Mary Page News

December 9, 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

New Art Exhibit

Over eighty Nativity sets from The Marian Library collection will be exhibited this season: Three Exhibits - Three locations

The Marian Library Gallery St. John /
Dayton Art Institute
UD Roesch Library bldg
300 College Park
4400 Shakertown Rd
456 Belmonte Park N.
Nov. 28 thru 2002
Mon. - Fri.,
8:30 a.m - 4:30 p.m.
Nov. 28 thru Jan. 13,
2002 Wed., Sat., Sun.,
12 noon - 4 p.m.
Dec. 17 - Jan. 15, 2002
Mon., Tues., Fri., Sat., Sun.,
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.,
Wed. 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Telephone 229-4214 or 229-1431 for information.

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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.  

We also encourage our readers to submit their opinions on various styles of Marian Art through an on-line art survey.

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News from Around the World

Giant Arch Would Honor Mary’s Immaculate Heart

By TIM DRAKE, Register Features Correspondent

[Reprinted from National Catholic Register, Dec. 2, 2001]

Buffalo, N.Y. – On a clear day, Buffalo attorney Laurence Behr has a fine view from his downtown law office of Buffalo’s City Hall.

He can picture the image above its main entrance, a bas-relief sculptural frieze whose central figure is a powerful queen upon a throne – her finger in a large book, her foot crushing the head of a serpent. The image, modeled after Michelangelo's painting of the Prophet Isaiah, reflects Buffalo’s nickname "Queen City of the Great Lakes," earned by its early dominance in the Midwest flour trade. For Behr, however, the image can also represent the Mother of God.

Last June 23, the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Behr, president of Western New York Lawyers for Life, announced the creation of a non-profit association formed to build a $100 million pro-life shrine and towering gold arch dedicated to Mary, the Mother of Christ, adjacent to downtown Buffalo on the Lake Erie shoreline.

The project, featuring a 700-foot-tall ascendable arch topped by a golden cross, overshadowing a shrine, would be known as "The Arch of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the International Shrine of the Holy Innocents." When the organization’s plans succeed, the Arch will replace the St. Louis Gateway Arch as the world’s tallest monument.

Franciscan Father James Goode, president of the National Black Catholic Apostolate for Life, is an Arch of Triumph advisory board member.

"The purpose of the Arch of Triumph and the Shrine of the Holy Innocents is to tell our story of God’s love," he said. "We want to tell the world about our devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and her Son Jesus Christ. We wish to tell the world by deed and example that we affirm that all human life is a unique gift from God."

The project has already won support from many national Catholic pro-life leaders, including Fr. Thomas Euteneuer, Fr. Matthew Habiger OSB, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, and Fr. Robert Fox.

"We need to stir the attention of the public to pro-life issues whether they want to hear about them or not," commented Fr. Frank Pavone, co-founder of Priests for Life, adding, "A sign as public and visible as the proposed arch and shrine will certainly serve this purpose."

The project has even drawn support from unlikely places. Buffalo evangelical writer, Rick Kern, noted that while many local Protestants have difficulty with the project’s "glorification of Mary," he described it as "rich with meaning and symbolism" and asserted that it "cannot help but capture the imagination of anyone who takes a second look at it."

"[A] memorial to victims of abortion runs counter across pro-choice philosophy like nails across a chalkboard," Kern wrote in the July 29 issue of The Word. "Memorials by nature exist for people as opposed to formless blobs of fetal tissue. Consequently, this memorial in a way revives the status of abortion as a moral crime against humanity."

A Golden Dream

The idea for the arch came to Behr in an extraordinary dream he had after reading an article in September 2000 about the pastoral significance of Marian shrines. He dreamt he was on a bridge overlooking a valley. To his left sat a group of unsightly and dilapidated buildings; on his right, sat a stone church in a beautiful green setting with a golden statue of Our Lady set in a niche in its front. Approaching the church he met a woman who said to him, "This is the shrine of the Golden Arch of St. Mary." He saw a golden statuary grouping of the Holy Family, and awoke asking himself, "why a golden arch for St. Mary?"

Thinking of Mary’s titles, Gate of Heaven and House of Gold, Behr decided that a golden monumental arch would be an appropriate tribute to Mary. Later, he recognized that such a structure would necessarily be a triumphal arch honoring the triumph of Mary’s Immaculate Heart predicted during her appearance at Fatima on July 13, 1917.

Why Buffalo?

It’s a mystery," explains Behr, asked why such a shrine would be built in Buffalo, "but I am here and I cannot run a project anywhere else." He added, "One could as well ask, why Buffalo for the National Shrine of Our Lady of Victory?" referring to the beautiful Basilica built by Buffalo native Venerable Father Nelson Baker, in the Buffalo suburb of Lackawanna.

The question "Why Buffalo?" has been addressed before – in the life of Father Baker. After assisting at mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Victory in Paris in 1874, Father Baker began a lifelong devotion to Our Lady under that title. Later, back in Buffalo, he dedicated himself to the care of orphans, showing a zeal for unwanted babies that, many feel, makes him a pioneer of the pro-Life movement. Finally, in 1921 at age 80, he asked his Association of Our Lady of Victory members to consider contributing $10 to "buy a block of marble for Our Lady." Donors responded, and the Lackawanna Basilica was erected in just a few years.

Supporters of the Triumph Arch understandably draw inspiration from Venerable Nelson Baker’s story. The association asks donors to consider contributing $100, entitling their names to be engraved on the Arch of Triumph. Behr notes that such an amount is equivalent to Fr. Baker's $10 request in 1921. Behr also points out that there are practical reasons why the arch should be built in Buffalo, including its location only 20 miles south of Niagara Falls, itself a world-famous attraction. Supporters believe that the arch will draw at least as many visitors annually as the Gateway Arch, with 4 million visitors per year. The shrine would also be within a day’s drive of 60% of the population of the U.S. and Canada.

Behr would seem justified in calling it "a global signal call to repentance and conversion." The Project has been receiving donations from states all around the country, and already has won the support of Catholics in other countries as well, including Jordan, Australia and Russia. Donations are being received on the Web site,, and information is offered by calling toll-free, 1-866-205-6512.

The Association’s immediate goal is to raise $3 to $5 million to acquire the proposed site, an available private waterfront parcel that Behr believes matches the scene of his dream. In addition, the Association is seeking now to recruit capable Regional Directors and to establish local chapters, to oversee fundraising in as many cities, counties and towns around the world as they are able. To date, Regional Directors have signed on in San Francisco and Edmonton, Alberta.

Behr is firmly convinced that God intends to use Our Lady to bring about the end of abortion and the renewal of society, as well as the return of our separated brethren to the fold of the one, true Church. He sees as primarily responsible for the slaughter of the unborn, the severing of Christ's Mystical Body the Church, allowing leeway to the "serpent" of Revelations 12 in his "war on the rest of her offspring" (v. 17), a reference to all faithful Christians as Mary's true children.

Not All Applaud

Not all of the local reaction to the proposed arch has been positive. Following Behr’s announcement, the Buffalo News ran both pro and con letters for weeks. "Behr and his ilk are not only interested in advocating against abortion," wrote Norm Allen Jr., assistant director for the Council for Secular Humanists in Amherst. "They are also trying to promote anti-atheist propaganda."

Others, such as Lynda Suchman and Diane London, suggested that the money would be better used to create jobs or to educate people.

Behr argues, however, that those willing to donate to the arch will continue donating to other charitable causes. In addition, he says, "When the Shrine is operational and, we hope, generating excess revenues, money will come from it to the needy in our community and other worthy Catholic causes, as promised in our Prospectus. It is reported that the St. Louis Gateway Arch brought an estimated 2.32 billion dollars into that region in 1999 alone."

"The reaction of the local Catholic and Christian faithful has been tremendous," said Behr. Behr mentions that the Bishop has expressed appreciation for his pro-life work and looks forward to hearing more definite plans about the project. Behr believes that the project could be completed in as few as four years. "The Arch of Triumph and Holy Innocents Shrine will be built quickly once the faithful people of this country are awakened to the greatness of this project, and form a common will to support it," he said.

Project advisor Father Robert Fox agreed: "Pope John Paul II once said that Shrines today are doing for people what monasteries of earlier centuries accomplished for the good of souls."

For more information on the Arch of Triumph or to make a donation visit: or call toll free 1.866.205.6512. To donate by mail, send checks payable to Arch of Triumph of the IHM to P.O. Box 3396, Buffalo NY 14240. All contributions are fully tax-deductible.

Tim Drake is the executive editor of


Advent Is Time of Awaiting a God Who Loves Us, Pope Says
Preparatory Period for Christmas Begins

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 2, 2001 (

On the first day of Advent, John Paul II reminded Christians that preparation for Christmas is "not the vain awaiting of a faceless god" but "concrete trust" in a God who loves us.

John Paul II concluded by reminding the faithful that the Marian feast of the Immaculate Conception will be celebrated next Saturday. "I entrust this invocation of peace to Mary, vigilant Virgin and Mother of hope. With renewed faith, in a few days we will celebrate the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. May she guide us on this way, helping every man and nation to look toward the "mountain of the Lord," image of the final triumph of Christ and the advent of his Kingdom of peace."

Iranian Film on Jesus Among Festival’s Fare

ROME, NOV. 30, 2001 (

An Iranian film on Jesus will be one of the highlights of the fifth "Third Millennium" Spiritual Film Festival. The festival, an opportunity for dialogue among cultures, is organized by the Rivista del Cinematografo and the Italian Catholic Entertainment Association. The Iranian film, "Son of Maryam," is directed by Muslim Hamid Jabelli, and produced by Fereshteh Taerpour. The festival will open with an international congress, organized by the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, in the University of St. Thomas Aquinas. The councils' respective presidents, Cardinal Paul Poupard and Archbishop John P. Foley, will take turns presiding over the two-day congress, Dec. 3-4. Andrea Piersanti, the festival's director, said the purpose of the initiative is to seek "the voice of the Spirit in contemporary film productions." Awards will be presented to professionals in entertainment, culture and communication who are outstanding in promoting fundamental values. Among the films chosen for the festival are Nanni Moretti's "La Stanza del Figlio" (chosen by Italy as a candidate for an Oscar) and Stephen Daldry's "Billy Elliot."

The Place Where Christmas Began Won’t Celebrate It

Bethlehem Will Have Only Religious Ceremonies

JERUSALEM, DEC. 3, 2001 (

The municipality of Bethlehem has canceled Christmas celebrations because of the violence in the Palestinian Territories.

Mayor Hanna Naser made the announcement before the latest round of Mideast violence over the weekend.

The mayor said the measure is highly political and blamed Israel for the cancellation of celebrations, given its operations against the Palestinian people.

The municipality of Jesus' birthplace has taken this measure for the second consecutive year. Only religious ceremonies will take place. Midnight Mass will be retransmitted on television throughout the world.

Naser explained that at present "there is nothing to celebrate."

As happens every year, Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah of Jerusalem, a Palestinian native of Nazareth, will go to celebrate midnight Mass in the Franciscan Church of St. Catherine, next to the Square of the Manger.

Bethlehem, about 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) south of Jerusalem, has become a focus of hostilities since the Palestinian uprising began in September 2000.

Sister Lucia Writes Book on Fatima Revelations

To Deepen Understanding of Spiritual Importance of Mary´s Words

MADRID, Spain, DEC. 5, 2001 (

Sister Lucia, the only surviving Fatima visionary, has just published a book to respond to numerous questions and concerns about the Blessed Virgin Mary's secret. The 354-page book, entitled "Appeals of the Fatima Message," was published in Portuguese and Spanish by Planeta+Testimonio. An English edition is planned.

Bishop Serafim de Sousa Ferreira e Silva of Leiria-Fatima explained that this "volume is the result of an initiative of Sister Lucia herself who, faced with the deluge of letters sent by thousands of faithful, who seek answers to their questions about the mysteries of Fatima, felt the need to ask the Holy Father's permission to respond, in a general but understanding manner, to the questions of Fatima devotees."

The main intention is not just to satisfy the faithful's curiosity, but "to deepen the understanding of the spiritual importance of the Virgin Mary's words," said Father Jesús Castellano Cervera, who attended the presentation and is a consulter of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. "Appeals" is structured around the following concept expressed by the Virgin Mary to the little shepherds on Oct. 13, 1917: "Do not offend Our Lord God any more, who is already very offended." In the first part, Sister Lucia explains the circumstances in which the apparitions took place: the little shepherds' family background, their simple and Christian lives, and the providential role of the angels who appeared to them. In the second part, Sister Lucia talks about the call to holiness, which is addressed to every Christian. The third part of the book is dedicated to the moral message of Fatima. Sister Lucia casts light on the Ten Commandments from her own experience as well as from the Virgin's revelations. Part 4 is dedicated to prayer, especially the rosary.

Lucia of Jesus was born March 22, 1907, in Aljustrel, a little village of the Fatima parish in Portugal. Following the Virgin's apparitions between 1915-1917, she entered a religious community. In March 1948 she joined the Carmel of St. Teresa of Coimbra, where she still lives today.

From L’Osservatore Romano November 14 - 28

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Marian Events  

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

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New Resources

Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M. wrote a meditation on Mary as Model of Advent has been added to our Meditations Index.  

Also, A Guide to Nativity Displays in the United States and Around the World was added to Creches International in our Gallery section.

We've added answers to new questions submitted by readers.

A section on international stamps with images of Mary has been added to our Resources index.  The latest added was Dominican Republic.  Expect more countries to follow.

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.

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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.

Not posted this week.  Expect an update to this section next week.

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

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