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Liturgical Season 10/10/03 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 October 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 October.

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 October 10.  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: What Is Block Rosary?

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  News from the Marian Library

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.
Seminars related to the exhibit will be held in the LTC on Thursday nights through November 20.
For details on these lectures, click into http://www.udayton.edu/mary/gallery/vatseminars.html.
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

Dear Friends of the Arch of Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Internationall Shrine of the Holy Innocents,

Pray and fast for the conversion of nations, an end to abortion, and world peace--for the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Please participate in the 11th Annual International Week of Prayer and Fasting, from October 5 to October 16 (12 days in fact), including an all-day Eucharistic Prayer Vigil at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. on Monday, October 13. This day will feature addresses by actor Jim Caviezel, who portrays Christ in The Passion, Mel Gibson's new film, and other outstanding speakers. For complete information, visit www.internationalweekofprayerandfasting.org

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

VATICAN CITY, OCT 8, 2003 (VIS)

In Wednesday's general audience, celebrated in St. Peter's Square, the Pope began a new cycle of catecheses on the Liturgy of Vespers. John Paul II explained to the 15,000 people present that "together with the celebration of Lauds at the beginning of the day, the celebration of Vespers has become more common in the Church in the evening."
...
After greeting pilgrims in different languages, the Pope gave thanks to Our Lady who, he said, "yesterday gave me the opportunity to make a visit to the Shrine of Pompeii which is dedicated to her. Having an enthusiastic memory of this Marian pilgrimage, I invite everyone to value ever more the prayer of the Holy Rosary, so beloved in the tradition of the Christian people. With it, the Church invokes the intercession of Mary, especially for families and for peace in the world in our times."

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THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE PASTORAL MINISTRY FOR MIGRANTS and Itinerant People has published a booklet entitled "The Rosary of Migrants and Itinerant People." According to a communique from Cardinal-designate Archbishop Stephen Fumio Hamao and Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, respectively president and secretary of this dicastery, "to conclude the Year of the Rosary and within the framework of its pastoral commitment serving all persons on the move, the council wishes to offer a special text for reciting the rosary, in the hope that it might be a support and a stimulus in favor of the prayer to which the Holy Father dedicated this year." The text states that, "inspired by the method of Blessed John XXIII who indicated special intentions every decade, in the Rosary for Migrants the intentions are for migrants and refugees, foreign students and nomads, circus and fair people and for all who work in the fields of seafaring, civil aviation, tourism, pilgrimages or on highways." These rosary reflections are in Italian and will soon be available in pocket size booklets in five other languages.

THE POPE IN POMPEII: BE BUILDERS AND WITNESSES OF PEACE

VATICAN CITY, OCT 7, 2003 (VIS)

Today, memory of Our Lady of the Rosary, the Pope left the Vatican at 9:15 by helicopter for the shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii, near Naples, for his 143rd trip within Italy. He was here previously, on October 21, 1979, a year after the start of his pontificate. After landing in the archeological area of the ancient city of Pompeii, he went by car to Bartolo Longo Square, in front of the shrine, where tens of thousands of faithful welcomed him.

After greeting Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino, prelate of Pompeii, the Pope read a prayer in which he implored peace: "Christ is our peace. We look to Him at the start of this millennium that is already so tried by tensions and conflicts in every region of the world. ... May the Holy Virgin, from this famous marian temple on these ancient hills of Pompeii, that Bartolo Longo wished as a sign of peace for peoples, show herself to everyone as Mother and Queen of Peace." Following this was a meditation and recitation of the luminous mysteries of the rosary for peace in the world, and a homily by the Holy Father.

"Today's visit," he said, "in a certain sense crowns the Year of the Rosary. I thank the Lord for the fruits of this year which has produced such a meaningful reawakening of this prayer, simple and yet profound, that goes to the heart of the Christian faith and appears very current in the face of the challenges of the Third Millennium and the urgent commitment to the new evangelization."

Referring to the ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii, the Pope said "they ask the decisive question about man's destiny. They are witnesses to a great culture about which they reveal both luminous answers, and also disquieting questions. This marian city arose in the heart of these questions, proposing the Risen Christ as an answer, as the 'gospel' that saves." "Today," he continued, "as in the times of ancient Pompeii, we must announce Christ to a society that is distancing itself from Christian values and is even losing its memory (of them). ... With ancient Pompeii in the background, the proposal of the rosary acquires a symbolic value of a renewed impetus of the Christian proclamation in our days." John Paul II underscored that he "wished this pilgrimage to be seen as a plea for peace. We have meditated on the mysteries of light, almost in order to project the light of Christ upon conflicts, tensions and the dramas of the five continents. ... With the tranquil rhythm of repeating the Hail Mary, the rosary calms our soul and opens it to saving grace. Blessed Bartolo Longo had a prophetic intuition when, in dedicating this church to Our Lady of the Rosary, he wished to add to the church this facade as a monument to peace. The cause of peace thus entered into the Rosary itself. It is an intuition whose current meaning we can welcome, at the start of this millennium, so lacerated by winds of war and streaked with blood in so many regions of the world."

"The invitation to pray the rosary that rises from Pompeii, a crossroads of people of every culture drawn by both the shrine and the archeological site, also evokes the duty of Christians, in collaboration with all people of good will, to be builders of and witnesses to peace."

After the Pope's homily, everyone prayed the Supplication to Our Lady, a prayer composed by Blessed Bartolo Longo. Following this they sang "Salve Regina" while representatives from each of the continents placed flowers in front of the image of Our Lady of the Rosary. Before imparting the apostolic blessing, the Pope said: "Pray today and always in this shrine for me."

After bidding farewell to civil and religious authorities, Pope John Paul returned to the Vatican by helicopter.

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SHRINE OF POMPEII FOUNDED BY LAYMAN, BLESSED BARTOLO LONGO

VATICAN CITY, OCT 7, 2003 (VIS)

The ancient city of Pompeii was destroyed on August 24, 79 A.D. when nearby Mt. Vesuvius erupted and covered the flourishing city in molten lava. The "New Pompeii" would arise only after 1,796 years, the result of a promise made in 1872 by Bartolo Longo, a lawyer and devout layman, to build a church dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary in Pompeii.

The monumental complex which arose from this promise and today houses the basilica, administrative offices and the charitable works associated with it, eventually led to the birth of a city, the New Pompeii, just a short distance away from the ruins of the ancient city.

Bartolo Longo was born in 1841 near Brindisi, on Italy's Adriatic coast. A cordial, easy going, intelligent man, devoted to the Church, he went through a crisis of faith in his university years, underwent a conversion and then devoted himself to works of charity and religious studies.

When he arrived in Pompeii in 1872 to administer the property of a wealthy widow, the Countess Marianna De Fusco, he was struck by the human and religious poverty of the peasants of the area. He dedicated himself to teaching the catechism and spreading devotion to the rosary and he organized yearly festivals in the fall to bring people together for catechesis and to pray the rosary. This could be best achieved, he felt, if the people had a proper church and, most especially, an image of Our Lady of the Rosary as the focal point. In 1875 Bartolo began searching the stores of Naples, and found and restored a painting, considered to be of dubious beauty and quality, in time for that year's concluding ceremonies on November 13. That painting today hangs over the main altar of the basilica and depicts Our Lady with the Child Jesus on her knees, as they hand rosaries to St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena.

The neo-classical Pontifical Shrine and Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii, in all its frescoed, marble splendor, was dedicated in 1891, sixteen years after Bartolo Longo began to collect pennies from the peasants to build this temple to Mary.

Millions of pilgrims visit this shrine every year and, since its founding, thousands of cures and miracles have been attributed to Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii. Every year on May 8 and on the first Sunday of October, thousands of faithful gather at the shrine for the Feast of the Supplication, to petition favors and to offer thanksgiving for favors received.

Pope John Paul's visit today, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, is his second to Pompeii. He first visited the shrine on October 21, 1979. On October 26, 1980 he beatified its founder, Bartolo Longo, who died October 5, 1926. His feast day is October 6. Blessed Bartolo, a Third Order Dominican, founded the Sisters of the Holy Rosary of Pompeii and he also established homes for the poor, for orphans and for the children of people in prison.

PV-ITALY/HISTORY SHRINE/POMPEII VIS 031007 (460)

From Zenit

Pope Thanks Mary for His Visit to Pompeii

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 8, 2003 (Zenit.org)

John Paul II expressed gratitude to the Virgin Mary for his visit to the shrine of Pompeii and again invited the faithful to pray the rosary for families and world peace.

"I thank the Virgin for giving me the opportunity yesterday to visit the shrine in Pompeii which has been dedicated to her," the Pope said today before bidding farewell to 15,000 pilgrims who attended the general audience in St. Peter's Square. The Holy Father met with the faithful for over an hour, shaking hands, being photographed and imparting his blessing. This he did despite the apparent fatigue caused by his trip to southern Italy a day before.

"Cherishing a vivid memory of this Marian pilgrimage, I invite you all to increasingly value the prayer of the holy rosary, so loved by the Christian people's tradition," he said. "With it, the Church invokes the intercession of Mary in our time, especially for families and peace in the world," the Pope concluded in a frail voice.

ZE03100803

Rosary Guide Aimed at Nomads and Travelers

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 8, 2003 (Zenit.org)

The Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers has published a booklet designed to help nomads, travelers and pilgrims pray the rosary. The text, published on the occasion of the Pope's trip to Pompeii on Tuesday, is to serve as "support and instrument of the prayer to which the Holy Father dedicated this year," a statement of the dicastery explained.

"Let us pray in this decade for gypsies, so that [...] they will understand their vocation and mission in the Church and society," says one of the intentions mentioned in the guide.

There is also a prayer for "the young people of the circus world," so that they will "be able to obtain from the rich artistic and cultural patrimony of their predecessors the treasures that constitute joy," so to reveal to all "the beauty and goodness of God which is reflected in the face of Christ."

The booklet introduces each mystery of the rosary with a scriptural reference and a quote from a papal address.

It also includes a prayer dedicated to a specific category, such as seamen, those in civil aviation, students in foreign countries, workers in tourism sectors, and those involved in pilgrimages and road maintenance.

John Paul II's Address at Pompeii

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 7, 2003 (Zenit.org)

Here is a translation of the address John Paul II delivered today in the atrium of the Basilica of the Virgin of the Holy Rosary in Pompeii, Italy.

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

1. The Holy Virgin has allowed me to honor her again in this famous shrine, which Providence inspired in Blessed Bartolo Longo, so that it would be a center to radiate the holy rosary. Today's visit is, in a certain sense, the crowning of the Year of the Rosary. I thank the Lord for the fruits of this Year, which has caused a significant return to this prayer, simple but profound, which touches the heart of the Christian faith and is extremely relevant, given the challenges of the third millennium and the urgent commitment to the new evangelization.

2. In Pompeii, this relevance is highlighted in a particular way in the context of the ancient Roman city, buried under the ashes of Vesuvius in A.D. 79. These ruins speak. They pose the decisive question on the destiny of man. They are testimony of a great culture of which they reveal, along with luminous answers, disturbing questions. The Marian city is born at the heart of these questions, presenting the risen Christ as the answer, as the Gospel that saves.

Today, as at the time of ancient Pompeii, it is necessary to proclaim Christ to a society which is moving away from Christian values, even the memory of which is being lost. I thank the Italian authorities for having contributed to the organization of my pilgrimage, started in the ancient city. In this way, I have crossed over a bridge that establishes a fruitful dialogue for cultural and spiritual growth. With ancient Pompeii as the backdrop, the proposal of the rosary acquires the historical value of a new thrust to the Christian proclamation in our time.

What, in fact, is the rosary? A compendium of the Gospel. It makes us return to the principal scenes of the life of Christ, as though allowing us to "breathe" its mystery. The rosary is a privileged way of contemplation. It is, so to speak, the way of Mary, for who knows and loves Christ better than she?

Blessed Bartolo Longo, apostle of the rosary, was convinced of this; he paid special attention to the contemplative and Christological character of the rosary. Thanks to the blessed, Pompeii has become an international center of spirituality of the rosary.

3. I wanted my pilgrimage to be a prayer for peace. We have meditated on the mysteries of light, as though wishing to project the light of Christ on the conflicts, tensions and dramas of the five continents. In the apostolic letter "Rosarium Virginis Mariae" I explained that the rosary is a prayer oriented, by its very nature, to peace. Not only because it leads us to pray it, supported by the intercession of Mary, but also because it makes us assimilate, together with the mystery of Jesus, his plan for peace.

At the same time, with the serene rhythm of the repetition of the Hail Mary, the rosary floods our spirit with peace and opens it to saving grace. Blessed Bartolo Longo had a prophetic intuition when he decided to add this facade, as a monument to peace, to the church dedicated to the Virgin of the rosary. Thus the cause of peace is an integral part of the rosary. It was an intuition of great importance for the beginning of this millennium, scourged by winds of war and watered by blood in many regions of the world.

4. The invitation to pray the rosary inspired at Pompeii, crossroads of people of all cultures attracted both by the shrine as well as the archaeological ruins, also evokes the commitment of Christians, in cooperation with all men of good will, to be builders and witnesses of peace. May civil society, represented here by the authorities and personalities whom I cordially greet, increasingly accept this message. May the ecclesial community of Pompeii, whose different components I greet -- priests, deacons, consecrated persons, in particular the Dominican Daughters of the Holy Rosary, founded precisely for the mission of this shrine, the laity -- be increasingly up to the measure of this challenge. I thank Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino for his kind words to me at the beginning of this meeting. With affection I thank all of you, devotees of the Queen of the rosary of Pompeii. Be "agents of peace," following in the footsteps of Blessed Bartolo Longo, who knew how to combine prayer and action, making of this Marian city a citadel of charity. May the incipient Center for Children and the Family, which has graciously been named after me, accept the legacy of this great work.

Dear Brothers and Sisters: May the Virgin of the holy rosary bless us, while we prepare to invoke her with our prayer. We present our concerns and good intentions to her Mother's heart.

[The Pope then recited the prayer for peace. Before imparting his final apostolic blessing, he expressed this greeting:]

Thank you, thank you, Pompeii. Thank you to all the pilgrims for this warm and most beautiful welcome. Thank you to the cardinals and bishops present. Thank you to the authorities of the country, of the region, of the city. Thank you for the enthusiasm of the young people. Thank you all. Pray for me in this shrine, today and always.

3 Missionaries Canonized by John Paul II

Including 2 Founders of Missionary Congregations

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 5, 2003 (Zenit.org)

In a two-hour-plus Mass, John Paul II canonized three missionaries of the 19th and early 20th centuries. ...

Before reciting the Angelus, John Paul II invited the pilgrims to invoke the Blessed Virgin Mary, especially this month, when the Year of the Rosary closes. He reminded them that he plans to go on pilgrimage Tuesday to the Shrine of the Virgin of the Rosary in Pompeii.

Pompeii Poised for the Pope's Pilgrimage

Interview With Archbishop Sorrentino

POMPEII, Italy, OCT. 2, 2003 (Zenit.org)

As the Pope's visit to the Marian shrine approaches, Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino of Pompeii described the preparations and fervor of the faithful in Web page www.korazym.org.

John Paul II recently appointed him secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

Q: The Pope proclaimed this year the Year of the Rosary. Pompeii is one of the places in the world most centered on the Blessed Virgin. How are the city, the Church and the faithful preparing for the Holy Father's forthcoming visit?

Archbishop Sorrentino: Pompeii is a spiritual source at this time. The Holy Father's visit has been much desired and long awaited. The Pontiff announced it in Ischia in May of last year; he reiterated his desire on Oct. 16, 2002, in St. Peter's, when he declared the rosary the prayer of the year. At last, on Oct. 7, we will be able to see him.

The city and the Church in Pompeii are preparing, especially spiritually, with specific initiatives of prayer and reflection. We have a daily initiative early in the morning, at 6:30; we call it "Good morning to Mary." It is a meditation on the holy rosary.

The event closes every night with another beautiful initiative: the rosary for peace, at 9 p.m. A procession starts from an area of the shrine dedicated to John XXIII -- the Pope of "Pacem in Terris" -- and arrives at the facade of the shrine, which Blessed Bartolo Longo, founder of Pompeii, conceived as a monument to universal peace.

The procession ends at the foot of the Virgin's statue, where intentions for peace are placed. The day transpires between these two devotions. In addition, according to the days, there are initiatives for in-depth reflection and group meetings -- young people, families, etc. Hence, there is great expectation and great fervor.

Q: Every day, Pompeii lives the rosary, a prayer to which the Pope is especially attached. However, for young people, it is often difficult to pray the rosary, because it seems like a mechanical prayer.

Archbishop Sorrentino: I had an experience with young people which has given me much comfort. I witnessed what the Pope says in his letter on the rosary: If young people are properly introduced to this prayer, with the typical ways of youthful culture, enriched by symbolic and harmonious moments, they are deeply moved by it and understand its real meaning.

The rosary is a prayer about falling in love. The repetition is not something mechanical, the same old tale. Properly understood, the repetition is the typical movement of the heart, which needs to repeat and constantly stress the act of love, the expression of love.

An effort is made to understand well the heart of the rosary, to present it in its Christological dimension, to have it prayed in such a way that this movement of the heart is really felt, serene but also vivacious -- imperatives of sensibility and youthful culture. This is precisely what we have experienced with the Union of Youths of the Rosary and with a rosary vigil that we hold once a month. The fruits are certainly encouraging.

Q: Now that you mentioned the Union of Youths of the Rosary, how are young people preparing for the Holy Father's visit and what are their expectations about the message the Pope will give them?

Archbishop Sorrentino: The movement of Youths of the Rosary is very active in this sense. We have periodic initiatives which are developed during the whole year. The Youths of the Rosary group will try to get greater consensus by being open to all ecclesial groups and movements, both in Pompeii as well as beyond.

Pompeii is a little reality from the point of view of its ecclesial configuration, but it is a reality that goes well beyond itself: It has a message for the world and we seek openness. Oct. 7 will be a joy for us to be able to be open and make our area as large as possible so that young people will be able to hear the Pope's voice, as always, up close.

Q: Despite the effort it has meant for him in recent days, the Pope has decided to confirm his program, which includes the visit to the shrine of Pompeii. What are your impressions of this Pope, strong and tenacious, who despite exhaustion, sickness and age continues to go on pilgrimage around the world?

Archbishop Sorrentino: I am certain that what gives the Pope strength is his contemplative capacity.

My experience of the rosary in Pompeii tells me that the contemplative dimension can be so intense precisely through this prayer, and so vivifying, that every person is affected and sustained.

I think the Pope finds that will power, indomitable and tenacious, precisely when he looks at Christ with Mary. I am sure that the rosary has a relevant role in his contemplative experience, together with the Eucharist, which is the heart of Christian life.

What fascinates me about this Pontiff is his ability to radiate, including through his physical exhaustion, a strength of spirit that is typically youthful, thus giving testimony that the Gospel is young and makes one young.

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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.

Fiesta de la Concepcion march is on tap [Source: Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA), 10/2/2003]

The eighth annual Fiesta de la Concepcion, a rosary march sponsored by the Canary Islands Descendants Association, will be held Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. on the grounds of the Canary Islands Descendants Association Museum at 600 St. Bernard Parkway, near St. Bernard State Park.

The celebration is free and is being held to honor deceased association members.

"La Concepcion honors the Virgin Mary," said Barbara Robin, association president. "There are many names for the Virgin Mary. Concepcion is just one of them, but Concepcion is important here because she was the first patron saint of St. Bernard, and Concepcion was the name of the original settlement of Canary Islanders in St. Bernard Parish."

The celebration is patterned after local festivals in the townships throughout the Canary Islands, where similar processions are held to honor the feast days of saints, the Blessed Mother and liturgical feast days.

"In the Canary Islands, they carry the statue of the Virgin Mary on her feast day," Robin said. "We did carry her for the first couple of years, but our people are getting older, and now we just keep her in her case."

The local event will feature a rosary procession on the museum grounds along the Mississippi River levee road, Robin said.

The procession will follow the tree-lined road, stopping at five points along the way to say the different parts of the rosary, she said.

As they walk, about 60 association members will carry a 20-foot-long rosary made of rope and floats from a trawling net. Made by association member Roy Campo, the rosary also features a 4-foot-long cross made from palmetto leaves, Robin said. Flowers also will be available for participants to carry during the procession and lay at the feet of the La Concepcion statue if they wish, Robin said.

The procession will be led by the Rev. Frank Lipps, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Violet, altar servers and Knights of Columbus members. The march will end at a tent housing a statue of La Concepcion. The statue, carved by Rodney Assevado, also bears the work of 15 local artisans, Robin said.
"It's not a long walk, and there won't be much standing if the elderly want to come," Robin said.

A prayer service with scripture readings will be celebrated by Lipps and Deacon Doug Trahan after the march.

Robin said the event is geared to families, and entertainment will include performances by Irvan Perez, who will sing two "decimas," 10-stanza songs sung in the 17th century dialect of the original Canary Island settlers. There also will be traditional Canarian folk dancing by the association's young folk dance troupe. The event will end with Lynn Gray's singing of "Los Canarios," a song about people on ships leaving their beloved Canary Islands and singing their goodbyes.

"In the Canary Islands, they sing this song at the end of their programs," Robin said. "It's really beautiful."

The museum and trapper's camp also will be open for tours.

Festivities are being organized by the association in cooperation with Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Violet. Parishioners from San Pedro Pescador Church in Florissant and St. Bernard Catholic Church in St. Bernard community also will participate.

Parking is available in the field between the museum and the Good Samaritan Center.

For more information, call Robin at 682-5696.

Same Ardor, Different Color [Source: Newsday (New York), 10/1/2003]

At the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Jamaica, a woman leads a boy to the altar of the Black Christ of Esquipulas. Whispering a prayer, she rubs the feet of the statue, then traces the sign of the cross in the air around her child's face.

The Black Christ of Esquipulas, named for the town in Guatemala where the statue originated, has a devout following among Central Americans. It is just one of the many black versions of Jesus and the Virgin Mary that are part of the religious iconography of countries from Poland to Panama.

Increasingly, immigrant groups are celebrating these black figures in New York City, where several traditional Catholic churches place the black statues alongside white religious icons in recognition of their increasingly diverse congregations.

Although each culture has a different interpretation of the black Christ or black Madonna mythology, many of the images have similar historical origins, said Anthony Stevens-Arroyo, director of Brooklyn College's Office of Religion in Society and Culture.

"There is no living record of what Christ or Mary or Joseph looked like, so artists would often paint the Blessed Mother as the most beautiful woman they could imagine," Stevens-Arroyo said. "The features reflected a cultural imagination of how she would look."

According to Stevens-Arroyo, for Iberians (predecessors of the Spaniards) in the 10th century, that meant depicting the Madonna as a brunette, in defiance of the blond images that were being imported from France. He said the blackness associated with some representations of Madonna today can be traced back even further in European history.

"When the Moors invaded Spain, destroying all religious iconography, much of it was hidden in caves to escape the destruction, where the combination of environmental conditions and the vegetable dye of the paints combined to cause the images to darken," Stevens-Arroyo said.

"When these images were then brought to the Americas , they quickly acquired a racial meaning, wherein the 1600s we saw in leaps and bounds the racialization of religion, and that was a sign that there was a God for those of color," he said.

For other groups, such as African-Americans, the image of a black Christ often has an added political dimension.

Ronald Brown, an associate professor of political science at Wayne State University in Detroit, is the author of the study "The Social Construction of a Black Christ Religious Ideology." Brown said some groups seek to prove that Jesus was black by tracing his roots back to Ethiopia or Egypt, and others simply view the notion of a black image of Christ as empowering.

"What's consistent for marginalized groups is they're trying to find their own representation of Christ, and for many the only way they can do that is to have an image that looks like themselves," Brown said.

"The only reason it's political in the U.S. is that skin color means everything in this country, so the image of Jesus Christ takes on the added political dimension because skin color doesn't just stay in churches, it exists outside the church as well."

The stories that accompany these black figures vary depending on the cultural context, but they often emphasize a connection with a specific ethnic group and feature a miraculous tale of the statue's appearance in a particular country. During a recent Mass in Queens to celebrate the Black Christ of Esquipulas, the sermon focused on the suffering of Jesus and equated it with the hardships many Guatemalan immigrants face.

"The suffering of Christ from the Latin American perspective is not to challenge power, but to understand the power," Brown said.

"That is the real difference between Latin American black Christs and African-Americans, who say, 'Yes, he suffered like you but you must mobilize against the forces of oppression.'"

In some instances, immigrant groups worship the same figure for different reasons. One example is the black Madonna of Czestochowa, Poland. A shrine in Doylestown, Pa., featuring a replica of the Madonna of Czestochowa, draws not only those of Polish ancestry, but also Haitian immigrants from Queens who make pilgrimages to the site each year. They believe that the two scars on the cheek of the black Madonna - believed to have been created centuries ago in Poland when the image was attacked by invaders - actually signify that she is of African origin.

Regardless of one's beliefs, many immigrants such as Julio Cesar Barillas, a Guatemalan who attended the celebration of the Black Christ of Esquipulas in Queens, say they feel comforted by these familiar religious icons.

"When I was a child, my parents used to take me to the church [in Guatemala] where El Senor de Esquipulas is," Barillas said. "I feel very proud, and very emotional, to see that here in Queens they also celebrate the day of El Senor de Esquipulas. It makes me feel as though I was back home in my own country."

Crimes of the art [Source: South China Morning Post, 10/1/2003]

The Leonardo Da Vinci masterpiece Madonna With The Yarnwinder looks the last word in piety. The 16th-century oil-on-canvas portrait depicts the Virgin Mary watching over the infant Jesus, who clings to a wooden tool used for winding wool said to symbolise Christ's crucifixion.

In August, however, the masterpiece, worth at least GBP25 million (HK$ 321 million) on the open market, fell prey to vice. Thieves posing as visitors joined a tour of Drumlanrig Castle in Scotland, the home of the painting's proprietor, Britain's biggest private landowner, the Duke of Buccleuch.

The thieves hovered at the staircase where the painting was displayed and at 11am they overpowered a guide at knifepoint, disabled the alarm system, lifted the painting from a wall and fled. The Daily Mirror quoted the Duke of Buccleuch's son, the Earl of Dalkeith, as saying his father was "distressed and disgusted - he cares passionately about this particular picture".

The insurers, Lloyds underwriters, is offering a reward of GBP100,000 for the recovery of the masterpiece, which the Scotsman likened to the Mona Lisa. Ossian Ward of Art Review Magazine said the culprits were probably just a "bunch of chancers".

Enter one of the art world's most colourful figures, Jonathan Tokeley-Parry: a former cavalry officer with a Cambridge philosophy degree who turned his hand to smuggling art. In a letter to Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper, Mr Tokeley-Parry provocatively contested that in fact the thieves were probably quite the opposite of chancers. "They strike me as intelligent, efficient," he wrote.

During his smuggling heyday, Mr Tokeley-Parry boasted of his James Bond-style exploits and called himself "003". The tomb raider, who dipped Egyptian artefacts in plastic to make them look like cheap souvenirs so he could take them out of the country easily, originally aroused suspicion in 1994 when his assistant took 27 papyrus texts to the British Museum to confirm their authenticity. In 1997, after his arrest and a failed suicide attempt, Mr Tokeley-Parry was convicted of smuggling major artefacts, including the stone head of the 18th-dynasty pharaoh Amenhotep III sold to a "person in London" for US$ 1.2 million. Mr Tokeley-Parry served three years of a six-year prison term and was released in 2000.

We meet near the home he shares with his mother in a Devon village. When I arrive someone shouts out, asking if he has recently been arrested. "No, I'm pure as the driven snow, well, as slush," he replies, then explains that the wag is a corporal who served under him in the army. Unemployed but preoccupied with writing a memoir titled Confessions Of An Antiquities Smuggler, for which he is confident he will find a publisher, Mr Tokeley-Parry, 51, remains passionate about art but does not gush.

Amplifying his remark in the Telegraph, Mr Tokeley-Parry says the Leonardo Madonna "certainly" was not stolen by a bunch of chancers "because it's quite clear that they were not concerned to conceal their identity. Their car was easily recognisable and therefore could be easily traced".

Some might say that this apparent casualness squares with the amateurs theory. "No, I don't think so," Mr Tokeley-Parry says. He adds that, drawing on his experience as an ex-convict, the evidence, which was recorded on closed -circuit television, may mean that the robbers did not mind showing themselves because they planned to leave the country. Even though the item they took will probably not be sold for its true market value, he says even a twentieth would do nicely.

The absolute maximum any stolen piece could fetch is GBP10 million, Mr Tokeley-Parry reckons, explaining that the lack of buyers for an astronomically valuable stolen artwork means its price can't be increased through the competitive process of a secret auction. For instance, Bathers On The Seine by Edouard Manet, the 19th-century French painter who inspired impressionism, would sell on the black market for that amount, he claims.

But he says no stolen art yet can have brought in that kind of money. That includes the Turner masterpieces, Shade And Darkness - The Evening Of The Deluge, and its companion Light And Colour - The Morning After The Deluge, which were stolen while on loan to the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt in July 1994. The former was recovered in 2000 and the latter in 2002.

Mr Tokeley-Parry estimates that, together, they probably fetched no more than GBP6 million. He argues that stealing such masterpieces is not necessarily a heinous crime because the thefts are usually commissioned by "the great collectors" who do not see themselves as the owners of objects but "stewards". "They know a whole chain of people has owned this wonderful thing before . . . and they believe it's their task to get it through to the future, rather like the Olympic torch. You carry it through to the next person.

"I can imagine that this person is saying, 'The Duke of Buccleuch has had it for a couple of generations. He obviously doesn't pay much attention to it because he doesn't have any security, doesn't rate it highly . . . Why shouldn't I borrow it for the duration?'"

On whether he sympathises with this mentality, Mr Tokeley-Parry comments, "I can understand it. I share at least one of the assumptions on which it's based, which is that the only important thing is to get these things through to the future." Presumably they will continue to exist anyway. Mr Tokeley -Parry concedes that this is true but stresses that the mastermind, who might live in Switzerland or Germany "because that's where the great collectors are", will justify the theft by telling himself that the victim is insured; the pay-out will enable the victim to snap up "a couple of impressionists" or "a couple of studs".
Painting a still rosier picture, Mr Tokeley-Parry says the current owner of Madonna With The Yarnwinder is probably driven by a passion for art and prizes a Da Vinci more than anything else in the world. He will therefore keep it "better than Buccleuch" in a special room - possibly an underground bunker - under the correct conservation conditions, with ultraviolet light filtered out, whereas at the castle it was just hanging on the wall like an ordinary painting under normal conditions, he says.

The collector will derive pleasure simply from living with it, he adds. If the owner decides he has finished acting as its "steward", he may return it, Mr Tokeley-Parry says, and this has happened. A painting taken from Russborough House, Ireland in 1986 - Rubens' Portrait Of A Dominican Monk - was returned seven years later, according to the Irish National Public Service Broadcasting Organisation.

This may be the best hope.

Mark Dalrymple of Tyler & Co, who represent Lloyds underwriters, is optimistic. He told Scotland's Evening Times: "It will turn up somewhere, somehow." However, Steve Feldhaus, a partner at international law firm Fulbright & Jaworski, who has represented collectors and dealers on art matters for almost 30 years and who has negotiated with thieves to recover paintings, doubts the painting will be found "in any near-time horizon".

Mr Tokeley-Parry says the police may succeed in tracing the white Volkswagen Golf in which the thieves escaped. But it may be a red herring in that they probably swapped it for another car. Other than that, the police can ask the locals if they saw anything.

He shrugs, concluding "And that's about it."

Monteverdi Vespers Handel and Haydn Society [Source: The Financial Times (London, England), 9/25/2003]

What do religious kitsch, Asian dance and Monteverdi have in common? Not much, until the Boston Handel and Haydn Society's staged production of the 1610 Vespers.

On paper it looked like a dubious attempt at cultural crossover in a celebration of blasphemous bad taste. But when the curtain went up on Chen Shi-Zheng's production, it was clear that entirely different forces were at play.

Shi-Zheng and conductor Grant Llewellyn have deployed the black-clad musicians antiphonally, lining the left and right sides of the Cutler Majestic Theatre's stage, with the chorus at the back and the continuo in the pit. In serried ranks at their feet are scores of identical Virgin Mary statues, regimented according to size. During the Dixit Dominus, the dancers enter one by one, with consummate grace.

Shi-Zheng creates a breathtaking series of dramaturgically structured dances, exploring themes of adoration, innocence, love and delight. Singers move with spare grace between the dancers, the pastel statues are everywhere. This is a Vespers which, like the score itself, bypasses philosophical name-calling. There's an instant ecumenical appeal.

Shi-Zheng's extraoardinary dancers come from disparate backgrounds. But Javanese court dance, Chinese opera, martial arts, Japanese and Korean dance all share with western baroque music an obsession with minute control, with the formalised expression of the small moment, with refined ornamentation and idiomatic improvisation. And this is the evening's master-stroke, as obvious in retrospect as the greatest scientific inventions. It's as though the two forms were made for each other. Shi-Zheng has created an evening that is visually harmonious, passionate yet calm.

By treating the Vespers as a love-song to the Virgin Mary, he touches on the most fundamental of human emotions. Like all great polyphony, this is about limitless artistic freedom within a framework of extraordinarily rigorous restraint. So Eko Supriyanto's Javanese hand motions perfectly reflect Gerald Thomas Gray's melismatic vocal ornaments, Jayne Tankersley and Anne Harley's sublimely sensual duet is elegantly mirrored by Alyosia Neneng Yunianti and Rento Wulan Sulanjari, Paula Murrihy 's Sancta Maria is greeted by a remote-control Virgin Mary which simultaneously questions the accessorisation of art and religion and revels in pure delight of a child at play.

It's restrained, tasteful, bizarre and visionary all at once. Shi-Zheng wants to produce a complete Monteverdi cycle; it would be a crime if he didn't. Tel +1 617 266 3605 More on ft.com/arts: The RSC's 'Titus Andronicus' at Stratford-upon-Avon and the Ballet Boyz in London

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