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National Medjugorje Conference at Notre Dame (May 31 - June 2, 2002)
New speaker added to program: James Caviezel has had starring roles in a number of Hollywood films including The Thin Red Line, Frequency, Angel eyes, The Count of Monte Christo and his most recent film, High Crimes. He has been to Medjugorje three times and we are delighted that he is coming to Notre Dame to share his his experiences there.
For more information contact Queen of Peace Ministries at: (574) 288-8777.
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Issues at Stake in Canonization of Guadalupe Visionary - Interview with 2 Postulators of Juan Diego’s Cause
MEXICO CITY, MAY 12, 2002 (Zenit.org)
Among the people who helped to make the upcoming canonization of Guadalupe visionary Juan Diego possible are Father José Luis Guerrero and Father Eduardo Chávez.
They spoke about the importance of the canonization of the 16th-century Indian.
Q: Many people find it odd that Juan Diego’s sanctity is only being recognized now, and that his process of canonization in recent years has been "so fast," as if there is urgency to make him a saint. What is your opinion?
Father Chávez: Certainly, in recent times Juan Diego’s life has been studied more for his canonization, but as early as the 16th century, he was regarded as an intercessor with the Virgin, and since the 17th century, he has been regarded as a saint or worthy of the altar.
In fact, many of our Mexican ancestors thought Juan Diego was already in heaven. As regards the canonization itself, it is a "politically correct" process of canonical normatives; I should say that the last stage of the study lasted close to 22 years.
Q: One of the objections made to Juan Diego by historians and even people of the Church is that a good part of the information on his historicity is of a very late date, already well into the17th century. How were you able to sort out this fact?
Father Chávez: Many of the 17th-century witnesses were very elderly people who recounted what their forebears told them. It could easily be that their grandparents were Juan Diego’s contemporaries. And one must add that the evidence of the 17th century also comes from authorities of the most important religious orders, all under oath to tell the truth about what was transmitted to them by their ancestors. In 1746, Cayetano Cabrera recounted how Juan Diego’s contemporaries regarded him as a saint and intercessor before the Virgin of Guadalupe, and from that time exclaimed: "We hope that one day Juan Diego will merit the altar."
Father Guerrero: This testimony is one of many, but one can say without the shadow of a doubt that for 16th-, 17th- and 18th- century Mexicans, Juan Diego’s historicity was something absolutely normal. Ignacio Manuel Altamirano, a 19th-century liberal, who spoke Mexican, said that he heard songs in Mexican in Tepeyac to the Virgin of Guadalupe by pure Indians from the high plateau. Because of this, Altamirano said that "every Mexican is a Juan Diego."
Q: In terms of documents, how is the whole of Juan Diego’s historicity upheld?
Father Chávez: It is not based on a document; there are many documents of all kinds, written and oral. Among the written, there are manuscripts, wills, legal certificates, archaeological evidence, etc., which are interrelated in such a way that, little by little, they unfold history. The convergence of sources is very clear in Juan Diego’s case. Moreover, in no way have we underrated the oral tradition.
Q: Juan Diego’s process of canonization was too connected to an outside agenda, namely, to the agenda imposed by the media or even by personalities of the Church itself as, for example, the former abbot of the Basilica of Guadalupe, Guillermo Schulenburg, who publicly denied Juan Diego’s historicity. How did those of you who were promoting the process see this?
Father Chávez: All saints have had people against them. Viewed in perspective, when little time is left before Juan Diego is canonized, it was very helpful for research and to give replies.
The work of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on Juan Diego is sufficient, full, complete. It is very proper and honest. "The devil’s advocate" is that figure who, from within, makes things be thoroughly supported, from the very core of any given individual.
However, this outside agenda had a double blade: On the one hand, it did impel us to consolidate our research but, on the other, it robbed us of precious time in having to answer thousands of objections that were made to us. Father José Luis Guerrero and I said jokingly to one another that we were like those who say, "There are three million hairs on a human being’s head; you count them." We counted them one by one.
Father Guerrero: Form 13 of the Causes of Saints orders a discussion on any objection made to a process; it must be sent to the postulation for resolution. We were involved in such confusion, which most of the time was stupid.
Father Chávez: Frankly, I never imagined that I would have to study whether or not Juan Diego had a beard, but even this we had to answer to what you call the "outside agenda." However, what they hoped to do was to create a climate of confusion, which would underrate the heroism of the future hero of the Church.
Father Guerrero: It is the same technique used in past centuries to deny the Gospel.
Q: What do you mean?
Father Chávez: If I am told that St. Francis of Assisi did not exist, I am disturbed, harmed; it destroys a sector of the Church, but it does not destroy the Church itself. If I am told that St. Teresa was a fantasy created by a community, well, I am disturbed; but they cannot destroy the Church for me. But if they tell me that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are a nonexistent fantasy, then Jesus is a fantasy, and the Church is a joke. Within due proportion, this is the key to understanding the attacks on Juan Diego.
Q: Hence, profound issues are at stake in Juan Diego’s canonization, perhaps more profound than we think.Father Chávez: Indeed, this canonization states that God does, indeed, intervene in man’s history, and he intervenes with what is most beautiful to him, his Most Holy Mother. He intervenes in this way with us, and through us, in the whole world. In addition to being a message for Mexico, the message of Guadalupe is a message for the whole world; a message of unity, of harmony, of miscegenation in the good sense of the word.
From L’Osservatore Romano
Not posted this week. Expect an update to this section next week.
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.
Mary in the secular news from April 20 through May 9.
A letter to the editor of The Irish Times, published May 9, clarifies that the conception involved in the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is Mary’s conception. "It is not a description of the miraculous conception of her son Jesus and does not imply that there is any ‘macula’ or stain in normal conception." The letter was in response to a statement by the Religious Affairs Correspondent who wrote that Irish women were expected to emulate the Virgin Mary, "with a regrettable acceptance that it was not possible for them to conceive immaculately...."
A solemn and sacred ceremony on a rocky hilltop in Campo honored a statue of the Virgin Mary first placed there in a makeshift shrine nearly 58 years ago, the San Diego Union-Tribune said on May 6. The figure replaces a statue placed within the rocks by Italian prisoners of war who were housed at Camp Lockett Army base in Campo during World War II. The shrine was dedicated in 1944 by a San Diego priest and the statue had remained safely on the hill until December 2000, when the glass cover sealing the figure in the rocks was broken and the statue’s head was snapped off. The rest of the statue was removed for safekeeping and after news reports of the defacement, the head was returned. Residents decided to situate the original in a museum at the Gaskill Stone Store and place a replica in the shrine.
Monsignor Clement F. Faistl, 89, planned to celebrate the 65th anniversary of his ordination doing what he loves: celebrating Mass, hearing confessions and praying in thanksgiving to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Columbus Dispatch said May 3. Monsignor Faistl, ordained May 6, 1937, said he has been sustained by love for the Virgin Mary throughout his priesthood and remembers his mother being very faithful in praying to Mary. He continues to say Mass and hear confessions six days a week at the retirement home operated by the diocese.
A steady stream of people came to the Mother Cabrini Shrine on April 30 to pray and get some water that they believe is miracle water, the Denver Post wrote on May 1. Monico Martinez of Denver said he was going to pray that the water continues to flow from a spigot near a statue of the Virgin Mary. Sister Bernadette Casciano, who heads the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, which owns the shrine, said she’d been told that the water table was down and the shrine wouldn’t be able to assure the flow of water without limits on use. She has decided not to water the plants that decorate the sprawling shrine and is asking guests to bring sleeping bags to avoid having to wash sheets; families are limited to one gallon of water. The water comes from a spring that was discovered by Mother Frances Cabrini, who later became a saint. People began to believe the water was holy after she was canonized.
Crowds gather, especially on weekends and holidays, at Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto in the Bronx. They come to drink the water flowing beneath a statue of the Virgin Mary, splash it on themselves, and fill bottles to take it home. Evelyn Alicea said she was unable to walk without crutches after a car accident two years ago. A year later she visited the grotto and drank the water. "I left my crutches, and I left out of here walking," she said. Others believe in the curative powers of the water. The founder of St. Lucy’s decided to build the grotto on church grounds after a visit to the shrine in Lourdes, France. There a spring gushed forth from the rocks. "People have come here with the mistaken notion that this water, like the water in Lourdes, is from some miraculous force. It’s not. This water comes right from the city,. It’s regular city water," said Father Robert Norris, present pastor. Opened in 1939, the Bronx shrine became known as Lourdes of America. Reported by the New York Daily News April 28.
Steve Triantafyllou first dreamed of the Virgin Mary 15 years ago. Five years ago he saw Mary in another dream. She stood near a half-burned cedar near Stromi, the Greek village of his birth. On May 13, 2001 she appeared again, saying "I came to you twice and you didn’t set me free." This time he told his wife about the dream and she insisted he return to Stromi. He and five childhood friends arrived at a mountain near Stromi on June 27, 2001. They found the tree and dug around it until they unearthed an icon of the Virgin Mary. The icon, wrought in the artistic style of Byzantium, is apparently the work of a local craftsman in 1775. The mountain on which the icon was found is known locally as "Church’s Clearing" and it’s possible a church once stood there and the icon was part of its ornament. Triantafyllou planned to return to Greece in May to oversee construction of a domed chapel near the site of the discovery. Reported by the St. Petersburg Times April 28.
On a hill in the centre of Benin, West Africa, there is a shrine to the Virgin Mary. Why, Annie Caulfield asks, did the Virgin choose to make an appearance in, of all places, a country known as "the cradle of voodoo?" The shrine and other sites are described in Caulfield’s book, Show Me the Magic: travels round Benin by taxi, reviewed by Michael Kerr in the London Daily Telegraph April 27. Caulfield’s story is both amusing and affecting, Kerr writes.
Pope John Paul II’s plan to name Roman Catholicism’s first Indian saint has opened divisions in the complex mosaic of Mexico, where Indian and European traditions are half-reconciled, the Dubuque, IA, Telegraph Herald said on April 20. According the Mexican Catholic tradition, the Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego in 1531. The article examines the question of whether Juan Diego existed, presenting the views of doubters and believers. A Pai-pai Indian from Mexico’s Pacific coast told one newspaper: "They’re saying that he didn’t exist because they can’t find his birth certificate. What are they thinking? To this very day, a lot of us Indians don’t have birth certificates."
Vandals knocked statues of Jesus and the Virgin Mary from their pedestals outside Assumption Church in Pomona, the Bergen County, NJ, Record said on May 7. They were found on the ground Sunday morning, with the left arm on the statue of Jesus broken off. Father Peter McLaughlin, associate pastor, said he did not believe the vandalism was related to the sex abuse scandal plaguing the Catholic church.
Occupation forces have attacked the Church of the Nativity with missiles and heavy machine guns in an attempt to break into the church, BBC Monitoring Reports said on April 22. The besieged governor of Bethlehem said the attack continued for an hour, that one of the rooms was set on fire and that one of the Virgin Mary’s statues was hit with several bullets.
Jacquie Soohen, Alberta film maker inside Bethlehem’s besieged Church of the Nativity, felt the pull of her religious roots when she walked into a cloister and saw a statue of the Virgin Mary scarred by bullet holes, the Calgary Herald wrote on May 6. Soohen, a documentary film maker now living in New York, had been in Manger Square filming an effort to take food into the church by members of the International Solidarity Movement. Contacted by cell phone, Soohen said she planned to remain in the church until the 35-day standoff ends and the people inside the church are allowed to go home.
Pope John Paul II prayed for peace in the Middle East and expressed his support for "initiatives for dialogue and detente" across the world during his weekly Angelus prayers on the balcony of St. Peter’s basilica, Agence France Press said on April 28. "With the current international situation...and in particular faced with the endless drama of the Holy Land, we must with confidence call on the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary," he said. "We are sure that she can support the efforts of those who seek peace with sincerity and engagement."
BBC Worldwide Monitoring said on April 28 that the Pope has called for the faithful to constantly pray for peace in the Holy Land during the month of May, which is traditionally dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
Orange County’s bishop sat framed by a portrait of the Virgin Mary doting over the baby Jesus. It’s an ancient-looking portrait painted in somber, muddy browns; and it belies the bishop’s vision for a more modern, accountable Catholic church, the Orange Country Register said on May 2. One that is open to independent, outside scrutiny probing the sex scandal that was once unthinkable - and unmentionable. "We don’t want this to happen again," Bishop Tod Brown said during a wide-ranging interview at the diocesan offices in Orange. The diocese faces several lawsuits and has placed five priests on administrative leave since the sex scandal broke late last year.
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May 10, 2002
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