Liturgical Season 4/15/03 World News
New Resources  Marian Events  Mary in the Secular Press
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Marian Library
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Mary Page News items give insight into our interest areas, our outreach, and the many ways people honor Our Lady. We welcome your input and your comments.

Liturgical Season

To celebrate the Lenten Feast in the company of Mary see:

Mary Page offers a variety of resources inviting study, reflection and meditation.  We also list important Marian dates for each month of the year.  Please see Marian Commemoration Days for the month of April.

Rosary Markings

Rosary Markings is an answer to John Paul II's proclamation of "The Year of the Rosary" (2002-2003).  Rosary Markings will explore various facets of the rosary all through this anniversary year.  It will be updated frequently.  

See our recent addition from April 15.  Previous Reflections are listed on our Rosary Index.

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New Resources

We have added material on the Seven Dolors Shrine in Valparaiso, Indiana under Resources.  We have also improved our Mary Page Search utility, and revised our answer to What about Our Lady of Olives?

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  News from the Marian Library

Current Exhibit

Native American Madonnas by Father Guiliani will be on display in the Marian Library Gallery from March 10 to May 5, 2003.  The Gallery is open from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm weekdays.  For more information, or to arrange for viewing at another time, call (937) 229-4214.

To see a virtual exhibit of this year's displays click into Current Exhibit.

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Major Exhibit Coming Next Year

A rare collection of art from the Vatican will be coming to UD during its short tour.  "The Mother of God: Art Celebrates Mary" will arrive in Sept. 2003 for a two month stay in the Roesch Library first-floor gallery and seventh-floor Marian Library Gallery.  The multicultural exhibition includes pieces dating from the fourth century to the 20th century.

The works include a variety of mediums such as oil on canvas and copper; tempera; gold on panel-carved sections of sarcophagi in marble; and statuary in wood, bronze, ivory, lead and soapstone.  The artists are from several different ethnic backgrounds.  Cultures of Africa, China, Korea, Greece, Central Europe, Russia, Brazil, and the Solomon Islands are represented.  The 38-piece collection is housed in the Vatican Museums, although many of the pieces are in areas only accessible to scholars for study.

Aside from an extended stay at the John Paul II cultural center in Washington, D.C., the exhibit has rarely been seen by the public.  The cost of transporting, insuring, and securing the art will be provided through private donations.

The works are put into six categories: Eve and Mary, The Incarnation, The Theotokos (Mother of God), Images of Prayer, Mary in Cultures Around the World, and Walking with Mary in the Third Millennium.  The sections are introduced by writings from Pope John Paul II.

The exhibition puts emphasis on the mission of the Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute, which is serving as the host.  It will be the second exhibit in a biennial series of international art here at UD.

Source: "Rare Vatican art to make its way to campus" by Meghan Roberts, published on p. 7 in Flyer News for September 27, 2002.

For more information see also the article by Pamela Gregg in the August 22 issue of U.D.'s Campus Report.

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International Marian Research Institute Course Schedule

The schedule of IMRI courses for Spring 2003 - Fall 2003 is now available for view.  Courses for this Summer will begin on June 16.

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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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Marian Events

Medjugorje visionary to speak [Source: The Times Union, 4/9/2003]

St. Clement's Church [Albany, NY] will be hosting a special service at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 22, that will include Ivan Dragicevic from Medjugorje, Bosnia-Hercegovina, one of five people there who have said they have seen visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The service will begin at 6 p.m. with the recitation of the rosary. This will be followed by the celebration of Mass and the service will conclude with a talk by Dragicevic.

A reception will follow in the parish center.

Click this link for a list of all of the current Marian Events by geographical position.

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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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News from Around the World

Marie, favorite girls’ name

The name of the Mother of God, Mary – though in the French version Marie- is the favorite girls’ name in Germany; Maria also ranks among the first three choices for first names according to the Society for the German Language in Wiesbaden. Sophie and Maria take second and third place. Already since 1999 Marie has been the favorite choice of parents whereas between 1995 and 1998 Maria ranked first in East and West Germany.

From: Bote von Fatima, April 2003, 55.



In answer to press reports of a possible stopover by Pope John Paul in Russia during his August trip to Mongolia, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, director of the Holy See Press Office, yesterday afternoon told journalists: "The Holy Father's desire to return the sacred icon of Our Lady of Kazan, which for years has been cared for in the Vatican, to the Russian people and the Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow is well known. The appropriate occasion and way of turning it over (to them) will be evaluated at the proper time."



This afternoon, in a rain-soaked St. Peter's Square, thousands of young people from the diocese of Rome participated in a get-together with the Pope which included prayer and celebration in preparation for the 18th World Youth Day which will take place this Sunday.

Before the Pope's arrival, several youths offered testimony and sang. Throughout his speech, John Paul II was interrupted many times by applause as he joked with the young people especially about the inclement weather. Referring to the theme of this year's World Youth Day, "Behold your Mother", the Holy Father said that "to welcome Mary in one's home, in one's life, is the privilege of every one of the faithful. Especially in difficult moments, which at times you young people experience in this period of your life."

"Today, for these reasons," he went on, "I entrust you to Mary. Dear young people, I tell you from experience, open the doors of your life to her! And do not be afraid to throw open the doors of your heart to Christ."

"I entrust you to Mary while you are already on your way to World Youth Day in Cologne" which will be celebrated in 2005. "I also would like for this World Youth Day to be prepared, starting today, with constant prayer which should be offered by the whole Church and, in particular, in Italy from four significant places: the Marian shrines of Loreto and Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii; here in Rome at the St. Lawrence Youth Center, ... and at the Church of St. Agnes in Agony."

The Pope indicated that "in this difficult moment in history, while terrorism and wars threaten harmony among men and religions, I wish to consecrate you to Mary so that you may be promoters of the culture of peace which today is more necessary than ever."

He then underscored that "tomorrow, April 11, is the 40th anniversary of the publication of Blessed John XXIII's Encyclical 'Pacem in terris'. By committing ourselves to building peace on the four pillars of truth, justice, love and freedom - as he taught us in 'Pacem in terris' - it will be possible to re-establish cooperation among nations and to harmonize the diverse and contrasting interests of cultures and institutions."

"In order to implore God for the gift of peace through prayer, I would like to give you a rosary this afternoon. ... Carry it with you at all times! The rosary, prayed with intelligent devotion, will help you to absorb the mystery of Christ in order to learn from Him the secret of peace and how to make it a life-long project." Each young person received a rosary as they entered St. Peter's Square this afternoon.

In conclusion, the Holy Father performed a solemn act of consecration of the young people to Mary, during which the youth raised their rosaries in unison. He then blessed and handed out 18 rosaries to a group of young people from the 18 dioceses of the Italian region of Lazio, which includes the Pope's diocese of Rome.

Image of Our Lady of Ephesus
Dan Lynch
Apr 8, 2003
Our Lady of Ephesus Oratory Dedicated

Dear Friend of Mary,

At a time of tension between the United States and Turkey, and the war in nearby Iraq, a beautiful mosaic image of Our Lady of Ephesus, Turkey was solemnly blessed in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. on April 4.

The Image is installed in a small oratory. The writing on the left wall of the oratory explains the dogma defined at the Council of Ephesus that Mary is the Mother of God. The writing on the right wall quotes chapter 19 of the Gospel of John that he took Mary into his home. The tradition is that John built a house for Mary in Ephesus. Mary’s House is a site for pilgrimage for both Christians and Moslems.

Cardinal McCarrick of Washington D.C. and Archbishop Giuseppe Bernardini of Izmir, Turkey, concelebrated a special Mass in honor of Our Lady of Ephesus. In his post-Communion remarks, Archbishop Bernardini expressed his great joy for the installation of the Image. He said, "I would like to leave this oratory as a gift from my diocese in Turkey for the people of the United States. At Mary’s House different faiths and cultures pray together. The Blessed Mother receives and embraces all of mankind. It is the spirit of the mother who receives everyone without distinction as to race, language or culture. The spirit of reconciliation and peace is the spirit of Our Lady of Ephesus, especially today with war in Iraq. May Our Lady of Ephesus bring peace to the world."

After the Mass, the Archbishop and I discussed the similarities between Our Lady of Ephesus and Our Lady of Guadalupe. Each asked for a house to be built. St. John the apostle built one for Our Lady of Ephesus while his namesake, St. Juan Diego, built one for Our Lady of Guadalupe. Both bring reconciliation and peace. Both images are real images of Our Lady.

I joined in the Archbishop’s prayer that Our Lady of Ephesus would bring reconciliation and peace to the world.

For the full story and to obtain images and a video of Our Lady of Ephesus click here, http://www.jkmi.com/mary.htm.

From Zenit

Worldwide Spiritual Bouquet Sought for Pope's Anniversary

LONDON, APRIL 14, 2003 (Zenit.org)

A new Web site is encouraging parishes around the world to celebrate the silver anniversary of the pontificate of John Paul II on Oct. 16.

Patrick Ryan of South London set up the site with his family to show their appreciation and love for the Pope.

The goal of the site is to record every Mass celebrated for the Pope on that day and to encourage prayers for his intentions.

"We want to create a spiritual bouquet," Ryan told Independent Catholic News. "Would it not be wonderful if we could ring the world in prayer on Oct. 16 with holy Mass starting in Fiji, followed by New Zealand and then each country doing likewise as the sun circles the earth until it sets at the close of day off the west coast of Alaska?"

Masses for the Pope's silver jubilee may be registered at the multilingual site www.jp2-jubilee.org.

Knights of Columbus Sending Rosaries to Troops

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut, APRIL 8, 2003 (Zenit.org)

Working with the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, the Knights of Columbus has donated 10,000 rosaries to troops serving in Iraq.

The group is also printing 100,000 copies of a prayer book designed to fit in the breast pocket of a military uniform. The book also includes introductions from Archbishop Edwin O'Brien of the archdiocese and Supreme Knight Carl Anderson.

Anderson said the donation of rosaries and prayer books was a show of solidarity with the troops. The Knights, he said, has a history of such support, stretching back to World War I when the organization operated rest-and-recreation centers for troops in Europe under the banner, "Everybody Welcome. Everything Free."

"The Knights of Columbus joins others the world over in praying for peace," Anderson said. "We also pray for the swift and safe return of our troops who are laying down their lives for others in acts of charity and service."

Founded in 1882, the 1.6-million-member Knights of Columbus is the world's largest Catholic fraternal service organization.

John Paul II Entrusts Young People to Mary for Sake of Peace

In Context of Celebration of World Youth Day 2003

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 11, 2003 (Zenit.org)

John Paul II entrusted the world's youth to the Blessed Virgin Mary during a festive gathering of 40,000 young people from Rome and neighboring dioceses.

The Pope, who joked with the young on several occasions, gave each of them a rosary to implore God for peace. The meeting Thursday was part of the celebrations of this year's World Youth Day, which will end on Palm Sunday in dioceses around the world.

The young people, who congratulated the Holy Father for his close to 25-year pontificate, gave him three gifts in return.

Ugo Bentivegna, 25, of the Focolare Movement, gave him a pilgrim's staff, so that he will continue to travel and meet with young people worldwide.

Eloisa Baldacci, 25, of the St. Agnes Roman youth group, gave the Pope the plan for the John Paul II Youth Cultural Center being built in Rome for the Christian formation of young people.

Gabriele Mannucci, 27, of Rome's St. Thomas Aquinas parish, gave the Pope a dove, in gratitude for his service to peace.

Young Canadians, who took part in Toronto's World Youth Day last July, carried the WYD cross and an icon of Mary to the atrium of St. Peter's Basilica.

This Palm Sunday, during the papal Mass, the Canadians will hand the cross to their German contemporaries, who will carry it to their homeland. The next international World Youth Day is scheduled for Cologne in 2005.

The young people had to cope with the intermittent rain that fell in St. Peter's Square. Before and after their meeting with the Holy Father, they heard the testimonies and talks of Italian singers and artists.

"We are young!" the Pope said, interrupting his address to encourage his listeners to cope with the downpour.

During an Act of Entrustment of youth to Mary, which the Pope pronounced at the end of the meeting, he said that "the young people of this century, at the dawn of the new millennium, still live the torments deriving from sin, from hatred, from violence, from terrorism and from war."

He added: "O Mary, help them to respond to their vocation. Lead them to the knowledge of true love and bless their affections. Sustain them in the moment of suffering. Render them intrepid messengers of the greeting of Christ on the day of Easter: Peace be with you!"

"With them, I also entrust myself once again to you and with confident affection I repeat to you: I am all yours!"

During his address, the Holy Father recalled the wartime years of his youth and then appealed to young people "to commit themselves to peace."

"At this difficult time of history, while terrorism and war threaten the harmony among men and religions," he said, "I wish to entrust you to Mary so that you will be promoters of the culture of peace, more necessary today than ever."

John Paul II's Act of Entrustment of Young People to Mary

On Occasion of World Youth Day 2003

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 11, 2003 (Zenit.org)

Here is a translation of the Act of Entrustment of young people to Mary, which John Paul II pronounced Thursday when he met with young people of Rome and neighboring dioceses in the context of World Youth Day celebrations.

* * *

"Behold your Mother" (John 19:27)
It was Jesus, O Virgin Mary,
who from the cross
wished to entrust us to you,
not to attenuate
but to confirm
his exclusive role of Savior of the world.

If in the disciple John,
all the children of the Church were entrusted to you,
it pleases me that much more to see entrusted to you, O Mary,
the young people of the world.

To you, gentle Mother,
whose protection I have always felt,
I entrust them again this evening.
Under your mantle,
in your protection,
they seek refuge.

You, Mother of divine grace,
make them radiant with the beauty of Christ!
They are the young people of this century,
who at the dawn of the new millennium,
still live the torments deriving from sin,
from hatred, from violence,
from terrorism and from war.

But they are also the young people whom the Church,
looks to with trust in the awareness
that with the help of the grace of God
they will succeed in believing and living
as witnesses of the Gospel
in the today of history.

O Mary,
help them to respond to their vocation.
Lead them to the knowledge of true love
and bless their affections.
Sustain them in the moment of suffering.
Render them intrepid messengers
of the greeting of Christ on the day of Easter: 
Peace be with you!

With them, I also entrust myself once again to you
and with confident affection I repeat to you:
Totus tuus ego sum!
I am all yours!
And also each one of them
with me cries out to you:
Totus tuus!
Totus tuus!

Papal Household Preacher Reflects on Church as Mystery of Maternity

Mary Is Her Model, Father Cantalamessa Says

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 11, 2003 (Zenit.org)

The Church is a mystery of maternity, and Mary is her model, the Papal Household preacher said during a meditation attended by John Paul II and Roman Curia officials.

As part of his weekly meditations in preparation for Easter, Father Raniero Cantalamessa began by asking: "What do I first think of when I hear the word 'Church'? People, requests, problems, injuries received?"

The Capuchin friar answered that often the word "Church" brings to mind "the Vatican," or "the hierarchy: Pope, bishops, priests."

"We run the risk of fitting this mistake and even of causing it," the Capuchin said when addressing his listeners gathered in the Redemptoris Mater Chapel in the Apostolic Palace.

The preacher then reflected on the essence of the Church in the light of Christ's words, addressed to the Apostle John, from the cross: "Son, behold your Mother."

"By suffering with her Son, who was dying on the cross, Mary cooperated in a totally special way with the work of the Savior, with obedience, faith, hope and ardent charity, to restore supernatural life to souls," Father Cantalamessa said. "Because of this, she is our Mother in the order of grace."

"This is the meaning of many expressions that refer to Mary as 'figure of the Church,' 'mirror of the Church,' 'first fruit of the Church,' 'Church in nascent state,'" he continued.

The evangelical passage ends by saying: "And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home."

"This word is jointly valid for Mary and for the Church, and it is a renewed invitation to take the Church to ourselves, among the most loved things," he said.

"Lent is the time of conversion," Father Cantalamessa concluded, "and this year I have asked the Lord for the grace to be converted to the Church."

John Paul II Urges Young People to Build Peace in World

Appeals for Solidarity With Their Contemporaries in Iraq and Holy Land

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 13, 2003 (Zenit.org)

John Paul II entrusted the "four pillars of peace" to youth worldwide, and appealed for solidarity with their contemporaries who suffer from violence, especially in the Mideast.

During a solemn Palm Sunday Mass attended by more than 40,000 people in St. Peter's Square, the Pope pointed out to youth the foundations of the culture of peace -- truth, liberty, justice and love -- that were outlined in John XXIII's 1963 encyclical "Pacem in Terris."

"How can you not express fraternal solidarity to your contemporaries who are suffering from war and violence in Iraq, in the Holy Land, and in several parts of the world?" John Paul II asked during the homily, heard by numerous young people.

Today the Church observed the 18th World Youth Day at the diocesan level. It came in the wake of last July's international event in Toronto.

The Pope noted that Christ said he was the "King of truth, freedom, justice and love. These are the four pillars on which it is possible to construct the building of true peace, as Blessed John XXIII wrote 40 years ago in the encyclical 'Pacem in Terris.'

"I hand symbolically to you, young people of the whole world, this historic document, more important than ever. Read it, meditate on it, make every effort to put it into practice. Then you will be 'blessed,' because you will be real children of the God of peace."

"Peace is a gift of Christ, which he obtained for us with the sacrifice of the cross," John Paul II continued. "To achieve it effectively it is necessary to go up to Calvary with the divine Master. And who can lead us better in this ascent than Mary, who was given to us precisely as Mother, under the cross?"

"To help to discover this wonderful spiritual reality, I have chosen as the topic of the Message for World Youth Day this year the words of the agonizing Christ: 'Behold your Mother,'" the Holy Father continued.

Peace was also the topic of the Prayers of the Faithful, which were read after the Pope's homily.

One of the prayers, recited in Arabic, implored: "Let us pray for all peoples and cultures of the world, for all those who seek God in different religious ways. May there always be dialogue among them, may intolerance and contempt be extinguished, and together may they seek ways of concord and fraternity."

Canadians Hand Over the World Youth Day Cross to Germans

Pope Adds a Marian Icon to Go Along with WYD Symbol

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 13, 2003 (Zenit.org)

John Paul II and 40,000 pilgrims watched Canadian youths hand over the World Youth Day cross to their German contemporaries, who are getting ready for WYD 2005 in Cologne.

The symbolic gesture took place in St. Peter's Square, at the end of the solemn Palm Sunday Mass, on the same day the Church celebrated World Youth Day at the diocesan level.

The Pope explained that the cross will be taken "to various countries of Central and Eastern Europe and then, beginning on Palm Sunday next year, will visit German dioceses until it reaches Cologne."

Attending the Mass, together with the young Germans and Canadians, were Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic, archbishop of Toronto, the site of last July's World Youth Day, and Cardinal Joachim Meisner, archbishop of Cologne.

The Pope said in German: "I ask you, dear young brothers and sisters: To contemplate the cross; come close to it to be aware of that wonderful love with which the Lord loves us, submit with joy to his work of renewing hearts!"

John Paul II also announced that he would give to the young Germans the icon of Mary "Salus Populi Romani," which was venerated by some 2 million young people who attended World Youth Day 2000 in Rome.

"From now on, together with the cross, it will be present at the World Youth Days," he explained. "It will be the sign of Mary's maternal presence among young people, called like the Apostle John to welcome her in their lives."

Lastly, the Holy Father mentioned that the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the St. Lawrence Center is being celebrated. He had established the center, a few meters from the Via della Conciliazione, next to the Vatican, to welcome young pilgrims to Rome.

The Pope thanked Cardinal James Stafford, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and "the movements, associations and communities for their attention to this initiative, and for their activity, coordinated by the Emmanuel Community."

From L’Osservatore Romano

Mary is Icon of redeemed humanity [#48 - 2 December 1998, p. 4]

In address to Pontifical Academies, Holy Father says Mary sheds light on Christian humanism.  On Saturday, 7 November, the Holy Father attended the third public session of the Pontifical Academies.  Here is a translation of his address for the occasion, which was given in Italian ...

Following the Apostolic Exhortation Marialis cultus of my revered Predecessor, the Servant of God Paul VI, I wished to stress in the Encyclical Redemptoris Mater the essential link between Mary and the Church by emphasizing her mission within the community of believers.  In the Apostolic Exhortation Mulieris dignitatem, I later recalled how Mary enlightens and enriches the Christian humanism inspired by the Gospel, because, in addition to the various aspects of the "new humanity" which is realized in her, she brings out the dignity and "genius" of woman.  Chosen by God to fulfill his plan of salvation, Mary helps us understand the mission of woman in the Church's life and in the preaching of the Gospel.

Dear brothers and sisters, accepting the proposal made by the Coordinating Council of the Pontifical Academies, I am pleased now to give the Pontifical Academies Award to Dr. Deyanira Floes Gonzales of Costa Rica for her work in Mariology entitled: La Virgen María al pie de la cruz (Jn 19, 25-27) en Ruperto Deutz, presented at the Pontifical Theological Faculty Marianum ...

[N.B. The printed edition includes a photograph of Dr. Flores receiving the award from John Paul II]

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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.

Heavenly encounters in London's Fields [Source: South China Morning Post, 4/6/2003]

The chandeliers slowly dimmed, leaving candles in flickering circles around the rows of cream and gold columns and in a line high above the altar. The conductor, Graham Caldbeck, raises his baton and the cornets, sackbuts, recorders, violins and the long-necked theorbo launch into the joyful opening bars of Monteverdi's 1610 Vespers For The Virgin Mary. Then the Nonsuch Singers rise as one and break into "Deus in adiutorium meum intende" (O God make haste to save me). The ethereal voices of the choir and soloists reverberate in the hard acoustic shell of the church and for the next hour the capacity audience in this beautiful baroque place of worship in the heart of London are transported, via Monteverdi's sublime score, to musical heaven.

Monteverdi's Vespers are grand and operatic, a cross between the discipline of the old Renaissance style and the ornate splendour of the baroque in which dances and concerti intermingle with more traditional sections. For the believer the Vespers are sublime worship, for the non-believer the aesthetic high they bring can come as close to a religious experience as an atheist can get.

In the interval before the Magnificat, the final section of Vespers, we left our pews and wandered out on to the raised stone platform outside with its panoramic view of Trafalgar Square. The night sky was crossed by a powerful funnel of light that illuminated the statue of the one-eyed, one-armed Lord Horatio Nelson standing precariously atop a granite column 60 metres above ground.

When the concert ended it seemed almost sacrilegious to applaud; after all, we had just listened to an extended musical prayer to the Virgin Mary in a church that has been on the same site in various architectural forms for the past 700 years. But applaud the audience did and the brown-haired tenor with a Mohican ridge of bottle-blond hair running down the centre of his scalp bowed before us along with the other soloists and choir.

The church in which this heavenly concert took place was St Martin-in-the-Fields, the most famous of the many London churches that double up as venues for classical music as well as worship. Mozart gave a concert here while living in London and Handel used to play the original organ. The most-recorded orchestra in the world, the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields, founded by the illustrious Sir Neville Mariner, has its spiritual home in the church and the BBC World Service regularly broadcasts concerts from there.

Each season St Martin-in-the-Fields hosts a varied programme of concerts and recitals. The box office is in the basement vault, which is also home to a popular restaurant.

If you find yourself in Trafalgar Square look out for the neo-classical facade topped with a square tower that rises up into an elegant steeple crowned with a gold cross and make your way towards both a peaceful place of worship and a top-flight concert venue.

Russia celebrates Annunciation [Source: ITAR-TASS, 4/7/2003]

Flocks of pigeons will fly up into the air all over Russia this Monday, according to tradition, to mark one of the greatest Orthodox religious holidays -- Annunciation. According to the Holy Scripture, this day more than 2,000 years ago the Archangel Gabriel, sent from God to the Virgin Mary, told her that she would give birth to the Messiah Jesus. The Virgin Mary met the archangel in her native Nazareth.

At present, most of the residents in the Palestinian city are Christian Arabs, and the Moslem community is also large.

The Cathedral of Annunciation erected at the historic site is one of the Christian holy places.

Holy Grail of a choral collection [Source: UK Newsquest, 4/7/2003]

Hail! Queen of Heaven. Music in Honour of the Virgin Mary by The Cambridge Singers directed by John Rutter, Collegium Records. Recorded in the acoustically divine Ely Cathedral, this CD offers the opportunity to listen to some of the wealth of unaccompanied choral music available to us dedicated to the Virgin Mary and begins with some of the earliest known works.

At the council of Ephesus in 431 AD the title of Mother of God was accorded to Mary and as a consequence her name appeared on the lists of feast days.

Feast days inspired some special music far more elaborate than usual. The Reformation put paid to the veneration of Marian music in England but elsewhere the fervour to praise the Virgin Mary persisted.

The tracks have been set in seasonal order beginning with Advent on to Candlemas then to Holy Week, Easter and lastly to Pentecost and the Trinity. So on this recording Gregorian chant is featured at the beginning of each section and is followed on by some well-known and other lesser known modern pieces in no chronological order.

Accompanied by well-written notes this recording is as beautiful and inspiring as Holy music should be and close your eyes you could be in Cambridge not in your sitting room.

Pope prays for peace in Iraq, victims of conflict [Source: Agence France Presse, 3/30/2003]

Pope John Paul II prayed on Sunday for an end to the US-led war in Iraq and for the victims of the unfolding conflict before a small congregation in the Vatican.

"Let us pray to (the Virgin) Mary for the victims of the current conflict. Let us pray to Mary, with both grief and trust, to intercede for peace in Iraq and in all the world's conflicts," the pope said.

At the word "peace", the congregation applauded.

The pontiff has been a tireless campaigner against the war and has expressed "deep concern and great anguish" at the suffering caused since the US-led hostilities started on March 20.

On Saturday he said he feared the war could provoke a religious catastrophe in the world and said everything should be done prevent divisions forming between different creeds.

Pope says wishing to return to Russia most venerated icon [Source: ITAR-TASS, 3/28/2003]

Pope John Paul II mentioned his readiness to return the icon to Russia as he was receiving the speaker of Russian parliament's upper house, Sergei Mironov, here Friday.

When correspondents interviewed Mironov after the reception, he said neither Russian nor Vatican officials had discussed the possibility of a papal visit to Russia during the meeting. Some earlier reports in the Russian media indicated that the Pope's trip to Moscow was conditioned on the repatriation of the holy relic. Vatican State Secretary, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, said during the papal audience Russia and the Holy See were clearing the recent administrative problems with Roman Catholic priests in Russia and there were no grounds for concern.

In the Russian Orthodoxy, the icon of Our Lady of Kazan is number one most treasured image of Virgin Mary. Church tradition says it was found in the city of Kazan on the Volga at the very end of the 16th century, 26 years after the conquest of the place by the troops of Ivan the Terrible.

The discovery of the icon in the dirt-floor of a courtyard was followed, according to the Church records, by numerous miracles. It was soon adopted by the Russian military commanders as the patron icon of the troops.

In 1612, Patriarch Hermogenes of Moscow asked the priests of Kazan to send the icon to Moscow, then under the power of invading Polish troops. The ceremony of blessing of the warriors, commanded by Prince Dmitry Pozharski, was followed by an assault on the Moscow Kremlin and the restoration of Russian rule in the city and, subsequently, in the greater part of the then Russia.

It was the liberation of Moscow that brought to power the Romanovs dynasty, the one to rule the country for the next 300 years. The Romanov czars never forgot the event, believing they were obliged for it to the intercession of Our Lady and to the blessing of troops with her Holy Icon.

In subsequent centuries, several thousand churches dedicated to Our Lady of Kazan were built around the land, including the majestic Kazanski Cathedral in St Petersburg. Dozens of copies of the icon also proved miracle working.

In 1904, the icon was stolen from Russia and taken abroad by a certain Chaikin. Destiny eventually brought it to the Papal apartments, where it is kept among several revered icons. Vatican's consent to return it to the Russian Orthodox Church followed long and delicate negotiations by many public figures and officials.

Sources say the icon will be taken back to Kazan, the city where it was found more than 400 years ago.

Thought For The Week [Source: Cornish Guardian, 3/27/2003]

Two days ago the church celebrated that occasion named The Annunciation of Our Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary or Lady Day. The first authentic reference to this festival in the west is in the Gelasian Sacramentary and by the 8th century it had become universal.

In the Book of Common Prayer it is graded as a Red Letter Day and appears in the Table of Proper Lessons, being the only place where the Book of Common Prayer uses the term Annunciation of Our Lady. A spot of revision is called for now. The Gelasian Sacramentary is thus named because it first appeared in a Vatican Manuscript in the mid-8th century and is the oldest known Roman Sacramentary in which Feasts are arranged according to the ecclesiastical or church year. It is said to have been written by the nuns of Chelles in the neighbourhood of Paris, containing as it does certain Gallican or French elements.

A Red Letter Day is what it says. It signifies an important feast or Saint's day printed in church calendars in red ink.

In the Church of England the term was applied to those feasts for which the BCP provides a Collect, Epistle and Gospel because originally these feasts were highlighted in the calendar in this way.

This is the history behind March 25 but what is the significance of the Annunciation in human history? Both Matthew and Luke put emphasis on the power of the Holy Spirit in providing the world with God's Son without human participation in the usual way.

Jesus had to be the human starting point of a new race by the action of a miracle. Thus does St Paul speak of the second Adam.

The Annunciation itself was declaimed by the Angel Gabriel, this name meaning in Hebrew "man of God." He was one of the seven archangels and accorded in Jewish theology second in importance after St. Michael (who is also Protector of Cornwall).

Gabriel is deemed to be the Messenger of Divine comfort and to Roman Catholics Mary is regarded as the mother of all believers.

Indeed, it was Mary's "Yes" to Gabriel which changed the world forever.

[Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer, 4/5/2003]

The musical is on the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary within the context of her son Jesus' salvific mission in the world.

It is being performed by some of the country's best singer-actors, veteran musical-theater stalwarts led by Jingle Buena as Mary, Rito Asilo as Jesus, Andy Bais, Joel Villaflor and Shiela Asuncion, all of whom are original cast members of the country's longest-running religious musical, which has been performed all over the Philippines. Playing other important roles are Paul Marica, Arlene Borja, Ana Feleo, Ray Manalo, Janice Cruz, Oliver Oliveros, Jazmin Flores, Daryl Deongzon, Janna Villaflor and Aisha Asuncion.

New light

Together, they bring to life what has been described as "the greatest story ever told,'' but in a new light and within an illuminating context:

The musical starts its story at the Garden of Eden, at the time of Adam and Eve. Some biblical scholars have expressed the view that the original sin of Adam and Eve led to Jesus' mission of redemption on earth, made possible by His mother Mary's fiat, hence the musical's reaching back to Eden to make that insightful connection.

Also dramatized in the musical's initial scenes is another early biblical allusion to Mary, and how she vanquished evil by stepping on the serpent's head

Early references

Having set this context, the musical proceeds to hark back to early references to Jesus Christ in the Old Testament, citing prophets' visions of the redeemer-victim who would later immolate Himself for the salvation of mankind.
Then, the Virgin Mary is introduced, and the principal storytelling proceeds apace with the appearance of the carpenter Joseph, Mary visiting her pregnant cousin Elizabeth, Zacarias losing and regaining his speech, the Nativity, and the child Jesus growing in grace and wisdom in Mary and Joseph's loving care.

Act Two focuses on Jesus' adulthood, his ministry and miracles, and His eventual betrayal, capture and crucifixion, with Mary empathetically suffering along with him. And, after Jesus' resurrection, His mother Mary continues to spread His gospel with His apostles, until God calls her back to His bosom.

The April 12 performance of "Magnificat'' is timely because it will help Christians gain fresh insights into Holy Week, the observance of the passion of Jesus Christ that is the musical's principal focus, particularly in Act Two.


Especially relevant in this regard is the scene in which Mary is assaulted by devils who try to weaken her resolve by asking questions about the necessity and justice of her son's having to give up His life for humankind.

Other scenes are similarly vivid in terms of drama and insight, hence the acclaimed production's abiding popularity. And Ryan Cayabyab's inspired music raises the performance to a higher level that makes the musical an even more moving experience for audiences.

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