WHAT'S NEW?

Liturgical Season 9/12/03 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 month of September with Mary:

Marian Commemoration Days

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 September.

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 August 27.  Previous Reflections are listed on our Rosary Index.  Please note that many of these documents are available in Spanish as well as English.

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New Resources

A section on international stamps with images of Mary has been added to our Resources index.  The latest added was Mexico.  Expect more countries to follow.

A section on Marian Spiritualities has also been added to our Resources index.  The latest additions were papers on the spirituality of three famous converts.  Expect more articles to follow.

We have also posted our answer to a reader's question: Is there Marian imagery in Disney's Pinocchio?

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  News from the Marian Library

MSA Call for Papers

"The Immaculate Conception: Human Destiny and Vocation" is the theme of the next meeting of the Mariological Society (Houston, Texas - May, 2004).  Suggested areas for papers include recent bibliography on the Immaculate Conception; Scriptural foundations; anthropological, pastoral, symbolic, and ecumenical implications; original sin in Eastern and Western approaches; the Immaculate Conception in art.   Those wishing to make a presentation should send a precis to the MSA Secretariat (Marian Library) by October 1, 2003.  

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Vatican Exhibit on Display Now!

The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute invites you to visit The Mother of God: Art Celebrates Mary, thirty-eight paintings and sculptures from the permanent collection of The Vatican Museums, spanning seventeen centuries of Christian art and reflecting cultures worldwide.

September 4 - November 10, 2003

Roesch and Marian Library Galleries in Roesch Library on the University of Dayton Campus.
Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Free Admission -- Parking Available

For tours and information call: (937) 229-4254 or email: VaticanExhibit@notes.udayton.edu.
A virtual exhibit may be seen on our Gallery section under Current Exhibit.
Exhibits of Rosaries of the World and of Creches will also be on display during this time.
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 Fall 2002 - Fall 2003 is now available for view.  
Courses for the Fall semester are scheduled to commence on Oct. 20, 2003.

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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

Pilgrimage to Pompeii for Peace

Pope John Paul II plans to go on pilgrimage to Pompeii to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary on the Feast of the Rosary to pray the Rosary for world peace. We will see him there on our pilgrimage.

The Holy Father proclaimed this year as the Year of the Rosary. He said, "To Mary, Queen of the Rosary, I now entrust my intention to go to her shrine in Pompeii next October 7 on the occasion of the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. May Mary's maternal intercession obtain justice and peace for the entire world."

The Holy Father’s pilgrimage to Pompeii will fulfill a prophetic vision to Blessed Bartolo Longo who saw at Pompeii, "The white figure of the representative of Christ gazing out to bless the people calling for universal Peace."

The pilgrimage is hosted by Dan Lynch, Director of the Missionary Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Father John Phalen, CSC, Director of the Family Rosary International and the Father Peyton Family Institute from October 5-13, 2003 with daily Mass, Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet. Father Patrick Peyton, the Rosary priest, said, "A world at prayer is a world at peace."

Please join us and visit Pompeii, St. Padre Pio’s Tomb, St. Michael’s Cave, the Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano, the Holy House of Loreto, the Tombs of Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi, Rome and the Vatican.

For full pilgrimage information and registration, go to http://www.jkmi.com/pompeiiflyer.htm

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

LET US IMITATE MARY AND MAKE ROOM FOR GOD IN OUR LIVES

VATICAN CITY, SEP 12, 2003 (VIS)

The Holy Father flew this morning from Bratislava to Banska Bystrica, 190 kilometers northeast of the capital and then traveled by car to National Risorgimento Square where he concelebrated Mass at 10:30 a.m. Catholics were joined in the celebration for the memorial of the Holy Name of Mary by Christians of other Protestant ecclesial communities.

The Pope remarked that "the place where we are assembled is especially meaningful in the history of your city. It calls to mind the respect and devotion of your ancestors towards Almighty God and the Blessed Virgin Mary. At the same time it recalls the attempt to profane this precious inheritance, perpetrated by a bleak regime of not so many years ago. To all of this the column of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a silent witness."

He then referred to the Gospel passage where Mary "speaks to the Angel Gabriel who communicates to her God's call to become the mother of His Son. The Incarnation of the Word is the decisive moment in that 'project' made known by God from the beginning of human history, after the first sin. His will is to communicate to mankind His very life, by calling men and women to become his children. This call awaits the response of each person. God does not impose salvation; he proposes it as an initiative of love, to which one must reply by free choice, prompted by love."

What is the lesson for us in Mary's immediate willingness to obey the Lord, asked the Pope. "Mary shows us the path towards a mature freedom. In our days, many baptized Christians have not yet made the faith their own in an adult and conscious way. They call themselves Christians and yet they do not respond in a fully responsible way to the grace they have received; they still do not know what they want and why they want it."

"This is the lesson to be learned today: an education to freedom is urgently needed. Especially in the family, parents must educate their children to a correct freedom, so as to prepare them to respond properly to God's call. The family is the nursery where the little plants, the new generations, are nurtured. In the family the future of the Nation is forged."

"Mary believes and therefore she says 'yes.' Her faith becomes life; it becomes a commitment to God, Who fills her with Himself through her divine motherhood. It becomes a commitment to her neighbor, who awaits her help in the person of her cousin Elizabeth."

"My dear Brothers and Sisters," John Paul II concluded, "let us make room for God! In the variety and richness of diverse vocations, each one is called, like Mary, to accept God into one's own life and to travel along the paths of the world with Him, proclaiming His Gospel and bearing witness to His love."

PV-SLOVAKIA/MASS/BANSKA BYSTRICA VIS 030912 (480)

CELEBRATIONS TO BE PRESIDED OVER BY THE POPE THIS FALL

VATICAN CITY, SEP 5, 2003 (VIS)

The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff made public today the following calendar of the celebrations that will be presided over by the Holy Father in upcoming months:

SEPTEMBER

- Thursday 11 - Sunday 14: Apostolic trip to the Slovak Republic.

- Saturday 27: Mass in the Vatican Basilica at 6 p.m. for the 25th anniversary of the deaths of Popes Paul VI and John Paul I.

OCTOBER

- Sunday 5: Canonization of Blesseds Daniele Comboni, Arnold Janssen and Josef Freinademetz in St. Peter's Square at 10 a.m.

- Tuesday 7: Pastoral visit to the Shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the

Rosary of Pompeii.

- Thursday 16: Mass at 6 p.m. in St. Peter's Square on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the pontificate of Pope John Paul II.

- Sunday 19: Beatification of Servant of God Mother Teresa of Calcutta in St. Peter's Square at 10 a.m.

- Friday 24: Mass for the beginning of the academic year of ecclesiastical universities in the Vatican Basilica at 5:30 p.m.

NOVEMBER

- Saturday 1, Solemnity of All Saints: Moment of prayer for deceased Supreme Pontiffs in the Vatican Grotto at 6 p.m.

- Sunday 9, Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica: Beatification of Servants of God: Juan Nepomuceno Zegri y Moreno, Valentin Paquay, Luigi Maria Monti, Bonifacia Rodriguez Castro and Rosalie Rendu at 9:30 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica.

- Thursday 13: Mass at 11:30 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica for the repose of the souls of the cardinals and bishops who died this past year.

From Zenit

Mount Athos' Special Status Under Scrutiny

STRASBOURG, France, SEPT. 9, 2003 (Zenit.org)

The European Parliament is considering revising the centuries-old special status enjoyed by the monastic community of Mount Athos in Greece.

The Parliament's plenary session approved a report giving the green light for the revision of the status of the peninsula of northern Greece inhabited solely by monks.

The Greek Orthodox Church, in its latest Ecclesia Report, announced that "the plenary session of the Euro-Parliament passed a proposal-report prepared by French Euro-deputy Fode Sylla concerning the EU Fundamental Rights situation for 2002, which includes, among others, a reference to the special status enjoyed by the monastic community of Mount Athos, in northern Greece."

According to the Euro-deputies, the controversial point is that the isles of Athos do not allow entry to women. The Euro-deputies see this prohibition as an infringement on women's human rights, so they asked the Greek government to revise the prohibition.

The Sylla report received only negative votes by the deputies of the Greek Socialist government. If the proposal goes forward, it might face a second vote.

The Greek government and the Orthodox Church defend the situation of the status of the monastic community because of its 1,000-year link with the country's traditions, values, symbols and religious faith.

England's Most Visited Spiritual Site Is a Marian Shrine

WALSINGHAM, England, SEPT. 5, 2003 (Zenit.org)

The town of Walsingham, with its Catholic Marian shrine and Anglican Marian shrine, is the country's most-visited spiritual site. This was revealed in a survey by BBC's Radio 4, published last month, which gave the list of the 10 spiritual places most visited by the British.

The town, in North Norfolk region, is famous for the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, founded in 1061 and destroyed at the Reformation. Noblewoman Richeldis had a vision in 1061 in which the Virgin Mary appeared to her and asked her to build a replica of her home in Nazareth, the reason why this shrine is popularly known as England's Nazareth. The Slipper Chapel was restored in 1934, and is now the National Catholic Shrine of Our Lady. The shrine is the object of pilgrimage of thousands of people. Sources say that visits to the shrine have noticeably increased in recent years, though they didn't have precise numbers.

ZE03090524

At the School of Mary, "Woman of the Eucharist"

Boston Archbishop O'Malley on Our Lady's Role in the Mystery

WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 6, 2003 (Zenit.org)

Mary stands prominently in the theology of the Eucharist--as seen in this address by Archbishop Sean O'Malley of Boston, delivered last month at the Knights of Columbus Eucharistic Congress at the National Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.

The text was adapted for publication.

Jesus' humanity comes from Mary's humanity. One of the Popes wrote the beautiful prayer Ave Verum Corpus Natum de Maria Virgine: Hail true body born of the Virgin Mary. It was originally a prayer to be prayed at the elevation of Mass as people contemplated the Host, recalling at that moment that the body of Christ we receive in communion is the same body of Christ that Mary gave to us at Bethlehem.

Our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, gave us at Holy Thursday of this year the magnificent encyclical "Ecclesia de Eucharistia" in which a whole chapter is dedicated to discussing the profound relationship that Mary has with the mystery of the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the "Mysterium Fidei," the mystery of faith that "so greatly transcends our understanding as to call for a sheer abandonment to the word of God." At the Visitation, Elizabeth, moved by the Spirit, gives us the first beatitude in the Gospel directed at Mary: "Blessed are you because you believed" (Luke 1:45).

Just as Abraham our father in the faith stands at the opening of the Old Testament, Mary the great woman of faith stands at the opening of the New Testament. It is because Mary is the woman of faith that the History of Salvation can go forward. Certainly the eucharistic moment in Mary's life comes at the annunciation when Mary says yes to God and God's plan is advanced.

At the annunciation, Mary's consent was one of the most important moments in the history of salvation and particularly in the unfolding of the eucharistic mystery. We call that moment her "fiat"--"Be it done unto me according to your word."

When the Angel Gabriel asks Mary to be the Mother of God, she answers with a resounding yes--and that yes allows something wonderful to happen. Christ becomes man--the Word becomes flesh. On Calvary, Mary stood there in silence and in silence repeated her fiat, her yes to God, and the Church is born from the pierced heart of our Savior.

What would have happened had Mary said no to God's invitation? Would we still be awaiting a Messiah? Mary is the New Eve. The first Eve said no to God and changed the course of history. Mary, the New Eve, has said yes and put the human family back on track.

The Holy Father has a beautiful paragraph where he relates Mary's fiat ... and the "Amen" which every believer says when receiving the body of the Lord. Mary was asked to believe that the One whom she conceived "through the Holy Spirit" was "the Son of God."

In continuity with Mary's faith, in the eucharistic mystery we are asked to believe that the One whom she conceived through the Holy Spirit was the Son of God and Son of Mary. We are asked to believe that Jesus is present in his full humanity and divinity under the signs of bread and wine. For when we say yes to the Host, we are saying, "I believe in Jesus Christ who at this moment is coming into my heart." Body of Christ, Amen. Body of Christ, Yes. Body of Christ, Fiat. How important a little word can be when it expresses the grandeur of faith and love.

The Holy Father also draws heavily from the mystery of the visitation in delineating Mary's relationship with the Eucharist. He says that Mary anticipated in the mystery of the Incarnation the Church's eucharistic faith.

When, at the visitation, she bore in her womb the Word made flesh, she became in some way a "tabernacle"--the first tabernacle in history--in which the Son of God, still invisible to our human gaze, allowed himself to be adored by Elizabeth, radiating his light as it were through the eyes and voice of Mary.

Drawing from the Visitation, our Holy Father gives us a "re-reading" of the Magnificat in a eucharistic key. The Eucharist, like the Canticle of Mary, is first and foremost praise and thanksgiving. When Mary exclaims: "My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior," she already bears Jesus in her womb (like a living tabernacle). She praises God "through" Jesus, but she also praises him "in" Jesus and "with Jesus."

This is itself the true eucharistic attitude. At the same time, Mary recalls in her prayer, the Magnificat, the wonders worked by God in salvation history in fulfillment of the promise once made to Abraham and our spiritual ancestors. She proclaims the wonder that surpasses them all, the redemptive incarnation.

Lastly, the Magnificat reflects the eschatological tension of the Eucharist. Every time the Son of God comes again to us in the poverty of the sacramental signs of bread and wine, the seeds of that new history wherein the "mighty are put down from their thrones," "and those of low degree are exalted" take root in the world.

Many signs of the "new heavens and the new earth" which find in the Eucharist their anticipation and in some sense their program and plan. The Magnificat expresses Mary's spirituality, and there is nothing greater than this spirituality for helping us to experience the mystery of the Eucharist. The Eucharist has been given to us so that our life, like that of Mary, may become completely a Magnificat.

The Holy Father opens the chapter on Mary in "Ecclesia de Eucharistia" and writes, "In my Apostolic Letter, 'Rosarium Virginis Mariae,' I pointed to the Blessed Virgin Mary as our teacher in contemplating Christ's face and among the mysteries of light (the luminous mysteries) I included the institution of the Eucharist. Mary can guide us toward this most holy sacrament, because she herself has a profound relationship with the Eucharist."

In repeating what Christ did at the Last Supper in obedience to his command, "Do this in memory of me," we also accept Mary's invitation to obey Christ without hesitation: "Do whatever he tells you." With the same maternal concern which she showed at the wedding feast of Cana (the second luminous mystery), Mary seems to say: "Do not waver, trust in the words of my Son." If he is able to change water into wine, he can turn bread and wine into his body and blood, and through this mystery bestow on believers the living memorial of his passover, thus becoming the bread of life.

Mary was not present at the Last Supper; yet in Acts we see her at the heart of the community helping those first Christians to persevere in prayer. The Holy Father affirms that Mary must have been present at the eucharistic celebrations of the first generation of Christians, who were devoted to the Mass which they called "the breaking of the Bread," later called Eucharist (which means "thanksgiving"). The first two names for the Mass come from Jesus' eucharistic gestures of breaking the bread and blessing the bread. The Holy Father elaborates on the Calvary experience of John who accepts Mary as his Mother on Calvary: Accepting Mary as our Mother is a commitment to be conformed to Christ, "putting ourselves at the school of his Mother and allowing her to accompany us. Mary is present with the Church and as Mother of the Church, at each of our celebrations of the Eucharist. If the Church and the Eucharist are inseparably united, the same ought to be said of Mary and the Eucharist. This is one reason why, since ancient times, the commemoration of Mary has always been part of the Eucharistic celebrations of the Churches of East and West."

The Church springs up around the Eucharist. We gather at the altar and are no longer strangers and rivals--we are brothers. It is to house our eucharistic altars and tabernacles that we build churches and chapels where we can come together and be united to the Lord and to our brothers and sisters. The sacrament is the body and blood of the Lord that has come to us through Mary's body and through her saying yes to God.

In this encyclical the great features of our Catholic faith intersect: Mary, the Eucharist and the Holy Father. Each is a treasure we cherish. Each is connected to the other and are signs of God's enduring love for his Church and for us who are proud to call ourselves Catholic.

John Paul II Launches Final Stage of Year of the Rosary

Reflects on Joyful Mysteries

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 said.

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 movement.

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 said.

"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 school classes. 

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.

Grotto statues damaged in Co Kerry [Source: The Irish Times, 9/5/2003]

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 (Sydney), 8/31/2003]

SURVEILLANCE cameras caught the theft of one of Leonardo da Vinci's most emblematic Madonna paintings from a castle in southern Scotland on Wednesday.

"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," she added.

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 magazine.

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 said.

"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 finances.

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 Nacional.
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 United States.

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," he said.

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 southwestern Louisiana.

"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 been hidden."

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