CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 7, 2003 (Zenit.org)
John Paul II launched the final stage of the Year of the Rosary by beginning a
series of meditations on the Marian prayer.
When the Pope met today with several thousand pilgrims gathered at the papal
summer residence to pray the Angelus, he reminded them that on Oct. 7 he plans
to travel to the Shrine of Pompeii, near Naples, Italy, "center of the
spirituality of the rosary." "It will be a particularly significant
moment in the Year of the Rosary, inaugurated last Oct. 16 with the signing of
the apostolic letter 'Rosarium Virginis Mariae,'" he said.
The Year of the Rosary culminates Oct. 19 during the 25th anniversary
celebrations of John Paul II's pontificate.
In the weeks ahead the Holy Father will dedicate his Sunday meeting with
pilgrims to meditate on the mysteries of the rosary: the joyful, luminous,
sorrowful and glorious.
"The joyful mysteries make us contemplate the joy that radiates from the
event of the Incarnation; a joy that does not ignore the drama of the human
condition, but springs from the awareness that the Lord is at hand," he
The scenes of the joyful mysteries are: the Angel's annunciation to Mary; the
visitation to her cousin Elizabeth; the birth of Jesus; the presentation in the
Temple; and the finding of Jesus in the Temple. To understand the joyful
mysteries, the Pope said, it is necessary to recall the Angel's words to Mary
when announcing Jesus' birth: "Rejoice!"
When we relive these moments of the rosary, "Mary helps us to learn the
secret of Christian joy, reminding us that Christianity is above all 'euanghelion'--good news--which has its center, indeed its very content, in the person of
Christ," the Holy Father explained.
Thus, the rosary is a "simple prayer of great profundity," he
added. "Well prayed, it introduces one to a living experience of the divine
mystery and inspires in hearts, families and the whole community that peace of
which we are in such great need."
On the Rosary, and an Upcoming Pilgrimage
"Mary Helps Us to Learn the Secret of Christian Joy"
CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 7, 2003 (Zenit.org)
Here is a translation of the address John Paul II gave today when praying the
midday Angelus with pilgrims gathered at the summer papal residence. The address
was in Italian.
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
1. Exactly in one month's time, on Oct. 7, God willing, I hope to go to the
Shrine of Pompeii. It will be a particularly significant moment of the Year of
the Rosary, inaugurated last Oct. 16 with the signing in St. Peter's Square of
the apostolic letter "Rosarium Virginis Mariae." I wish to initiate
today a pilgrimage toward that famous Marian temple, center of the spirituality
of the rosary, contemplating with Mary the face of Christ in his joyful,
luminous, sorrowful and glorious mysteries.
The liturgical feast of the Nativity of the Holy Virgin, which is celebrated
tomorrow, Sept. 8, is particularly propitious to undertake this spiritual
journey. Her birth, in fact, constitutes a sort of "prologue" to the
Incarnation: Mary, as dawn, precedes the sun of the "new day,"
pre-announcing the joy of the Redeemer.
2. The joyful mysteries make us contemplate this joy "that radiates from
the event of the Incarnation" ("Rosarium Virginis Mariae," 20); a
joy that does not ignore the drama of the human condition, but springs from the
awareness that "the Lord is at hand" (see Philippians 4:5), indeed,
that "God is with us" (Matthew 1:23; see Isaiah 7:14).
"Rejoice!" The joyful invitation of the Angel sheds a ray of light
on all five joyful mysteries. In them, "Mary helps us to learn the secret
of Christian joy, reminding us that Christianity is above all 'euanghelion,'
good news, which has its center, indeed its very content, in the person of
Christ" ("Rosarium Virginis Mariae," 20).
3. May the Virgin Mary help the Christian people to rediscover the holy
rosary as a simple prayer of great profundity. Well prayed, it introduces one to
a living experience of the divine mystery and inspires in hearts, families, and
the whole community that peace of which we are in such great need.
[Translation by ZENIT]
[After praying the Angelus, John Paul II greeted the pilgrims in several
languages. In English, he said:]
I warmly welcome the English-speaking visitors present at this Angelus
prayer. May Almighty God continue to bless all of you with peace and joy.
Fatima, Past and Present
Shrine's Rector Talks of Historical Impact of Apparitions
RIMINI, Italy, SEPT. 4, 2003 (Zenit.org)
The secret of Fatima has made its mark on the history of the 20th century, says
the rector of the Marian shrine in Portugal. It is "a reality which has
marked the past, speaks about our present, and looks at the future of
humanity," Monsignor Luciano Guerra said when speaking on "Fatima at
the Heart of History," at the recent "Meeting for Friendship Among
Peoples." That weeklong event was organized by the Communion and Liberation
Reflecting on the mystery of the Blessed Virgin's apparitions 86 years ago,
the rector said: "Fatima is in the heart that makes the heart of history
move." "Its secret is the most important for history because it speaks
about war and the future," he said. "Since August 1917, the year of
the first apparition of the Virgin, it has been at the center of the thinking of
the people and the authorities," Monsignor Guerra said. "There are
numerous questions, starting with the authenticity of the apparitions, recounted
by the three little shepherds, in face of a reality that over the past 60 years
makes the content of the prophetic messages even more acute."
Portuguese journalist Aura Miguel, an expert on the apparitions, also
addressed the meeting. "The present importance of the secret of Fatima
consists in the inseparable connection that links it to the Pope," she
"The link is evident between the vision of the man dressed in white who
falls to the ground and the murderous attack on the Pope, who miraculously
survived; it all happened on May 13, anniversary of the first apparition in
Fatima," Miguel said. While in the hospital, John Paul II asked that all
the documentation relating to Fatima be given to him. After reading it, he
realized that the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary had
to take place, the journalist said.
"The year of the consecration, we witnessed the opening of Russia to the
West and the fall of the Berlin Wall," Miguel said. The Pope then
interpreted the attempt on his life as the incident that shed light on the
meaning of the mystery of Fatima, which continues to be relevant. "There
are still too many Christians being persecuted, and the heart that is open to
God is stronger than all the guns of the world," Miguel concluded.
Rosary-A-Thon Aims to Help the Pope, and Charities
Oct. 16 Event to Mark Silver Anniversary and Raise Funds for the Poor
COLD SPRING, New York, SEPT. 4, 2003 (Zenit.org)
U.S. Catholics can celebrate the 25th anniversary of John Paul II's papacy--and raise funds for the poor and families at the same time.
Participants in the Pope Day Rosary-A-Thon plan to collect tax-deductible
financial contributions for this Web-based event (www.popeday.info)
scheduled for Oct. 16. On that day the participants will pray the new luminous
mysteries for the Pope and for the intentions of their sponsors.
"Pope Day began as a grass-roots celebration of the Pope," said
Peter McFadden, president of the Love and Responsibility Foundation, which is
organizing the Rosary-A-Thon with Catholic World Mission.
"Local celebrations always include Mass and other prayers for the Pope,
but this year for the 25th anniversary celebration, we wanted to involve more
families and schools, as well as find a way that all the local celebrations
could be somehow 'joined together' in spirit," said McFadden, whose group is
based in Cold Spring. "The Rosary-A-Thon is the great way to do that."
Ken Davison, executive director of Connecticut-based Catholic World Mission,
said, "We want to give the Holy Father a gift of love--at least 1 million
people praying the rosary for him on Pope Day this year."
Funds raised will be given to two nonprofit programs: Catholic World Mission,
which works to house the poor in Latin America; and the Love and Responsibility
Foundation, which conducts marriage preparation and training programs based on
the teachings of John Paul II. Registration is open to individuals, families and
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.
Grotto statues damaged in Co Kerry [Source: The Irish
A group of statues in a community grotto, a place of prayer in a
quiet rural village near Farranfore Airport, Co Kerry, have been damaged beyond
repair, and one has been stolen. Father Pat Sugrue, the parish priest of Currow,
said it was a deliberate act on Saturday night last, and the vandals must have
used heavy stones to damage the statues of the kneeling St Bernadette and the
elevated statue of the Virgin Mary.
"The face was ripped from St Bernadette as if done with a
sledgehammer," Father Sugrue said.
A small statue of the Infant Child of Prague was taken from the grotto.
Art Thieves Captured On Candid Camera [Source: Sun Herald
SURVEILLANCE cameras caught the theft of one of Leonardo da
Vinci's most emblematic Madonna paintings from a castle in southern Scotland on
"The images taken from the Drumlanrig Castle closed-captioned television
system show the men involved in the theft of the painting," said a police
spokeswoman in the Dumfries and Galloway region.
"They can be seen making efforts to conceal their facial features,"
Two thieves posed as visitors before overpowering a female guide and making off
with the painting.
The spokeswoman said the surveillance images showed two men leaving the scene
together with two accomplices in a white car.
Police on Wednesday said they were seeking four men spotted driving around in a
white Volkswagen car near the castle.
The car was found that evening in woods east of the castle.
Police released footage of the suspects as well as a computer sketch of a man
who bought the thieves' getaway car about two weeks ago.
The stolen painting, dating from 1501 and generally known as the Madonna Of The
Yarnwinder, shows the Virgin Mary in deep blue and the infant Jesus, who holds a
spindle resembling a cross, against a background of jagged blue mountains.
The painting was the jewel of a rich collection that also included works by
Rembrandt and Holbein. It hung in a prominent position in the hall of the
17th-century castle, which belongs to the Duke of Buccleuch.
The painting is considered one of Britain's most important.
It is comparable in value to Raphael's Madonna Of The Pinks, which is estimated
to be worth $US50 million ($A78 million), said Ossian Ward, editor of Art Review
More than 30 police officers have been mobilised to investigate the case and
track the thieves.
A large reward has been offered for information that would lead to the
painting's recovery, an expert at Lloyd's of London insurance company said.
THE HEART OF LOUISIANA; Our soulful connection to Spain is
illustrated in the art treasures spanning 1,500 years of religious
transformation at the Alexandria Museum of Art [Source: Times Picayune (New
Orleans, LA), 8/31/2003]
Concha Bengoechea pried opened the metal clamps sealing a white
wooden box the size of a large suitcase. Inside were three layers of Styrofoam,
engineered to absorb shock, and a 22-by-20-inch package, wrapped in more fine
foam packing. Bengoechea tenderly lifted out the package, a framed painting, and
cradled it as she lowered it to a work table.
Unwrapped, face up, the painting depicts Christopher Columbus, on his knees,
accepting a blessing from the Virgin Mary, before he embarks on his voyage of
discovery of the New World. Painted in oil on wood circa 1540, this anonymous
work is the only known portrait of Columbus, from which all others are derived.
The painting allegorically shows the historical beginning of the Spanish
influence in the colony that one day would become Louisiana.
The "Virgin of Christopher Columbus" can be seen, along with an
extraordinary collection of religious artwork from Spain, at the Alexandria
Museum of Art. On display are 103 pieces of art worth more than $60 million and
spanning 1,500 years of Spanish religious transformation. The show, titled
"The Heart of Spain," will be on display for 90 days, officially
opening Monday and running through Nov. 30.
Bengoechea is a specialist in the art world. She restores works that have been
damaged over time. Varnish yellows, paint cracks, wooden sculptures begin to
come apart, colors fade. Bengoechea, who works for the Museum of the Lazaro
Galdiano Foundation in Madrid, one of the lending institutions for the exhibit,
restored much of the art in the show.
Her black hair setting off her oval face and olive skin, Concha Bengoechea looks
like a peasant Madonna who could have stepped right out of the art she has been
so carefully restoring. But rather than blessing a penitent, she was fiercely
focused on supervising the climatization of each painting. The art had to rest,
like a newly uncorked bottle of vintage wine, before it could be hung.
The "Virgin of Christopher Columbus" was painted on a wooden panel 463
years ago, using ground minerals as pigments mixed with egg and oil. The paint
had flaked, cracked and been painted over centuries ago in a crude attempt to
restore the work. Bengoechea had a laptop computer set up with images of the
work before she began the restoration process. "I cleaned the varnish that
was brown and yellowed. The natural resins had yellowed with age," she said
through a translator. "When we were lifting off the old paint, a lot of the
painting was lost. We were able to bring it back with the infrared."
Feeling close to the masters
Modern technology has given the restorer the ability to peer under the layers of
varnish and pigment to look deep into a painting. Bengoechea was able to see
down to the charcoal drawing on the wooden panel. She showed us where the
drawing was corrected, perhaps a student's hand guided by a master, before the
painting process began. "With infrared you can see through a painting to
the pencil, the shading; you can see what no one else has ever seen," she
"When the painting began to vanish before your eyes, what did you do?"
an onlooker asked. "I cried," she said, then added "not on this
one, but on others."
"The Heart of Spain" exhibit is one of the cultural events developed
by the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism to commemorate
the 200th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase. Many of these works never have
been exhibited together anywhere, and at the conclusion of the show, all will
return to their lending institutions. This is a rare, brief opportunity to see a
collection of work of this artistic caliber here in Louisiana.
"Why Alexandria?" may be one of the most asked questions about the
exhibit. Originally, "the show was slated for the Metropolitan Museum in
New York," said Janina Farinas, director of public relations for the
exhibit. But that arrangement fell through for a variety of reasons, mainly
Around that time, Louisiana officials were looking for a way to recognize
Spain's contribution to the exploration, colonization and lasting influence in
the Louisiana territories.
Representatives from the state Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism,
under the umbrella of the lieutenant governor's office, traveled to Spain to
meet with Javier Morales of Patrimonio Nacional, the Spanish organization
overseeing Spain's royal palaces, convents and monastaries. Louisiana was
offered the heart and soul of Spain: its religious artworks.
In return, the Alexandria Museum of Art raised $4 million, meeting and
surpassing a $1.25 million grant from the Department of Culture, Recreation and
Tourism, to pay for the restoration of the Spanish art and to bring the museum
up to the standards required by the Spanish government. The result is a
labyrinth of rooms constructed inside the museum.
Prado is one of the lenders
The exhibit begins with pre-Christian antiquities from the Phoenician, Greek,
Roman and Iberian periods. Entering into the Christian era, the show encompasses
tapestries, religious artifacts in gold, silver and precious stones, liturgical
vases and sculptures. Paintings are by masters such as Murillo, Cano, Riberia,
El Greco, Velasquez, Goya and Zurbaran. A reproduction of the 12th century
fresco-decorated Romanic Chapel, on display in the Prado, has been constructed
inside the Alexandria Museum.
Lending institutions include Madrid's Prado Museum, the National Museum of
Sculpture, the National Museum of Decorative Art, the Visigoth Museum of Toledo,
The Museum of the Lazaro Galdiano Foundation in Madrid and El Patrimonio
Specific pieces of art were selected to represent the theme of the religion of
Spain. "France brought us government, Spain brought us religion," said
Farines, who was translating for Morales, an expert on Spanish art and the
commissioner of the exhibit.
"We felt the best way to depict the influence of Spain on Louisiana was
through the evolution of ethical and moral values of Western culture,"
Morales said. Art and beauty are synonymous with sincere religious beliefs,
expressing the deepest ethical values and deepest feelings, without which
Western culture and the history of art would be incomprehensible, he said.
The art from the ancient world "shows the depth and importance of how
pre-Christian art influenced Spanish Christianity," he said. As the exhibit
moves through Hebrew and Islamic art into Christianity, with its images of God,
the Virgin Mary and the crucifixion of Jesus, "the archetypes become very
clear. The great Spanish masters put images before us that gave meaning to the
sentiments of religion," Morales said.
Mystical, emotional faith
Spanish religious art is noted for its representation of human emotion. Morales
suggested keeping this in mind when looking at the "Virgin of the
Rosary," a 15th century painting by Murillo. "The Virgin is shown
lovingly holding her child. Look at her dark skin. We see her as a
Spaniard," he said.
Spanish Catholicism has deep roots in mysticism. "The search, the journey,
the profundity of feeling is characteristic of the people of Spain,"
Morales said. "Their faith is mystical, sentimental, emotional."
While Louisiana's long history with France is evident in the language of
French-speaking Louisiana, French-influenced cuisine and hereditary family ties
to France, there is much of Louisiana's history, less well known by the general
populace, which ties this state to Spain.
Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, claimed the Mississippi basin territory for
King Louis XIV of France in 1682, after traveling the entire length of the
Mississippi River, the first European to achieve this feat. But many believe
that Spaniard Alvarez de Pineda, who in 1519 noted a "very large and fluent
river" during his explorations of the Gulf of Mexico, may have discovered
the Mississippi, although others think it could have been the Rio Grande. He was
followed, in 1528, by Cabeza de Vaca, on his way from Florida to Mexico, and by
the great Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto, who died of a fever in 1542 on the
banks of the Mississippi River in what is now Louisiana, and was buried in the
river so the Indians would not desecrate his body.
But it was the Frenchmen, La Salle, and later, the brothers Le Moyne, les Sieurs
Iberville and Bienville, who left their mark, claiming Louisiana as a French
colony and establishing the city of New Orleans in 1718 as the most important
port on the Mississippi.
While Louisiana was a colony of France politically, in actuality it was a colony
of the Bourbon family, cousins who sat on the thrones of France and Spain,
according to Alfred Lemmon, director of the Williams Research Center of The
Historic New Orleans Collection.
When the French colony of Louisiana was ceded by King Louis XV of France, in
1762, to Spain, the colony was handed over to Louis' Bourbon cousin, King
Charles III of Spain. The colony flourished under Spanish governors Ulloa,
O'Reilly (an Irishman in the service of the Spanish king), Unzaga, Galvez, Miro,
Carondelet, Gayoso, Bouligny, Vidal, Calvo and Salcedo, who served Louisiana
until 1800, when Spain ceded Louisiana back to France. Shortly thereafter, in
1803, Napoleon sold the colony and territories west of the Mississippi to the
Perhaps the most ironic example of Spanish influence in Louisiana is the
architecture of the "French Quarter." Two great fires, one in 1788 and
another in 1794, destroyed nearly all of New Orleans except the Ursuline
Convent, built in the 1750s. The buildings so admired today--the Cabildo,
Presbytere, the Pontalba buildings surrounding Jackson Square, as well as the
three-story houses with cast-iron balconies that constitute most of the heart of
the Quarter--are derived from Spanish Colonial design.
Spain helped the Acadians
In the early years, the French struggled with peopling Louisiana. Spain
understood that in order to defend Louisiana from the English, the colony must
be populated by industrious settlers, Lemmon said. "Spain supported the
Santa Domingo and Acadian refugees who were French. In doing so, Spain preserved
the French culture by permitting the arrival and culture of these people,"
The Spanish intervention in the patriation of the French Acadians to Louisiana
is not well known. The Acadians were expelled from Nova Scotia in 1755 by the
British. Acadian refugees began arriving in Louisiana by 1763 and were given
land, livestock, seeds and tools. Many of the Acadians, separated from their
families and impoverished, returned to France. Recognizing the Acadians as
hard-working farmers, Spanish authorities arranged for more than 400 families to
be transported from France to Louisiana in 1785, effectively colonizing
"1793 was a critical year. The king of Spain decided that there needed to
be a Catholic diocese here in Louisiana," Lemmon said. Under Gov.
Carondelet, Bishop Luis Penalver y Cardenas, the first bishop of Louisiana, was
appointed in 1795, bringing Spanish Catholicism to New Orleans.
"Spiritually this was a big step in terms of ecclesiastical
organization," Lemmon said. "The Spanish religious art displayed (in
the exhibit) is designed to show the artistic heritage by demonstrating how the
religious spirit arrived in the New World through Spain."
The Catholic Church was part of the social services arm of government. The
church was active in cultural and legal activities as well as religious
services. "The whole Spanish sentiment permeates our culture," Lemmon
said. "The name Barataria comes from Don Quixote's mythological kingdom of
Sancho Panza. St. Bernard Parish owes its existence to Bernardo de Galvez. It
was named for the Spanish governor, not the French saint."
Back at the museum, Concha Bengoechea was unwrapping yet another masterpiece,
"St. Isabelle Healing the Wounds of a Sick Woman," by Francisco de
Goya, who is widely considered the "father of modern art." The small
work is a sketch in oils for a larger painting. What makes the oil sketch so
rare is that it shows the quick brush work, the impressionistic approach of the
Spanish artist. Goya, who was born in 1746 and died in 1828, was not a
profoundly religious artist, Morales said. "Look at the time frame. His
society did not give a lot of profundity to religion."
"The Heart of Spain" exhibit encompasses the full scope of the Spanish
involvement in America. Represented in the show are Spanish history and religion
through art "from the time when Spain began its religious conquest until
Spain pulled out of America in the 19th century," Morales said. "By
Goya's time, it is the beginning of the end."
From Bengoechea's point of view, handling a Goya is the beginning of a voyage of
discovery. Her job gives her an extraordinary relationship with the work of the
masters. "I'm not a painter," she said. "I didn't have that in
me. This is my way of getting closer. Touching a Goya or a Velasquez . . . it's
a process of discovery inch by inch. I can experience each brush stroke. It's
very emotional, the feeling that you are able to unveil the painting that has
Return to Top