WHAT'S NEW?

Liturgical Season 5/20/03 World News
New Resources  Marian Events  Mary in the Secular Press
 News from the
Marian Library
 Prayer Corner News Archives

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 Feasts of The Ascension and Pentecost in the company of Mary see:

In preparation for the month of May, use the following:

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 May.

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 May 16.  Previous Reflections are listed on our Rosary Index.

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New Resources

We have revised and updated Marian Prayers of Pope John Paul II, and our illustrated reflections on the Litany of Loreto.

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  News from the Marian Library

Current Exhibit Extended!

Native American Madonnas by Father Guiliani was scheduled for display in the Marian Library Gallery from March 10 to May 5, 2003, but may still be seen through June 15.  The Gallery is open 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

Upcoming MSA meeting in Los Angeles

The 2003 meeting of the Mariological Society of America (May 21-24, 2003) will be held at St. Mary's College, Chalon campus, in Los Angeles, California. The campus is located very nearby the Getty Museum. It will be the third of three meetings in the Series entitled: "The Marian Dimension of the Christian Life: Historical Perspectives." The 2003 meeting will deal with 19th and 20th century developments, with special attention to Mary's role in evangelization.  

We will attempt to broadcast the daily presentations.  Click into the appropriate link below.

Wednesday (May 21): Presidential Address (starts at 7:30 p.m.)
Thursday (May 22): Three sessions (starts at 9:15 a.m., ends around 5:00 p.m.)
Friday (May 23): Three sessions (starts at 9:15 a.m., ends around 3:30 p.m.)
Saturday (May 24): Two sessions (starts at 9:15 a.m., ends around Noon)

N.B.  The times above are for L.A. (i.e. Western time zone).

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

Meeting of the Mariological Society of Korea (MSK) [Source: Dr. Sophia Choi]

The MSK met for the second time on April 26, 2003 at the Korean Marian Library (KML) in Seoul, South Korea.  The MSK was founded to encourage and promote Marian spirituality in the Korean Church.  Although of recent foundation, the MSK has attracted the interest of many people.  The meeting of April 26 was dedicated to the study of the Immaculate Conception.  It was based on the presentation by Fr. Kim Kwang Soo titled "Sources and Significance of the Immaculate Conception."  During the same meeting important decisions were made, among them, the translation into Korean of articles printed in Marian Studies, Marianum and Theotokos.

Praying the Rosary in a Taxi - why not?

It is yellow and black and hangs from the rearview mirror of many black-yellow cabs in Buenos Aires ... the rosary of cab drivers.  According to AICA, an Argentina Press Association report of April 2, 2003, Galéon Radio & TV Production made an audiotape in order to promote the rosary of cab drivers.  This is to acknowledge the Marian devotion among cab drivers.

The initiative evolved together with the priest, José Maria Casadevall, who was assigned by Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, with the responsibility for the pastoral care of taxi drivers.

On the jacket of the tape is written: Application of the joyful, luminous, sorrowful and glorious mysteries in daily life.  Beneath the photo appears the title: 'Rosary of Taxi Drivers' and three questions: What? How? and Why?  For more info (in German and Spanish, respectively) see: http://www.schoenstatt.de/news2003/04April/3t0432de_argetina_taxistas_rosenkranz.htm or http://www.schoenstatt.de/news2003/04April/3t0432sp_argentina_taxistas_rosenkranz.htm.

ALL BAPTIZED HAVE RIGHT-DUTY TO ASSIST IN MISSIONARY WORK

VATICAN CITY, MAY 16, 2003 (VIS)

Pope John Paul this morning welcomed 150 participants in the general assembly of the Superior Council of National Directors of the Pontifical Missionary Works, including Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the Congregation to which the Missionary Works are entrusted.

In his talk to the directors, the Pope highlighted their mission of "showing the Pope's concern for all Churches" and of "promoting and sustaining missionary ardor in all the People of God," with special efforts to help the Churches most in need. He added that "one of the principal scopes of the Missionary Works is to kindle vocations 'ad gentes' and to life, in both the ancient Churches as well as the young ones." …

Noting that May is the month of Mary and of the Rosary, he spoke of the "highly evocative missionary rosary," where each decade is a different color, calling to mind a different continent: "white for old Europe, that it may be capable of reappropriating the evangelizing strength which generated so many Churches; yellow for Asia, exploding with life and youth; green for Africa, tried by suffering; ... red for America, a greenhouse of new missionary strength and the blue decade for the continent of Oceania, which awaits a capillary spreading of the Gospel."

AC/PONTIFICAL MISSIONARY WORKS/SEPE VIS 030516 (680)

CARDINAL SODANO COMMEMORATES POPE'S TRIP TO KAZAKHSTAN

VATICAN CITY, MAY 16, 2003 (VIS)

Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State, left today for a four-day visit to Kazakhstan following an invitation by Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of the Republic, and other officials. The purpose of the trip is to commemorate the apostolic pilgrimage that the Holy Father made to Astana, the country's capital, in 2001.…

On Sunday May 18 in the city of Karaganda, Cardinal Sodano will preside at a solemn Eucharistic celebration. He will also bless the first stone of the new Cathedral and will visit a seminary dedicated to "Mary Queen of the Church."

From Zenit

Mary As Seen by Orthodox, Protestants, and Catholics

Round Table Reflects on "Mary and the Churches"

ROME, MAY 15, 2003 (Zenit.org)

The Virgin Mary has become more of a link between the Christian Churches than a point of departure, a fact that became the subject of a round table discussion in the Pontifical Marianum Faculty in Rome.

Though Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants believe in Mary, there are differences in devotion. These differences were highlighted at a round table May 14, on "Mary and the Churches," organized by the chair "Woman and Christianity," of the Pontifical "Marianum" Faculty in Rome.

Vladimir Zelinski, member of the Russian Orthodox Church and professor at the University of Florence, referred to Mary as "the only being who is between the created and the uncreated." For the Russian Orthodox, "every prayer to God is also a prayer to Mary," he said.

For Orthodoxy, "Mary is omnipresent in prayer, the liturgy, iconography and above all in the Eucharist: she is always next to her Son," he added.

Giancarlo Bruni, professor of ecumenical Theology of the Pontifical Marianum Faculty, explained that the manifestations of Catholics' relation to Mary varies according to geography and sensibilities.

Although he acknowledged that in the past there were excesses, today "we witness a Mariology of normality: Mary is accepted within the Judeo-Christian experience, which includes the call from on High."

For the Catholic representative, "Mary is the being in whom the Father, through the Son, sole Mediator, continues to console and give grace."

Protestant Pastor Fulvio Ferrario said that in Protestantism, "Mary is important to the degree that she helps to understand better the central character of Jesus Christ, sole Mediator."

Ferrario, a professor at the Waldensian Faculty of Theology (Protestant) said "the fathers of the Reformation, from Luther to Zwingli, wrote many pages on the Virgin Mary, always in a Christological context, namely, so long as the treatise on Mary had some meaning related to Jesus Christ."

"In the Reformation, we accepted the virginity of Mary in the birth of Christ and we consider those called Jesus' brothers as his cousins," he clarified.

"We pray with Mary, as Mary, but not to Mary," Ferrario explained, stressing that for followers of the Reformation there are no mediators between God and humanity, only Jesus Christ.

Cettina Militello, who heads the Chair "Woman and Christianity," stressed the need to "give more space to Mary in the framework of the Chair dedicated to study in-depth the relation between woman and Christianity."

ZE03051508

From L’Osservatore Romano

Not posted this week.

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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.

Virgin image to become an icon [Source: Sunday Mail (SA), 5/11/03]

YANKALILLA is not content to keep its miracle to itself -- it now wants to take its apparition of the Virgin Mary to the world.

The pattern of cracks on the church wall, which Father Andrew Notere and his parishioners believe is a miracle, is being converted into an icon so that believers worldwide can bask in its glory.

Fr Notere yesterday announced a partnership with the SA Tourism Commission which aims to attract 100,000 tourists a year to the Shrine to Our Lady.

"If this shrine was in Europe or South America there would be a line-up from here to Adelaide trying to get in here," he said.

Fr Notere also said a Maori spiritual group of about 30 people planned to move to Yankalilla to live close to the shrine.

"One woman is what we call a Maryan seer, in that the Virgin Mary speaks through her to the group, which will be very exciting," he said.

Tourism commission marketing communications manager Denise Von Wald said religious tourism was growing world-wide.

"We want to work closely with Fr Notere and the Anglican Church to make the most of that interest," she said.

Fr Notere also revealed the apparition was changing.

When the image first appeared to the Fleurieu Peninsula church's parishioners on the wall above the altar on August 24, 1994, it was believed to be the Virgin Mary holding the baby Christ.

"It has changed because it is no longer mother and child, it is now mother and the crucified Jesus, which is a very potent and dynamic change," Fr Notere said yesterday.

"We think Mary is shown in such a sad pose with her crucified child because she has been sent from Heaven to pull the world back from the precipice that it is wobbling on at the moment."

Despite the change, Fr Notere said almost everybody saw the apparition in its correct form.
Strathalbyn's Fr Trevor Jackson is putting the finishing touches on the icon, to hang in churches around the world.

"Some people would say that writing the icon is being suggestive but I can live with that because this is how most people see the apparition," Fr Notere said, adding that the Yankalilla icon -- an elaborate painting using traditional methods dating back to the sixth century -- would be the first of Mary holding her crucified son.

The icon will hang over another priceless gift to the Yankalilla church -- a framed shred of wood believed to come from the cross upon which Jesus was crucified.

Fr Notere said that, unlike other Virgin Mary sighting spots, Yankalilla continued to provide people with mysterious experiences.

"Other phenomena have come and gone but Yankalilla seems to keep going," he said.

Woman's Reports of Visions of Virgin Divide Faithful [Source: The Washington Post, 5/11/03]

The Virgin Mary usually arrives about 7:30 in the evening. Every day but Friday, believers say, she appears at Gianna Talone Sullivan's home overlooking a golf course near Emmitsburg to dispense words of wisdom, advice and, sometimes, warning.

To believers, the details of Mary's apparitions are well known: She wears a veil, has brown hair and blue eyes, and emerges from a bright light. Her visits vary in timing and duration.

"It depends on what's going on," said Michael Sullivan, 53, Talone Sullivan's husband and spokesman. "If we're at home and were not going anywhere, it's usually between 7:30 and 8:30."

Sullivan, a tall, bearded doctor who favors polo shirts and tasseled loafers, does not see the Blessed Mother when she appears to his wife. Neither have the thousands who have flocked to Emmitsburg over the years to receive Mary's messages, transcribed by Talone Sullivan on spiral notebooks.

Roman Catholic Church officials, in Baltimore and at the Vatican, cast a skeptical eye on the alleged apparitions, recently ruling them definitively not supernatural. But many of Talone Sullivan's supporters remain firm in their faith. And even doubters acknowledge that the apparitions, real or not, have profoundly changed tiny St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Emmitsburg and, by extension, the Frederick County town, which has one stoplight, 2,300 residents and a long history of devotion to the mother of Jesus.

"I've been a priest for 45 years, and I had never experienced anything like this," said the Rev. Al Pehrsson, pastor at St. Joseph's from 1989 to 1996 and now a priest in Alabama. "There was a quiet joy among the hundreds of people who had come, from Rhode Island to Virginia. . . . There was no fanaticism at all."

Two years ago, the Baltimore Archdiocese ordered Talone Sullivan, 46, to stop her weekly prayer meetings at St. Joseph's, and archdiocesan officials announced last month that the Vatican had affirmed the decision, which held that the visions were constat de non supernaturalitate, or "consistently not supernatural."

The ruling "is the end of the process for the church," said archdiocese spokesman Steve Kearney. "It's over."

Sullivan said he and his wife stopped the prayer service at the church, but they won't stop spreading the Blessed Mother's messages by word of mouth and the Internet.

"Our position is to undergo whatever persecution or humiliation is required but remain obedient to the church," Sullivan said.

Talone Sullivan, a pharmacologist who, as a child, was a ventriloquist and acted in television commercials, has declined requests for interviews since 2000, when church officials asked her not to talk to the news media. Through her husband, she declined to speak for this article.

Emmitsburg is known among Catholics for having a connection with the Virgin Mary going back to the early 1800s. The nearby Grotto of Lourdes, which features a towering golden statue of the Blessed Mother, says it draws 500,000 visitors a year. Mount St. Mary's, one of the nation's oldest seminaries, was founded in Emmitsburg in 1808.

Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first U.S.-born saint, lived in Emmitsburg from 1809 until her death in 1821.

Talone Sullivan, a diminutive woman with an earnest smile, came to this haven for Mary devotees in 1993, after claiming to have her first apparitions of the Blessed Mother at her home in Scottsdale, Ariz., in 1987.

In November of that year, Sullivan said, his wife started seeing the Blessed Mother at the St. Maria Goretti Church in Scottsdale while on a lunch break from work.

In January 1993, Sullivan said, Mary appeared to his wife in Emmitsburg while they were on a pilgrimage and told them to move to Emmitsburg.

Since 1993, the couple has lived in a rambling home with a basketball hoop at one end of the driveway and an automated security gate at the other. The house, in the hills near Fairfield, Pa., is about eight miles north of Emmitsburg. They came because the Blessed Mother asked them to, Sullivan said.

In 1992, Talone Sullivan founded Mission of Mercy, a nonprofit agency that provides medical care to poor and uninsured people across Maryland. Last year, the organization treated more than 13,000 patients at nine clinics in Maryland and Pennsylvania, according to the group's annual report.

At their peak in 2000, services at St. Joseph's in which Talone Sullivan claimed to be transcribing Mary's words typically attracted close to 1,000 people, Pehrsson said.

For the Roman Catholic hierarchy, Talone Sullivan's popularity tapped into a trend that has concerned church officials for years -- people claiming direct connection with God, often through the Virgin Mary. Images of the Blessed Mother, for example, are said to have appeared in a mosaic at Our Lady of the Pillar Roman Catholic Church in Santa Ana, Calif., in 1991, and on an Atlanta billboard in 1991.

Theologians say the number of reports of visions of Mary has ballooned in recent decades. Excerpts from the report on Talone Sullivan's visions issued by the Baltimore Archdiocese note "a growing addiction to the spectacular."

"We think that the Church should not promote or encourage persons claiming to have extraordinary channels to God," wrote the archdiocesan commission, made up of three priests, that looked into the visions.

It is just that alleged contact with God that can attract crowds to people who claim to have supernatural visionary powers, said Joe Nickell, a senior research fellow at the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal and a columnist for the magazine, Skeptical Inquirer.

"Instead of just sitting passively in church, being told how to behave, here is something in which you actually are participating, and miracles are going off like flashbulbs all around you," Nickell said. "This is experiential. . . . You could personally have hopes, at least, of experiencing these things yourself."

"The commission unanimously concluded that there is no evidence of supernatural intervention in the Emmitsburg messages," Cardinal William H. Keeler, the archbishop of Baltimore, wrote in September. "Its members are concerned, however, about some alarming language, in evident conflict with traditional Catholic teaching and the Scriptures from which this teaching flows."

Keeler was referring to several apocalyptic visions, including one in which Mary, via Talone Sullivan, prophesied the death of all the world's fish.

There are several Mary apparitions that the church has come to accept: a 1917 appearance to three children in Fatima, Portugal, and an 1858 apparition at Lourdes, France.

To some whose lives lacked mystery and mysticism, Talone Sullivan's visions gave a hint of the supernatural.

"It really was one of the most amazing religious experiences of my life," said Marti O'Neill, 41, an accountant who lives in Upper Marlboro and attended two of Talone Sullivan's Thursday night prayer services.

"I met so many people who were sick. . . . People who really come looking for miracles. I dare say that everyone left with something," O'Neill said.

Part of Talone Sullivan's appeal, O'Neill and other supporters say, is her ordinariness.

"She's just like a soccer mom," O'Neill said. "She's just a normal person that has been given a great gift, as well as a great burden."

Her husband said she tries to avoid the limelight.

"We are just instruments," said Sullivan, seated in the living room where he, his wife and their 7-year-old daughter pray before an altar decorated with saint figurines. Behind him were photographs of his wife's deceased parents and a three-foot-tall crucifix.

"Gianna is just a messenger," he said.

Millions say Lourdes prayer [Source: Sunday Mail (Queensland, Australia), 5/4/03]

Since the Virgin Mary popped up in Lourdes nearly 150 years ago, the faithful have been flocking to the small French town. Graham Stephenson joined the pilgrims.

AT THE foot of the Pyrenees mountains in southwestern France lies a town with a population of about 15,000 people.

With its picturesque market, little shops, rugby team and simple parochial lifestyle, it seems like most other towns in this part of France.

The difference is it's dominated by a fortified castle with the Gave River running through its centre. And every year, it has more than 5.5 million visitors from 150 countries.

This is Lourdes, a place of 360 hotels and 20 camping sites but, above all, a place of miracles and a place of pilgrimage.

It all goes back to February 11, 1858, when an apparition appeared before a 14-year-old peasant girl in a small grotto where pigs sheltered on the banks of the river. The girl was Bernadette Soubirous and the apparition was that of a lady wearing a white gown with a blue belt and a yellow rose on each foot.

In the next five months, the lady appeared 18 times, each time giving Bernadette messages of poverty, prayer, penance and church.

At one meeting, the lady asked her to "kiss the ground, crawl on her knees and eat the grass for sinners and go drink at the spring and wash yourself". But there was no spring -- until Bernadette scraped a hole in the earth and fresh water bubbled up through the mud.

The water has been flowing ever since. It is still the source of water for the holy baths and drinking fountains.

The lady told Bernadette that she was "the Immaculate Conception."

The Catholic Church investigated, and in 1862 declared that the Virgin Mary had appeared to Bernadette--the founding of the phenomenon of Lourdes.

Each year more than 70,000 sick and handicapped people come to Lourdes, accompanied by helpers, nurses and doctors.

On my first visit, I stood in disbelief, trying to grasp what I was seeing. Twice a day, thousands of pilgrims in wheelchairs line up for the Blessed Sacrament Procession and the Blessing of the Sick before moving on to the grotto, the water fountains or to be bathed in the holy waters of the baths. Their faith shines through.

Lourdes is big business, for both church and town, with multitudes of hotels and cafes and hundreds of tourist-trap shops lining the avenues heading to Sanctuaire Notre-Dame de Lourdes.

Here they sell everything from plastic bottles of all shapes and sizes to collect the holy water to the most incredible range of knick-knacks: key rings, fridge magnets, statues (including ones that glow) and paintings (also including ones that glow).

You make your way to the complex via St Joseph's Gate, past the huge statue of the Crowned Virgin to the sanctuaries of our Lady of Lourdes. You pass the information centre and a host of holy structures.

These include the modern underground Basilica of Saint Pius X, which can hold 20,000 people, the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, the Crypt, the beautiful Rosary Basilica, the Church of St. Bernadette and the Chapel of Reconciliation. Then it's on to the water fountains, the Grotto of Massabielle and finally the baths.

Up on the hillside is the Way of the Cross, each station portrayed by a group of larger-than-life figures in a truly dramatic and rugged setting.

Candles play a very important role in the pilgrimage and there are thousands used every day, some standing more than a metre tall.

Staff members recycle the wax as they burn down.

The nightly candlelight rosary procession is not to be missed. Thousands of pilgrims wind their way in a long train, candles held on high, all singing and praying.

It's a moving and memorable experience, whatever your faith.

IF YOU GO

Lourdes is located in southwestern France on the western edge of the Midi-Pyrenees.

From Tarbes, take the N21 south for 20km.

There are dozens of websites available, but for the official site, try www.lourdes-france.com

Religious leaders condemn Jesus and Mary sandals [Source: Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 5/15/03]

A Danish grocery chain has removed from sale beach sandals with pictures of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary on the upper soles following angry protests from religious leaders, news reports said Thursday.

The Kvickly chain withdrew the remaining stocks of the offending sandals in the face of criticism from both Lutheran clerics and a Catholic priest, who filed a charge of blasphemy against the company.

Others dismissed the Jesus and Mary decorated flip-flops as "religious kitsch."

Kvickly, owned by Coop Danmark, had sold around 4,000 pair of the blue Jesus and pink Mary sandals before taking them off the shelves of its outlets across the country.

A group of Iraqi Christians destroyed the entire stock of the sandals in one store in protest.

"It was crucial for Coop Danmark's decision that such a broad sector of the population had taken offence," the company said in a statement.

Coop Denmark had received more than 200 complaints from the public.

Lutheran Bishop Jan Lindhardt of Roskilde parish 30 kilometres west of Copenhagen slammed Kvickly for not removing the controversial sandals immediately rather than waiting to see how well they sold.

"This is particularly tasteless and offensive for many people. They (Kvickly) should be more aware about what they are selling," said Lindhardt.

The strong reaction to the sandals was surprising in that statistics show less than one per cent of Danes belong to the Catholic Church, and only five per cent regularly worship in the state-financed Lutheran Church, to which 84 per cent of the population belong.

OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE ENTHRONED AT MANILA CATHEDRAL'S ST. JUDE CHAPEL [Source: Philippine Daily Enquirer, 5/11/03]

A DIGITALIZED laser-true copy of the icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of Mexico and also of the Philippines, is now enthroned at St. Jude Chapel of the Manila Cathedral. This means that one can now pray to the Virgin Mary under this title as if one was seeing the original icon in Mexico.

This was made possible by Cemex Philippines when Francisco Cue, then president, hand-carried two rolls of the icon from Mexico to Manila and Cebu.

The one for Manila was blessed in ceremonies on April 22 with the Filipino-Mexican community present. Bishop Teodoro Buhain officiated in the Mass, together with Msgr. Nestor Cerbo and other priests. Cardinal Ricardo Vidal blessed the icon last May 7 with Bishop Isabelo Abarquez at Cebu Cathedral.

Juris Umali-Soliman, corporate communications director of Cemex Philippines and a devotee of the Virgin of Guadalupe, requested Cue if it would be possible for all this to happen. Cue made all this come true before he occupied that post of global head of procurement of Cemex-Mexico. The new president of Cemex Philippines is Jaime Ruiz de Haro.

Am I not here, your mother?

The Virgin appeared to Juan Diego between Dec. 9 and 11, 1531. She left a miraculous sign, her own image, imprinted on his tilma. The pregnant Mary was blocking the sun, and wearing a cape covered with stars.

And she told Juan Diego, a 57-year-old Indian, "Hear and let me penetrate your heart, my dear little son. Let nothing discourage you. Let nothing depress you. Let nothing alter your heart or your countenance. Am I not here, your mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy, your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle? In the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need? Do not fear any illness or vexation or pain!"

Our Lady of Guadalupe is the official patroness of the Philippines. In 1999 Pope John Paul II entrusted to her care all children, especially the unborn.

Virgen de los Remedios

The people of Pampanga will mark the feast day of their patroness, Virgen de los Remedios, on the third Saturday of May which falls on May 17 this year. The shrine of the Virgin is located in Barrio Baliti, San Fernando and the parish priest is Fr. Mar Miranda. Novena Masses are ongoing at 7 p.m.

Fiesta Masses are at 5:30 a.m., 6:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. At 6 p.m., Archbishop Aniceto will con-celebrate the Mass with other priests.

Philatelist Jorge Cuyugan has requested the postmaster general for the issuance of a commemorative stamp of the Virgen de los Remedios.

Sept. 8, 2003 will be the official date of the launching of the stamp to coincide with the commemoration of the first Marian Crusade in Pampanga in 1952. The Virgin was brought to all churches in Pampanga asking for her protection and help in making the province peaceful and prosperous.

Dance that unites

The Kilinkingan bird always flies over Callao Cave in Penablanca, Cagayan. In a dance presentation at the recent Aliwan Festival, the dancers moved and jumped with the image of Our Lady of Piat at the helm. She is the one who inspires us to be united, according to Inday Lara, wife of Cagayan Gov. Edgar Lara. The province of Cagayan is peopled with different tribes: Itawes, Ilocanos and Ibanags.

St. Michael of Tangub

St. Michael the Archangel is the patron of Tangub, Misamis Occidental. Its former mayor Philip Tan and current mayor Jenny Tan are devotees of the saint. They told me how St. Michael always helps them in every endeavor for their constituents.

The 185 team members of the Dalit Festival who came over to Manila by boat prayed first to St. Michael before they set out. When they were here, they attended Masses at St. Michael Church in Solana, San Miguel district.

In the number presented for the Aliwan Festival, the dancers in Filipiniana costumes performed with the image of St. Michael which was carried by the dancers. They may not have won the competition which was sponsored by Manila Broadcasting Company, Department of Tourism (DOT) and the city of Manila, but they were happy just the same because they had St. Michael with them.

Flores de Mayo

The Congregacion del Santissimo Nobre del Nino Jesus, together with Unilever, DOT and the city of Manila, will hold a Flores de Mayo today from Fort Santiago to Roxas Blvd., then to the Wow Philippines festival area in Intramuros. Twenty-seven sagalas, dressed by Fashion Designers Association of the Philippines, will grace the occasion.

Our Lady of the Abandoned

The district of Sta. Ana, Manila will celebrate the feast of Our Lady of the Abandoned in Sta. Ana Church on May 12. Devotees can attend the novena and Masses. Fiesta day Masses are at 5 a.m., 6 a.m., 7 a.m., 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., with Fr. Art Daquilenea, minister provincial of Franciscans in the Philippines, celebrating the Mass. Afternoon Masses are at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Procession will be held today at 6 p.m.

Virgin Mary "appears" in German town--throngs gather [Source: Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 5/7/03]

Busloads of pilgrims are converging on the tiny Rhineland hamlet of Sievernich this spring following reports that the Virgin Mary has appeared to a local woman on at least nine separate occasions in recent months.

A flourishing trade in souvenirs and snack foods has sprung up in this sleepy village of 450 residents some 20 kilometres west of Bonn to accommodate the throngs who descend each Monday--the day of each previous appearance.

While Roman Catholic Church authorities in nearby Aachen have attempted to play down the whole affair, news has spread on the Internet of pilgrims experiencing miracle cures during visits to the village church even on those Mondays when the Virgin Mary has failed to "appear."

The German press has carried reports that a woman with terminal cancer visited Sievernich and that her illness is now in remission. There was also the claim that a child with a severe illness had made a dramatic recovery. Amid the influx of pilgrims, a cottage industry has sprung up, with vendors selling Virgin Mary postcards and miniature plastic Our Lady Immaculate figurines along with hot grilled sausages for those whose hunger is not only spiritual but also material.

The crowds thinned for a time after Aachen Bishop Heinrich Mussinghoff issued a statement last autumn saying no appearances were forthcoming and urging people against listening to unfounded rumours.

But the crowds this spring are bigger than ever now that a new appearance has been reported and following completion in April of a life-sized statue of the Virgin Mary.

The statue, which stands in the courtyard of the neo-Gothic stone St John the Baptist Church in the middle of Sievernich, is said to represent the vision which has appeared to the local woman nine times since October 2001.

The 35-year-old woman, who identifies herself only as Manuela and who refuses all interviews with the news media, claims the mother of God has appeared to her on a series of Mondays with messages of hope for the faithful.

Manuela says the apparition is always the same: A serenely beautiful woman in white gown and gleaming gold crown holding blue rosary beads in her left hand and pointing toward her heart with her right hand. From the heart come golden rays of light.

The statue, surrounded by flowers and shrubs and shielded from the elements by a large, white umbrella which sways gently in the breeze, forms the focal point for the busloads of pilgrims.

Before the statue was erected there was nothing to see in the church yard outside the modest stone structure. Now the pilgrims gather in rapt silence a few metres in front of the statue for prayers and hymn-singing, watching intently for any sign of a vision.

Every Monday Manuela is also present to take part in the prayers and to talk with visitors, while turning her back on TV cameras. She never speaks to the press but gladly answers questions of the faithful who come to ask what the Immaculate Virgin has told her.

Afterwards, pilgrims are permitted to come forward to touch the statue and place flowers at its feet and to kiss the rosary in its hands. That is when the reports of cures start.

"I felt a prickly sensation, a warmth through my entire body," one elderly man told N-24 television after touching the statue.

"It was a feeling of love and of goodness that flowed through me," said a young woman on the verge of tears. "I felt refreshed afterwards and full of energy. I wanted to go out and kiss everyone I met and tell them of God's love."

Little is known about Manuela except that she has a small child and lives a short distance away.

Sievernich village Priest, Heribert Kleemann, vouches for her faith and for her credibility as a witness. He has known her for nearly 20 years and can attest to the fact that, prior to that first "appearance" on October 15, 2001, she was not all that active in religious affairs.

"She is not some religious nut," he said in an interview. "She is as puzzled by all of this as anybody and I believe she is honestly telling what she believes she saw."

While the Virgin Mary has never appeared to him, Father Kleemann says Manuela is special.

"She is a very down-to-earth woman with lots of common sense and lots of charisma," he said. "Naturally, I can't vouch for the authenticity of what she says she has seen. I can't prove it. But I can't disprove it, either. And I think it is entirely possible."

Ruth has help to spread her Bible message [Source: The Gloucester Citizen, 5/14/03]

For the past thirteen years the missionary nun has traveled thousands of miles, to more than 200 countries, with her 3ft statue of the Virgin Mary--her mission: to bring religion to the masses. Her message: the Apocalypse, as predicted in the Bible, which she says will be in 2006.

The 62-year-old has devoted her life to journeying around the globe, and says she has only 30 more countries to visit, before she completes her world tour just before the end of the world. Sister Ruth said: "I have been studying the Bible and particularly the book of the Apocalypse, and it has predicted world events such as September 11 and the war in Iraq.

"It has predicted that there will be a great nuclear war in 2006 and I feel as though time is running out and I need to get God's message across to people.

"I go into pubs, supermarkets and shopping halls just carrying the statue. A lot of people approach me and tell me their problems.

"It's a lot easier to approach someone like that rather than in a church. Not everyone goes to church." But not all her traveling experiences have been pleasant. Throughout the years, Sister Ruth says she has experienced abuse, persecution and death threats from Satanists, and has been tailed by everyone from the KGB to the Mafia.

She said: "Most of the time I have been very scared but nothing will stop me." Originally brought up in Birmingham by nuns, Sister Ruth began her mission after being inspired by the Bible's Book of Revelation.

Arriving in Gloucester, the first place she wanted to visit was the Cathedral.

Sister Ruth said she was particularly impressed with the reception she received in the county claiming that Gloucestershire was "a more spiritual county than many others in England."

She added: "It's amazing how kind people are to a complete stranger. I get a different reception from every country I go to.

"In Italy I got a very good reception, as they're a Catholic country. But in other places I've been told to go away." Sister Ruth started her travels with a 4ft statue but gave it to a group of Hong Kong Christians. In return they gave her the 3ft one.

It has not traveled unscathed. The right hand fell off when she was praying with prostitutes in a shop window in Amsterdam.

Sister Ruth will be in the county for the next few days and says anyone who would like to talk to her is welcome to approach her, and, with her statue, she is certainly readily identifiable.

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