Today their names are inscribed together in the book of the Blessed.

2. In remembering them, I am happy to greet all of you here present. I greet especially Cardinal Marian Jaworski and Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, the Bishops of the Ukrainian Episcopal Conference and those of the Synod of Bishops of the Greek Catholic Ukrainian Church. I greet as well the priests, the men and women religious, the seminarians and all of you who are actively engaged in different pastoral activities. I send an affectionate greeting to the young people, the families, the sick and the entire community gathered here in spirit to welcome the spiritual message of the newly Beatified.

I am pleased that the Archdiocese of Lviv now has a second Archbishop beatified. The year 1790 saw the beatification of Jakub Strzemie, who was the leader of this Church from 1391-1409, and now another Pastor of the Archdiocese, Józef Bilczewski, is raised to the honours of the altar. Does this not testify to the continuity of the faith of this people and to the blessing of God, who sends them Pastors worthy of their calling? How can we fail to give thanks to God for this gift to the Church in Lviv?

Archbishop Józef Bilczewski invites us to be generous in living the love of God and neighbour. This was his supreme rule of life. From the early years of his priesthood he cultivated a burning passion for revealed Truth, and this led him to make theological research an original way of translating the command to love God into practical behaviour. In his priestly life, as in the various important positions he held at the Jan Casimir University in Lviv and at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, he always gave example of his great love of neighbour as well as his love of God. He was especially concerned for the poor, and developed warm and respectful relations with his colleagues and students, who invariably reciprocated with esteem and affection.

His appointment as Archbishop gave him the chance to widen and expand the range of his charity. In the especially difficult period of the First World War, Blessed Józef Bilczewski was like a living icon of the Good Shepherd, ready to encourage and support his people with inspired words full of kindness. He came to the aid of the needy, for whom he nurtured such a love that even beyond death he wanted to be with them, choosing to be laid to rest in the Janow cemetery in Lviv, where paupers were buried. A good and faithful servant of the Lord, motivated by deep spirituality and unceasing charity, he was loved and esteemed by all his fellow citizens, regardless of their religious convictions, rite or nationality.

Today his testimony shines among us as a source of encouragement and inspiration, so that our apostolic activity too, nourished by deep prayer and tender devotion to the Blessed Virgin, will be wholly dedicated to the glory of God and to the service of Holy Mother Church for the good of souls.

3. For me personally, this beatification is a special cause for rejoicing. The Blessed Archbishop Bilczewski is part of the line of my own apostolic succession. He in fact consecrated Archbishop Boleslaw Twardowski, who in turn ordained Bishop Eugeniusz Baziak, from whose hands I received episcopal ordination. Today, therefore, I too am receiving a new patron. I thank God for this marvellous gift.

There is also another detail which should not be overlooked on this occasion. Blessed Archbishop Bilczewski was consecrated by Cardinal Jan Puzyna, Bishop of Kraków. With him as co-consecrators were Blessed Józef Sebastian Pelczar, Bishop of Przemysl, and the Servant of God Andrzej Szeptycki, the Greek Catholic Archbishop. Was this not an amazing event? At that moment, the Holy Spirit brought together three great Pastors, two of whom have been beatified and the third will be with God's help. Truly this land deserved to see them together at the solemn ordination of a successor of the Apostles. It deserved to see them united. Their union remains a sign and a call for the faithful of their respective flocks, summoned by their example to build the communion which remains threatened by the memory of past experiences and by the prejudices stirred up by nationalism.

Today, in praising God for the indomitable fidelity to the Gospel of these his Servants, let us feel ourselves gently nudged to recognize the infidelities to the Gospel of not a few Christians of both Polish and Ukrainian origin living in these parts. It is time to leave behind the sorrowful past. The Christians of the two nations must walk together in the name of the one Christ, towards the one Father, guided by the same Holy Spirit, the source and principle of unity. May pardon given and received spread like a healing balm in every heart. May the purification of historical memories lead everyone to work for the triumph of what unites over what divides, in order to build together a future of mutual respect, fraternal cooperation and true solidarity. Today Archbishop Józef Bilczewski and his companions Pelczar and Szeptycki exhort you: be united!

4. During the years of Archbishop Bilczewski's episcopal ministry, Father Zygmunt Gorazdowski, a true pearl of the Latin clergy of this Archdiocese, lived in Lviv the last part of his life. His extraordinary charity led him to dedicate himself unstintingly to the poor, despite his precarious health. The figure of the young priest who, disregarding the grave risk of infection, moved among the sick people of Wojnilow and personally prepared for burial the bodies of those who had died of cholera, remained in the memory of his contemporaries as a living sign of the merciful love of the Saviour.

He had a burning passion for the Gospel, which led him into schools, into the field of publishing and various catechetical undertakings, especially on behalf of young people. His apostolic activity was bolstered by a commitment to charity which knew no pause. In the memory of the faithful of Lviv, he remains "the father of the poor" and "the priest of the homeless". His creativity and dedication in this area were almost boundless. As secretary of the "Institute of Poor Christians", he was present wherever he heard the anguished cry of the people, to which he strove to respond with many charitable institutions right here in Lviv.

Because of his total fidelity to the poor, chaste and obedient Christ, he was acknowledged when he died as "a true religious, even if he had no special vows", and he remains for everyone a privileged witness to God's mercy. For you in particular he is a witness, dear Sisters of Saint Joseph, as you seek to follow him faithfully in spreading love for Christ and for our brothers and sisters through your educational and charitable work. From Blessed Zygmunt Gorazdowski, you have learnt to nourish your apostolic activity with an intense life of prayer. It is my hope that you will be able, like him, to combine action and contemplation, strengthening your piety with an ardent devotion to the Passion of Christ, a tender love of Mary Immaculate and a very special veneration for Saint Joseph, whose faith, humility, prudence and courage Father Zygmunt strove to imitate.

5. May the example of Blessed Józef Bilczewski and Blessed Zygmunt Gorazdowski be an encouragement for you, dear priests, consecrated men and women, seminarians, catechists and theological students. You are especially in my mind at this time, and I invite you to learn the spiritual and apostolic lesson of these two Blessed Pastors of the Church. Imitate them! In various ways you offer a special service to the Gospel, and like them you must do everything possible so that, by means of your witness, people of every age, background, education and social status will experience the love of God in the depth of their hearts. This is your mission.

Let your prime commitment be to love everyone and to be available to everyone, never flagging in your faithfulness to Christ and the Church. This is certainly a path strewn with difficulties and misunderstandings, which can sometimes lead even to persecution.

The oldest among you are well aware of this. In your midst there are many who, in the second half of the last century, suffered greatly for their attachment to Christ and the Church. I wish to pay homage to all of you, dear priests and consecrated men and women who remained faithful to this People of God. And to you, who now stand with these generous servants of the Gospel seeking to carry on their mission, I say: do not be afraid! Christ does not promise an easy life, but always gives the assurance of his help.

6. Duc in altum! Cast your nets into the deep, Church of Lviv of the Latins! The Lord is with you! Do not be afraid when you face the difficulties which even today threaten your journey. With Christ you will be victorious. Bravely choose holiness: therein lies the sure foundation of true peace and lasting progress.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, I entrust you to the protection of Mary, the loving Mother of God, who for centuries you have venerated in the image which it will be my joy to crown today. I am happy to be able to bow before this image which recalls the vows of King Jan Casimir. May the "Gracious Star of Lviv" be your support and bring you the fullness of grace.

Church of Lviv of the Latins, may all the saints who have enriched your history intercede for you. May Blessed Archbishop Jakub Strzemie and Blessed Józef Bilczewski, with Father Zygmunt Gorazdowski, protect you in a special way. Go forward trusting in the name of Christ, the Redeemer of man! Amen.

[Original text: Polish; translation by Vatican]

Mary Appeared in Rwanda, Bishop Says

VATICAN CITY, JULY 1, 2001 ( The Virgin Mary's reported apparitions in Rwanda, said to have occurred from 1981 to 1983, received the first official recognition.

Bishop Augustine Misago of the Diocese of Gikongoro confirmed their authenticity, as well as the good faith of the visionaries, during a Mass celebrated in the Cathedral of Gikongoro.

The nuncio and all Rwanda's bishops attended the Mass. On Friday, the Holy See published an explanatory note written by the diocese.

Papal Address Before Recitation of Angelus
Christ´s Blood Is Proof of God´s Love, John Paul II Says

VATICAN CITY, JULY 1, 2001 ( Excerpt of John Paul II's address before praying the Angelus with pilgrims in St. Peter's Square.

* * *

On this day, my thoughts turn especially to Sri Lanka where, on the occasion of the feast of Our Lady of Madhu, the Catholic community is gathering in prayer in that famous shrine to implore for the much longed for gift of peace. The parts involved in the tragic ethnic conflict, which for almost 20 years has sown violence and terrible atrocities in that dear nation, try with difficulty to find the way of dialogue and reconciliation. A negotiated solution is the only way to address the serious questions that are at the root of this present conflict.

3. May Mary, Mother of him who has redeemed the world with his blood, bless the persevering efforts of all those in Sri Lanka and elsewhere who promote a climate of impartiality and relaxation, indispensable premises to obtain concord and peace.

Did Apparitions Aim to Prepare Rwanda for the Worst?

VATICAN CITY, JULY 3, 2001 ( - Why did the Virgin Mary appear in a Rwandan village?

This is a key question in the wake of a declaration of Bishop Augustine Misago of Gikongoro, which was published by the Vatican and which confirmed the veracity of the Kibeho visionaries in the 1980s.

Stefano De Fiores, a member of the International Pontifical Marian Academy, responded to this question in an interview with the Italian newspaper Avvenire, and underlined the common elements of the Virgin's revelations in Rwanda with those of other places.

The apparitions were a "call to prayer, conversion and fasting; but, above all, a message of reconciliation," De Fiores said.

He noted that the diocesan approval of the apparitions in Rwanda does not change Catholic theology.

"Jesus, is Revelation," De Fiores said. "To go beyond would be very dangerous. As St. Thomas said, apparitions must be understood in the realm of charisms, especially that of prophecy, offered for moral behavior and the spiritual life."

He added: "The list of truths is not enlarged, but the Church and community are given a push, to prepare for times to come that might be difficult."

Rwanda in 1994 suffered a genocide, in which government-orchestrated massacres left more than 500,000 people dead, most of them Tutsis or politically moderate Hutus.

Medjugorje: 20 Years Later, the Questions Linger
Church Has Not Ruled on Reported Apparitions

ROME, JULY 3, 2001 ( - June 24 marked the 20th anniversary of the first reports of Marian apparitions in Medjugorje, the little village in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

On that day in 1981, six children of Medjugorje, a hamlet of a few houses located 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Mostar, said they had seen the Blessed Virgin on a nearby hill.

Since then, the hamlet has become part of the world circuit of pilgrimages, drawing at least 15 million people. Prayer meetings and associations of all kinds have started worldwide.

Still, the Holy See and the bishop of Mostar have questions about Medjugorje.

Two elements in particular have made ecclesial approval of the apparitions difficult: the conduct of the Franciscans who directed the visionaries' parish in Medjugorje, and the quantity and character of the messages attributed to Mary.

For now, neither the diocese nor the Holy See have approved or disqualified the apparitions.

In September 1998, Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote a letter in response to a question from a French bishop.

"We specify that, in regard to the credibility of the alleged apparitions, this dicastery adheres to what was already established by the bishops of former Yugoslavia in the Zara Declaration of April 10, 1991," the letter stated.

On that occasion, the Yugoslavian bishops said: "In virtue of the investigations conducted to date, it is not possible to affirm that these are supernatural apparitions or revelations."

The Vatican aide's letter acknowledged that the investigations do not rule out the apparition reports. So, for now, the apparitions are a matter of personal opinion.

Archbishop Bertone confirmed the prohibition to organize official pilgrimages, but explained that "private" pilgrimages are allowed, with the stipulation that they not be regarded as authentication of the events, "which still require an examination by the Church." He suggested that Bosnian bishops study the matter further.

Yes, the Virgin Mary Did Appear in Kibeho"
Official Declaration Says Vision Foresaw Genocide in Rwanda

VATICAN CITY, JULY 2, 2001 ( - Bishop Augustine Misago of Rwanda is a believer.

"Yes, the Virgin Mary did appear in Kibeho on Nov. 28, 1981, and in the course of the following six months," the bishop said. "There are more reasons to believe this than to deny it."

With the above statement, Bishop Misago of Gikongoro declared credible the affirmations of three Rwandan young women, who claim to have seen the Virgin. The statement appears in the "Declaration on the Definitive Judgment on the Apparitions of Kibeho," published Friday by the Vatican.

Bishop Misago also made a solemn declaration during a concelebrated Mass with all Rwandan bishops and the apostolic nuncio in Kigali.

He could not confirm the veracity of all the people who reported apparitions, however.

The bishop proclaimed solemnly that Our Lady appeared only to Alphonsine Mumureke, Nathalie Mukamazimpaka and Marie Claire Mukangango. At the time, the three were 17, 20 and 21 years old, respectively, and, according to the declaration, "corresponded satisfactorily to all the criteria established by the Church in the matter of private apparitions and revelations."

The document goes on to state that, on "the contrary, the evolution of the alleged subsequent visionaries, especially after the apparitions were over, reflects disquieting personal situations, which have reinforced the existing reservations in regard to them."

Moreover, the document does not consider the alleged visions of Jesus, reported from 1982.

Instead, devotion to the Virgin's apparitions in Rwanda is encouraged, as it was authorized in 1982 by Bishop Jean Baptiste Gahamanyi, with the dedication of the Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows in Kibeho.

One of the events that influenced the declaration was the anticipated vision of the Rwanda genocide that occurred 13 years later.

The young women said they saw: "A river of blood, people who killed one another, abandoned bodies with no one to bury them, a tree on fire, an open chasm, a monster and decapitated heads."

This awful vision was the only one of its kind. In the rest of the apparitions, Our Lady, who had dark skin, encouraged the young women to pray, fast, and do penance. In some cases, they were seen to dance before the Virgin.

In the first apparition, which took place at 12:35 p.m. on Nov. 28, 1981, in the dining room of the school in Kibeho, directed by a local congregation, Alphonsine Mumureke heard a voice calling her: "My daughter."

Mumureke went to the corridor and saw a very beautiful woman: "She had a seamless white dress and also a white veil on her head. Her hands were clasped together on her breast, and her fingers pointed to the sky."

Mumureke asked her: "Who are you?" The reply was: "Ndi Nyina Wa Jambo," that is, "I am the Mother of the Word." She continued: "I have come to calm you because I have heard your prayers. I would like your friends to have faith, because they do not believe strongly enough."

In January 1982, Nathalie Mukamazimpaka saw the Virgin; these apparitions continued through Dec. 3, 1983.

On March 2, 1982, it was Marie Claire Mukangango's turn. The apparitions lasted six months in her case, until Sept. 15, 1982.

Mumureke's last apparition was on Nov. 28, 1989, exactly seven years after the first.

Meanwhile, in 1982 the bishop appointed a medical commission, and later a theological one, to investigate the reports.

With the passing months, the number of reported visionaries rose to seven. Three other young women and a boy said they received apparitions of Jesus; none of these apparitions have been recognized.

From the beginning in Kibeho, in southern Rwanda, there were conversions, prayer meetings, pilgrimages, healings and abnormal phenomena during those public apparitions.

The ethnic war in the mid-1990s seems to many to have been the realization of the prophecy.

Commenting in the mid-1980s on events in Kibeho, well-known French Mariologist, Father René Laurentin, said that "they are a joyful sign for Africa, for its Church, for Africanization, in the positive sense of the term."

During his 1990 visit to Rwanda, John Paul II exhorted the faithful to turn to the Virgin as a simple and sure guide, and pray for greater commitment against local divisions, both political and ethnic.

From L’Osservatore Romano June 6 & 13

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New Resources

We've added the answer to a new question submitted by a reader. 

A new section on Argentinian stamps with images of Mary has been added to our Resources section.  Expect more from other countries to follow.

We have added material on Guido Dettoni della Grazia and his Maria exhibit to the Artists in our Gallery section.  Also our Prayer section on now includes a Litany to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and a list of Spanish Features has been added to our Resources.

We've posted memorials to three long-time faculty members who died recently:

Fr. Frederick M. Jelly, O.P.

Fr. Walter M. Brennan, O.S.M.

Fr. Théodore Koehler, S.M.

The graphic at the top left of our home page now randomly displays flowers named after the Virgin Mary.  Click on the flower to enlarge the image and display information about it. 

We have also updated our Search engine.  Feel free to inform us on how you think it compares to the previous version.

We have also revised the navigation index at the far left of each page.  Let us know what you think.

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Documents, Pronouncements (Magisterial, doctrinal)

This section contains full-text official documents from the Catholic Church on matters related to the Virgin Mary and other points of Catholic Doctrine. This week's item is Signum Magnum [The Great Sign] – Apostolic Exhortation On Venerating and Imitating the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church and Model of All Virtues, Pope Paul VI, 13 May 1967 [Visit to Fatima: Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary]  

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Marian Themes in Magisterial Documents

This section contains an index to Marian references within various official documents from the Catholic Church. This week's topic is Marian Devotion: Various Forms of Marian Piety.  Various documents that include devotion to the heart of Mary [mainly excerpts]:

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News Archive

This section contains excerpts from past editions of the Mary Page news.

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Our Mary Page web site is updated frequently. Please stop in again and see what's new. 



Prayer Corner Requests

You are invited to help us pray for our Prayer Corner intentions.  Please take a look!  This site has been updated and enhanced and now allows users to directly submit prayer requests or to volunteer as a prayer partner for these intentions!

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