The Resolution, introduced by Councilman-at-Large Charley Fisher, proclaims
"that the good of society depends in part upon the vitality of its
religious institutions," and observes that the Association, founded by
"leaders of Buffalo’s professional and lay Catholic community, has
proposed to construct a monumental shrine in keeping with the tenets of the
Catholic faith, which is the religious heritage of the majority of the residents
Addressing the Pro-Life aspect of the immense shrine project, which drew fire
from local individuals when first announced in the summer of 2001, the Common
Council stated, "the proposed shrine would also encourage increased respect
for human life, including prior to the birth of the individual, a value much
needed in the present day notwithstanding that there are differing opinions on
the issue of ‘pro-life’ versus ‘pro-choice.’"
1916 Religious Epic Film Is Resurrected
"Christus" Had a Cast of Thousands -- and Latin Subtitles
ROME, MARCH 26, 2002 (Zenit.org)
A copy of "Christus," considered to be the first important
religious film production, has been rediscovered and restored by parallel
Giulio Cesare Antamoro, its Roman author with a hobby for making films, had
accomplished a true feat in the era of silent movies: He spent three years
filming in Palestine and Egypt, with thousands of extras. Three Roman
aristocrats went into debt to finance the 1916 production.
The solid, highly cultured two-hour film even had some subtitles in Latin and
quotations from Dante. The scenes were inspired in the great masterpieces of
Italian painting, such as Blessed Angelico's Annunciation.
Until recently, Antamoro's "Christus" was thought to be lost.
However, the Italian newspaper Avvenire
revealed Sunday that two cinematographic-research teams have restored two copies
that can now be viewed.
Film historians say the original film "Christus" was last shown in
1928. It was projected on the wall of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, and
watched by kneeling spectators.
Then, all traces of the movie were lost. Two years ago, the Italian producer
Titanus, whose director general Goffredo Lombardo is the son of the producer of
the original film and of the actress in the masterpiece, succeeded in
reconstructing it. He spliced several sections of copies dispersed in film
museums around the world. That enormous restoration effort was presented,
digitalized, in Venice.
Now, from various film archives around Italy, emerges an unpublished and
uncensored rendition of "Christus." It is the version adapted for the
popular Spanish market by the well-known Parisian production firm Pathé Frères.
In fact, it is a synthesis of the original.
Attilio Mina, professor of cinema at the Art Institute of Giussano, found the
film and was able to restore it with the help of his students, who with a
computer revised every frame of the archive material that they had previously
They reconstructed the frames in a digital video, which was presented on
Monday. "The rediscovered copy has only 37 minutes of Antamoro's film,
because the film editor, with a decidedly modern inclination, eliminated
scenes," Mina explained.
The work "is considered to be the most complete of all religious
films," movie historian Lionello Ghirardini writes.
The cast was of the highest order: Leda Gys, one of the best actresses of
silent films, is the Virgin; Alberto Pasquali plays Christ, full of feeling;
Aurelia Cattaneo plays Mary Magdalene. For the impressive crowd scenes, the
troops of the English protectorate in Palestine were used.
Some scenes are masterful even today, such as the one of the temptation of
the devil, who seems to emerge from the desert rocks.
The Last Supper is one of the first scenes in history filmed with electric
light. The crucifixion had to be repeated in the Piedmont region of northwest
Italy because the original film became irremediably moldy during the return trip
The first cinematographic passion of Christ was made in 1896. It is a brief
film recorded by someone named Kirchner, known as Lear, for the French Catholic
publishers "La Bonne Presse."
A more complete Passion -- 10 minutes long -- was recorded in Bohemia in 1897
by an assistant of the Lumiere, using peasants and painted scenes.
VATICAN CITY, MARCH 31, 2002 (Zenit.org)
On Saturday night, John Paul II presided over and celebrated the Mass at the
"mother of all vigils" of the liturgical year, during which he
baptized nine people.
This is a night "truly blessed," John Paul II said during the
homily, "when heaven is wedded to earth, and man is reconciled to
The Pope recalled that it was also Mary's night: "This is the night of
nights, the night of faith and of hope. While all is shrouded in darkness, God
-- the Light -- keeps watch. With him there keep watch all who hope and trust in
O Mary, this is truly your night! As the last lights of the Sabbath are
extinguished, and the fruit of your womb rests in the earth, your heart too
keeps watch! Your faith and your hope look ahead. Behind the heavy stone, they
already detect the empty tomb; behind the thick veil of darkness, they glimpse
the dawn of the Resurrection.
Grant, O Mother, that we too may keep watch in the silence of the night,
believing and hoping in the Lord’s word. Thus shall we meet, in the fullness
of light and life, Christ, the first fruits of the risen, who reigns with the
Father and the Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Alleluia!"
From L’Osservatore Romano
Not posted this week. Expect an update to this section
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Mary in the Secular
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.
in the secular press March 15 through April 5, 2002
Gaudi, best known for designing the extravagant Church of the Holy Family in
Barcelona, could become the first architect to be made a saint, the London Times
wrote on April 5. Backers of the case said that church authorities would use the
150th anniversary of Gaudi's birth in June to begin proceedings that would lead
first to his beatification and then to his canonisation. Oggi, the Italian
magazine, said that although some of Gaudi's buildings were secular, such as the
Casa Mila and the Casa Batllo, he had been a religious man who devoted most of
his life to his visionary unfinished church, the Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada
Familia, which he began in the 1880s. He had also dedicated the Casa Mila to the
Virgin Mary. Vatican
officials said that they had been approached by Cardinal Ricardo Maria Carles,
the Archbishop of Barcelona, and that initial reactions had been favourable.
Church of the Nativity, believed to be the birthplace of Christ and epicentre of
the present gunbattle between Israelis and Palestinians, is no stranger to
conflict, the London Times said on April 4. It has survived repeated conquest
and was once blamed for provoking the dispute between Europe's great powers that
resulted in the Crimean War. The simple stone basilica, which looks out over the
Judean desert a few miles south of Jerusalem, was first recognised as the place
where the Virgin Mary
gave birth to Jesus by the Emperor Constantine, who erected a church on the site
in the 4th century. Unlike the common Christmas story of Christ's birth in a
stable, the actual site is a dark grotto beneath the church floor the size of a
hours before dawn on Easter Sunday, the people of La Antigua, Guatemala, create
intricately designed alfombras, street carpets of breathtaking beauty, to mark
the day's religious celebration. Composed of flower petals, pine needles and
colored sawdust, the brilliantly hued alfombras cover the cobblestones with
religious emblems like wine goblets and national symbols such as the resplendent
quetzal, the country's national bird. Though it takes up to 20 hours to craft
these magnificent works of art, alfombras aren't built to last: Hours, and
sometimes mere minutes, after they're completed, they're trampled by Semana
Santa (Holy Week) processions commemorating the Crucifixion and recalling the
Stations of the Cross. The processions, which culminate on Easter, feature
townspeople carrying heavy wooden floats with life-size statues of Jesus or the Virgin
processions, including one the Saturday before Easter, feature women bearing
floats with the Virgin Mary. From The Atlanta Journal and Constitution March
prepares you for the magnificence of Seville's Holy Week celebrations, which
reached their climax before dawn Friday with hundreds of thousands of
enthusiasts jamming the streets, The Independent (London) said on March 30. The passion with which Sevillans follow vast
floats bearing life-sized figures of the Virgin
Mary or Christ is difficult for outsiders to understand.
Sceptics see the week-long celebrations as an outmoded ritual sustained by
fanatics, a perception strengthened by ranks of hooded penitents parading with
pointed hats and huge candles tilted from the hip. Even those who love Semana
Santa (Holy Week) admit that tradition bears so heavily upon Seville that change
or progress seems impossible, something the organisers of the EU summit to be
held here in June might bear in mind. The most adored Virgins - the Macarena and
the Trianera, laden with jewels, flowers and gilded vestments - made their long
journeys through Thursday night and well into Friday. Costaleros, guided by the
foreman or capataz, create the dramatic effect of making the pasos (floats)
dance: when drums roll and trumpets wail, the costaleros shuffle the paso from
side to side, and the Virgin shimmies voluptuously down the street. Francisco, a
lawyer, was on Wednesday a costalero - one of the invisible heroes crouched
beneath the heavy paso to bear it through the streets. He shows the swollen red
sore across his neck. "It's another world under there. You are aware only
of the ground, the feet in front and the drum's beat. I feel as though I'm
holding up God. I put my heart into what I'm doing," he said.
to love Schoemperlen’s novel, Our Lady of the Lost and Found, about a
middle-aged writer living a quiet life in an undisclosed city who is visited by
the Virgin Mary, the Los Angeles Times
reviewer on March 30 instead finds that what Mary--one of the
best known and most beloved women in history--has to say about Jesus and Joseph,
unanswered prayers and miracles, angels and the devil, heaven and hell, asking
her son to turn water into wine and watching him die on a cross, is never known.
The narrator doesn’t ask the questions while Mary and the novelist together
make meals, walk the neighborhood, shop at the mall and watch the evening news.
Still, the book has its charms, the reviewer said. Mary, a person most of us
know only from statues, paintings and the few Gospel verses in which she is
mentioned, walks into our world, carrying with her a pair of running shoes and a
good sense of humor. The book also provides a healthy dose of Marian history,
concentrating mostly on the apparitions in the last 2,000 years. But Mary
doesn't give us many insider details about her visits, sticking mostly with
straightforward accounts that can be found in Catholic bookstores. The narrator
fills in the holes with research she did after Mary left. In the end, we learn
much more about the writer--and her struggle toward a life of faith--than about
the Virgin Mary. Which is a problem when you have mysterious and glorious Mary
as a prominent character in your book, the reviewer concludes.
of worshippers come to the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City each day to pay
tribute to the Virgin Mary
and her humble messenger, the Indian shepherd and would-be saint known as Juan
Diego. That much is certain. Less clear are the details about Juan Diego's life
-- or whether he existed at all -- and whether plans to canonize him stem from
his saintly acts or from the church's desire to recognize a crowd-pleasing
symbol in a country of nearly 100 million Catholics, The San Diego Union-Tribune
wrote on March 15. For
those who believe that Juan Diego saw the virgin in the hills above Mexico City
nearly 500 years ago, little proof is necessary. The Vatican, too, is satisfied:
John Paul II has approved Juan Diego's beatification and is expected to make him
a saint at a canonization ceremony here this summer. But a handful of doubters
-- including the former abbot, or head, of the basilica -- say the evidence is
so flimsy and the record so unreliable that the Vatican is in danger of
canonizing a popular legend, not a real person. "If they said they were
going to prove it, they should prove it," said the Rev. Manuel Olimon, a
professor of religion at the Pontifical University of Mexico, a Catholic college
for advanced religious studies, and one of a handful of priests who have
protested Diego's canonization. "Frankly, I don't think they can." The
danger, says Olimon, is that the Vatican will have to de-canonize Juan Diego as
it did Saint George, the legendary dragon slayer whose biography didn't stand
the test of time.
Check slowly maneuvered her walker up to the large painted image of Jesus. Hands
trembling slightly, the 87-year-old resident of Sacred Heart Assisted Living
Center in Northampton reached out and laid her right palm on the image's heart.
As tears welled up in her eyes, she moved over to reverently touch the second
picture, that of a pregnant Virgin Mary.
More than 50 center residents, some clutching rosaries and others pressing
religious medals to the images, turned out March 28 to venerate the two
4-by-6-foot Catholic icons that are said to miraculously cry and exude perfume.
It is the first time in 10 years the images of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Jesus,
King of All Nations, have visited the Lehigh Valley. Jeanne Schray, a
parishioner at Sts. Simon and Jude Church in Bethlehem, said she and five
friends who pray together heard about the images that travel all over the world
to spread the word of God. They sent a petition to the bishops of Mexico last
year asking that the holy images come to the Lehigh Valley. She recently learned
that the region would get both images during the church's holiest week. The
image of Our Lady of Guadalupe shows Mary as a young pregnant woman, dressed in
Aztec clothing, and is a photographic replica of the original image said to have
appeared on an Aztec prince's cloak in Mexico in 1531. The second image is of
Jesus, King of All Nations, which combines rays of mercy pouring from Jesus'
hands, the sacred heart burning in his chest and an atomic scepter. It was
created by an artist after two women in Virginia said they saw a vision of
Jesus. "Many miracles have been attached to these images," Schray
said. Miracles described include tears of water, oil and blood appearing on Our
Lady of Guadalupe and a perfume that exudes from the heart and wounds of Jesus.
From The Morning Call (Allentown) April
Israeli tank shell slammed into a church in the West Bank city of Jesus' birth
early yesterday, and shrapnel sliced off the hands and nose of a statue of the Virgin
New York Post said on March 15.The Israeli army expressed
regret for the incident and promised disciplinary action would be taken. Israeli
forces began moving into central Bethlehem at around 1 a.m. local time and tanks
took up positions some 300 yards from the Church of the Nativity, built on the
site Christians revere as the birthplace of Christ. Witnesses said shrapnel from
the impact damaged a statue of the Virgin Mary, but the sculpture, with arms
outstretched, remained standing.
simple prayer: "Mary, queen of actors, pray for us." Each Christmas
season, Mary Margaret Dowd offered up this unadorned appeal before taking the
stage in Richmond's annual Nativity production. From 1946 until she left the
role in 1961, Miss Dowd portrayed the Virgin
Mary before scores of area residents. It was a role she took as
seriously as the whispered prayer to the woman she portrayed. "The first
time I took the part, I was very much afraid - partly because of awe and partly
because of the great responsibility I felt toward our huge audience," Miss
Dowd told The Times-Dispatch in 1958. As the Ave Maria was sung during the
Annunciation scene, Dowd said, tears would roll down her cheeks. Miss Dowd, of
Richmond, a longtime staple of the Richmond community theater and a devout
Catholic, died March 23. She was 87. Her career in the local public eye spanned
decades. But her greatest love was mingling her devotion to the church with her
love of drama. She was a co-founder of the Catholic Theater Guild of Richmond.
For three years, she wrote and directed the Richmond Passion Play at what was
then the Mosque. She also played Mary Magdalene in the production. Her devotion
did not go unnoticed. In 1954, Pope Pius XII awarded Miss Dowd the Golden Bene
Merenti Medal. The award's name literally means "well done."
From The Richmond Times-Dispatch March
1961, archaeologists unearthed the remains of an ancient Neolithic city known as
Catal Huyuk on the Anatolian plain in central Turkey. Excavations uncovered
evidence of elaborate shrines adorned with wild bull horns, skulls and statues
of a mother goddess. Thousands of years after the demise of Catal Huyuk, an
artist in medieval Italy named Simone Martini bested his mentors with a
large-scale panel painting depicting one of the most sacred scenes in Christian
art: the moment, known as the “Annunciation," in which the Angel Gabriel
announces the Incarnation of Christ to the Virgin
Mary. Martini's altarpiece, bordered by an elaborate gilt frame,
has served as a focal point for devotion and worship ever since. Now 12
contemporary artists continue this spiritual tradition, creating
small-but-powerful shrines, altars and other objects that express belief
systems, personal symbology and life experiences. Scheduled to coincide with
National Women's History month, an exhibit of their works is currently on view
at Inner Visions Community Art Studio and Gallery. Zoe Von Averkamp, one of the
exhibiting artists, evokes the color and verve of Mexican folk art in her
whimsical assemblages, several of which include images of saints and statuettes
of the Madonna. "Chair Altar for Our Lady of the Americas"
incorporates a small chair, bottle caps, rickrack, iridescent paint, twisted
wire, cherubic figures and iconic pictures in a festive tribute to the work's
namesake. Assemblage shrines by Margaret Murphy Reed also feature the Madonna
"as a metaphor for the earth mother." She parlays the potency of this
symbol into keen expressions of "joy, sorrow and human concern." Her
shrines are often housed in makeshift shadow boxes, making them freestanding and
portable loci for invocations, prayers or thoughtful meditation. Other works in
the exhibit depict a variety of spiritual outlooks and artistic approaches. From
Japanese to Hindu, to Judeo-Christian to modern eclectic, each piece resonates
with experimental yet attentive craftsmanship and heartfelt meaning. From the
Sarasota Herald-Tribune March
scurrilous thief made off with a 2-foot tall statue of the Virgin
Mary from the front yard garden of a Salinas family. The theft
occurred March 21 when the Virgin Mary
was ripped from her cement base in the garden of Cruzita Dobyns. Dobyns made the
statue herself 10 years ago and prayed to it every day for good fortune. "I
couldn't imagine why someone would steal the mother of God," she said. It
may not qualify as a trend, but it's the second Virgin Mary statue to be stolen
from the same neighborhood this year. Dobyns may want to consider a quick
replacement for the statue she says has brought her luck and safety. Three
times, Dobyns said, cars have missed a stop sign in front of her home and come
to a dead stop, crashing into a small tree in her front yard and sparing her
house and her family. From The Associated Press March
least 24 people died and 19 others injured when a bus carrying worshippers
plunged off a highway and fell into a river in the western Mexican state of
Jalisco, the local Red Cross said March 18. The bus came from the nearby town of
Tequila towards Talpa de Allende, about 270 kilometers from Guadalajara, capital
of Jalisco, where the pilgrims paid a visit to the shrine of the Virgin Mary. They had just begun their return when a car
cut in front of the bus, forcing it off the road and into the river. From the
Xinhua News Agency March 19.