Liturgical Season 3/5/04 World News
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Mary Page News items give insight into our interest areas, our outreach, and the many ways people honor Our Lady. We welcome your input and your comments.

Liturgical Season

To celebrate the month of March 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 March.

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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 Guyana.  Expect more countries to follow.

A section on Mary and Women is now under construction in our Resources index.  The latest addition was Magisterial Documents on Women.  Expect more articles to follow.

Under Prayers we have added the following: An Act of Consecration to our Blessed Mother; a Marian Prayer of Saint Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother; and a Novena in Honor of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary.  We have also added a new category of Orthodox Christian Resources to our list of related web sites.  Dr. Virginia Kimball, a member of our Mary Page Advisory Board, tells us that: "A whole dimension on Christology as it includes the Theotokos can initially be handled by links to Orthodox websites. These are plentiful with articles, icons, and sources."

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  News from the Marian Library

Marian Library Receives Major Donation

We recently received, courtesy of Fr. Bob Hughes and Bernadette Weaver [past owner of Ave Maria Bookstore], over 1,200 books, pamphlets, and magazines/periodicals in 23 boxes, with an approximate value of $13,000.  This is a tremendous and wonderful gift.  Many of the titles are difficult to come by.  All of the apparition titles are essential to be current in the field.  There are also items which we already have; but we receive frequent requests from Korea and Africa for Marian books and will now be able to share!  We wish to thank both these benefactors very much for this sizable and sensible contribution to the Marian Library and to wish them many blessings.

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IMRI Professor comments on Gibson's Passion

Last week USA Today sought out Fr. Bert Buby, S.M. for his help in explaining the debate behind Mel Gibson's controversial film, The Passion of the Christ.  For more details see udinthenews.org.  Some of Fr. Buby's comments on the film were posted in the Mary Page News for 2/27/2004.

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International Marian Research Institute Course Schedule

IMRI courses for the Fall 2003 semester concluded on Nov. 14.  The schedule of future IMRI courses will be posted on the Mary Page when available.

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IMRI's Media Specialist comments on Gibson's Passion

Michael Duricy, who wrote his STL thesis on The Virgin Mary in Film viewed Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ on March 4 and offers the following considerations:

I had the opportunity to read a great deal of commentary on the film and to speak with a number of people who had seen it before I was able to attend.  I went expecting to see the studio equivalent of a banal pre-conciliar fervorino, neither as objectionable as some pre-release criticism suggested, nor as commendable as supporters claimed.  I was pleasantly surprised by what I actually did experience, and feel that my decision to publish a professional commentary only after viewing the finished product, rather than to "theorize in advance of the facts," now seems fully justified.  I was strongly engaged throughout the 2+ hours and left feeling that I had just watched a truly special work of art.

Before discussing details of the film, let me mention a few general observations about the genre and style of this Passion.  It is a well-crafted studio production, replete with an array of conventionally established cinematographic techniques [and, of course, musical scoring in the background].  It occupies the opposite end of the spectrum from Pasolini's also-superb Gospel According to Matthew (1964).  In general, it resembles those fantasy epics made during the 'Golden Age of Hollywood.'  But to be more specific, its style resembles the horror genre more closely than a traditional 'Life of Christ' film.  The opening scene in Gethsemane shows a full moon and bluish fog, more like the British moor in Hound of the Baskervilles than documentary footage of the Holy Land.  The Devil is visibly present, accompanied by a phantom snake and by childlike imps [not mentioned in the Bible, but familiar from the nightmare visions of slasher fare].  There is as much Hollywood in this film as there is Gospel.  But, this should not be taken simply as criticism, since the film is plainly a dramatic narrative intended for mass-market consumption rather than a catechetical statement from the Vatican.  The Gospels themselves are narrative texts designed for pastoral use, not newspaper reports or courtroom transcriptions.  Awareness of such facts [which are so obvious that it seems patronizing to state them] should go a long way towards resolving controversy and bad feelings.  This also points out the value of supplementing such audio-visual material with Bible reading and religious studies.

Moving on to specifics, the story seems to be a good-faith effort to present the most central points about Jesus' life using the Bible and elements from Catholic tradition and popular piety.  Whatever elements remain in the final cut from non-canonical sources were, for the most part, beneath my threshold of notice.  The plot centers on the struggle which Jesus [played by James Caviezel] faced in choosing between personal welfare and higher calling.  This higher calling [we are explicitly told from the opening scene, then repeatedly throughout] involves the responsibility for repairing the catastrophic effects of sin, at the cost of personal torment.  Our protagonist seems more authentically human than any Christ which I recall seeing on the silver screen [H. B. Warner in DeMille's 1927 King of Kings was noteworthy in this aspect].  The divinity of Caviezel's Jesus was manifest largely in his interior certainty of the personal presence of God and of a transcendent significance to his vocation which were deep enough to withstand the worst trials.  [There were a couple miracles taken directly from scripture, like healing his captor's severed ear, cf. Jn18:10.]

Knowing the protagonist and the conflict used to drive the dramatic narrative, further organization follows along typical semiotic lines.  Characters are defined primarily by whether they support or hinder Jesus' decision to accept the sacrifice demanded by his vocation.  Their affinities and antipathies among each other are determined by their choice on this question.  Whatever their personal relationship might have been, Mary, the Woman taken in adultery [Magdelene in the credits], Veronica, and John, are all united in following Jesus as he willingly walks the via dolorosa.  Caiaphas, and Pilate, the Jewish mob, the wildly brutal Roman guards, the Devil, and even Peter, are bunched into an aggregate opposed to Jesus' altruistic commitment.

Mary [played by Maia Morgenstern] shows an empathy [bordering on the mystical] for her son throughout.  She senses his angst in her troubled dreams, and seems to feel his presence beyond the barrier of cell walls.  Yet for all this, she is courageous and composed.  This Mary does not manifest the physical beauty of Olivia Hussey [in Zeffirelli's 1977 Jesus of Nazareth].  She commands our attention and earns our respect with her strength and character.  This is not the swooning Madonna of medieval legend; this is Stabat Mater, standing bravely at the cross beside her captain, a soldier in a mystical battle on behalf of the whole human race.  Pernilla August offered a similar portrayal in her excellent portrayal of Mary, Mother of Jesus (1999).  But there was a theological element worth noting.  As there is unity among characters based on their choice, so too does antipathy arise between those on opposite sides of it.  I found particularly striking a scene in which the Devil and Mary glare at each other across the via dolorosa, diametrically opposed because over the quite-literal crux-of-the-matter between them.  The notion of Mary as Satan's opponent has been a part of Catholic teaching, receiving special emphasis in the century or so leading up to Vatican II.  This roadside encounter is the clearest and most dramatic example of that theme being portrayed visually, but it was not the only one in the film.

The action proceeded mostly in a conventional linear fashion from Gethsemane to Calvary.  However, competent use of flashbacks added considerable spiritual depth to the film.  For example, after Jesus falls on the way to the place of crucifixion, we see a flashback in which Mary watches her child take a less-hazardous spill.  After he reaches the hill of Calvary, a flashback shows him preaching the Sermon on the Mount from a hillside.  And, of course, Jesus' death on the cross is intercut with scenes from the Last Supper which Christians will later reenact in order to commemorate that event down through the centuries.  Though the subtitle was cut to reduce controversy over alleged anti-semitism, the recitation of Mt 27:25 seemed to me an artistic way to foreshadow the powerful scene in which Jesus' pierced side showers forth salvation.  These parallels and metaphors are common themes in Christian Tradition, and many are already present in the Scriptures.  The director's attempts to convey this visually impressed me greatly.

After the deposition of Jesus, the film uses its only 'fade' [I only recall 'cuts' for the other transitions].  A few seconds in black dissolve back to show the interior of the 'empty tomb,' then a brief shot of the Lord, risen and alive.  The Resurrection is portrayed discretely, but clearly.  The intensity of the film had started to diminish even before the death of Jesus.  The understated ending is enough to gently ground the viewer for return to the real world.

In closing, I would like to encourage my readers to view this excellent film.  However, I must add that it contains scenes of violence which are intense, prolonged and quite graphic, far more than any previous film about Jesus, though no more so than many other features of mass-market entertainment.  I do not invite sensitive viewers to watch it hoping that its good outweighs these problems.  Certainly, adults must consider this aspect of the film in deciding on its suitability for the youth in their care.

For those who do watch, I hope that the film encourages tolerance, virtue and hope.  I hope that it provides incentive for study, dialog and spiritual growth.  I hope that its artistic accomplishments and commercial success pave the way for more features based on the great Christian stories.  And I hope that Gibson is not simply 'preaching to the choir,' but to a larger [and more pluralistic] audience.  To this end, I welcome correspondence from my readers about this film and related topics.  I would particularly benefit from the opinions of those not 'in the choir,' so to speak, from non-Catholics, non-Christians, and the non-religious.  Feel free to email me at Michael.Duricy@notes.udayton.edu

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New Exhibit

Faith Meets Art

The Artist and the Bible: 20th Century Works on Paper will be on display in the Marian Library and Roesch Library galleries from March 1 to April 10, 2004.  The Galleries are open from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm weekdays and 10 am to 6 pm on weekends.  For more information, or to arrange for viewing at another time, call (937) 229-4214.  For more information, including sample images, click into the Exhibitions section of civa.org

New Crèches will also be on display in our museum through November 2004.

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Marian Events

Vatican Art Exhibit

After the very successful Vatican exhibit, The Mother of God: Art Celebrates Mary, Cincinnati's Museum Center (Union Terminal) offers another exhibit of Vatican treasures under the title of Saint Peter and the Vatican: The Legacy of the Popes.  The exhibit will be running through April 18, 2004.  For those interested in visiting the display, we offer a general introduction and some samples of the various sections of the extensive exhibit.

Lecture on Mary and Hinduism

Francis J. Clooney, S.J., Professor of Theology, Boston College.
Theology and Interreligious Dialogue in the 21st Century
Thursday March 25, 2004.. Sherrill Hall 3A at 8 p.m.

After completing doctoral studies at the University of Chicago, Francis Clooney accepted a position in the department of theology at Boston College. In addition to his teaching there, he is currently Visiting Academic Director of the Centre for Vaisnava and Hindu Studies at Oxford University, and Coordinator for Interreligious Dialogue for U. S. Jesuits. A special interest is theological conversation among adherents of world religions. Among his numerous books are Theology after Vedanta (1993) and Hindu God, Christian God (2001). His current project is research on Hindu goddesses and the Virgin Mary. He is an alumnus of Weston Jesuit.

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



On Saturday, March 13, in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father will pray the Rosary with a group of European university students at the culminating moment of their daylong meeting in Rome on the theme "The Pope and University Students, Together for Europe."

This European Day of University Students is being held to mark the May 1 entry into the European Union of ten new countries. The meeting is promoted by the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE), the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) and by the office for university ministry of the Vicariate of Rome.

The encounter will start at 5:45 p.m. with the entrance of the Cross, accompanied by a choir of 1,700 youth from Italian universities and conservatories. Before the Pope’s arrival, and in a television linkup with university students from cities in countries about to enter the European Union--Prague, Nicosia, Gniezno, Vilnius, Tallinn, Riga, Bratislava, Budapest, Valletta and Ljubljana--the young people will reflect on the Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesia in Europe" and welcome the delegations from these ten nations.

Pope John Paul, following his arrival at 6:30 p.m., will lead the Rosary, address the university students and then inaugurate the pilgrimage that the Cross will make to the church of St. Agnes in Rome’s Piazza Navona.


From Zenit

Pope Hopes to Visit Loreto, Says Catholic Action

Would Beatify Alberto Marvelli in September

ROME, MARCH 3, 2004 (Zenit.org)

John Paul II hopes to travel to the Shrine of Loreto on Sept. 5 to beatify Alberto Marvelli, an Italian engineer and politician who died at age 28. The Pope expressed this hope in a recent audience granted to Paola Bignardi, president of Italian Catholic Action, according to a statement published by this movement. Catholic Action is planning a pilgrimage Sept. 1-5 to Italy's most important Marian shrine. More than 100,000 members of the association are expected to participate. The initiative aims "to give a missionary thrust to the association so that it will rediscover its apostolic passion and develop it in its daily associations and in its relation to parishes," Catholic Action explained.

Alberto Marvelli (1918-1946), of the Diocese of Rimini, was educated by the Salesians and Catholic Action. Of profound spirituality, he carried out a great work of aid to the poor during World War II. Committed to the reconstruction of postwar Italy, Marvelli was a member of the executive of the Christian Democratic Party. He died after being accidentally hit by a truck.

The recognition of a miracle attributed to his intercession--a Bologna doctor was inexplicably cured of a hernia in 1991--opened the way to Marvelli's beatification.

According to tradition, the Shrine of Loreto, located near Ancona on the Adriatic coast, preserves the Virgin Mary's house, transported from Nazareth in 1294.


Papal Rosary Will Reach 10 Capitals

New EU Nations to Join in 2nd European University Day

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 2, 2004 (Zenit.org)

Capitals of the 10 countries that will soon enter the European Union will participate when John Paul II leads the praying of a rosary on European University Day.

"Christ, Europe's Hope" is the title of the 2nd European University Day. The March 13 event is being sponsored by the Council of European Episcopal Conferences and the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community, and organized by the Vicariate of Rome's Office for Pastoral Work in Universities.

The climax of the day--a Marian vigil with the Pope in Paul VI Hall at 6 p.m.--will be broadcast via satellite to the 10 capitals: Tallinn, Vilnius, Riga, Warsaw, Prague, Bratislava, Ljubljana, Budapest, Valletta and Nicosia.

Connections with these countries will be facilitated by the Vatican Television Center in collaboration with the Italian Ministry for Communications. The event will broadcast live via satellite and through the CTV Web page.

Monsignor Lorenzo Leuzzi, director of the Office for University Pastoral Care, mentioned last year's rosary with the Pope and said: "None of us can forget the enthusiasm and emotion of the link with Moscow, which ensured a sort of 'virtual visit' of John Paul II to the 'third Rome.'"

Italian university and music school choirs, with more than 1,800 choristers, will join in the vigil.

Before the Holy Father's arrival, university students will reflect on the postsynodal apostolic exhortation "Ecclesia in Europa."

The Pope is scheduled to arrive at 6:30 p.m. All cities linked by satellite will join in the praying of the rosary. An address by the Pope will follow.

More details are available at the Italian-language site www.universitas2000.org.

Pope's Surprise Visit to Contemplative Nuns at Vatican

Carmelites Were Having Dinner When the Doorbell Rang

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 2, 2004 (Zenit.org)

The nuns of the cloistered convent in the Vatican received an unexpected visit from John Paul II when night had already fallen.

The Pope's meeting with the nuns of Mater Ecclesiae convent took place Feb. 11, feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and World Day of the Sick, but the news was only made public now by the information bulletin of the Discalced Carmelites.

The nuns themselves tell the story of what happened in a letter they wrote a few minutes after the Pope's visit, which they sent to their sisters in religion.

The letter explains that the nuns were dining in silence in the refectory, listening to the recording of John Paul II's address to the sick, gathered in St. Peter's Basilica earlier in the day. The text follows.

* * *

We were listening to a tape of the Pope's address to the sick who had filled St Peter's Basilica that very afternoon.

All of a sudden the loud and unexpected sound of the bell at our door made us all jump: what could be the matter? It has to be something serious ... an accident, a fire? One of the Sisters ran quickly to the door, but because the sound of the bell did not stop Our Mother also ran to help. When they arrived at the door they both heard someone shouting: "It is the Holy Father! Open the gates, quickly!"

Our Mother rushed back into the house to pick up the keys and at the same time the Sisters switched on the outside lights; it was very dark outside and the driver of the Pope's car was complaining: "It's pitch-black here, how can we get in!" Meanwhile, the Holy Father sat patiently waiting for the gates to open.

The gates eventually opened and the Popemobile, headlights on, eventually passed through. We saw the Holy Father smiling. He greeted us, then gave us his blessing. The look on his face suggested that he was happy and satisfied at having surprised us with this unexpected visit!

Sitting next to him were Their Excellencies Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz and Monsignor Mieczyslaw.

Once inside the convent proper the vehicle stopped, the plastic sides that surround the Popemobile were lifted up, the steps were lowered. The Pope's private secretaries got out of their car and invited Our Mother to get in beside the waiting and still smiling Pope. He asked her: "How many are here?" Then Our Mother said: "Your Holiness, I know that you love Carmel very much, please bless all Carmelites." He consented and gave a blessing.

One by one the Sisters approached the Holy Father, each one said a few words and received a blessing. We are all struck by his penetrating gaze which seems to search to the heart.

All this took place in an atmosphere of great simplicity and cordiality. While the Sisters were taking turns to sit beside the Holy Father, we sincerely thanked Archbishop Stanislaw for having taken the initiative to stop at the Convent in returning from the nearby Lourdes Grotto, where the Pope had wanted to conclude this special Marian day.

When the last Sister met the Pope, we joked that we should begin all over again ... but Monsignor Paolo De Nicolo, with a smile, only allowed Mother to return. And so, with a final blessing, and after singing "Tota Pulchra" we said our goodbyes to the Holy Father. We followed the Popemobile down the slope to the gates, we were moved as we watched the Pope leaving, all the time continuing to wave. Then, the Pope's car and all the cars of his entourage disappeared into the distance ... and we remained with hearts full of gratitude and joy.

But it was not over yet. About thirty minutes later, while we were in the recreation room, there was another long, loud ring. It was someone from the Pope's residence bringing a large box of chocolates, a delicious cake, a bas-relief in wax of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross [Edith Stein] and a fine and artistic candle which we immediately lit and put at the feet of the Blessed Virgin.

* * *

The Mater Ecclesiae convent of contemplative nuns in the Vatican was founded by John Paul II in 1994, to enrich the Roman Curia with the presence and prayer of religious dedicated to contemplation.

By instruction of the Pope, the community of the convent changes ever five years, the period of duration of their assignment in the Curia.

In 1994, the convent had a community of Poor Clares. The present community of Carmelites, who come from several countries, arrived in the Vatican in September 1999.


Papal Ring to Decorate Painting of St. Joseph in Wadowice

Token of Gratitude to Carmelites

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 27, 2004 (Zenit.org)

John Paul II gave the Discalced Carmelites of Wadowice, his birthplace, his papal ring to decorate a painting of St. Joseph.

On March 19, solemnity of the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the painting will be decorated at Mass in the presence of several Polish bishops and Carmelite representatives.

The event, which has stirred wide interest in Poland, will be preceded by a novena, the Carmelites said.

John Paul II was inspired to make this gift by the example of his predecessor, Blessed John XXIII, who in the year of the inauguration of the Second Vatican Council, offered his papal ring to decorate the hand of St. Joseph in the cathedral of Kalisz.

"Inspired by the Gospel," John Paul II wrote in a papal bull dated last Oct. 16, "the Fathers of the Church from the first centuries underlined that St. Joseph, who had lovingly looked after Mary and dedicated himself to the joyful task of educating Jesus Christ, also looks after and protects the Church, of which Mary is both exemplar and model."

John Paul II, who marked the 25th anniversary of his election to the papacy that day, expressed in the text his gratitude "to this tireless defender of Christ" for his protection.

"In the city where I was born, St. Joseph, the Patron Saint of my Baptism, bestowed his protection on the People of God in the Discalced Carmelite Church 'on the hill,' where his painting is venerated above the high altar," the Pope wrote.

"I offer the papal ring, in the twenty fifth year of my pontificate, for a similar decoration of the painting of him who nourished the Son of God, venerated in the Carmelite Church, Wadowice," he continued.

"May this ring," he added, "symbol of married love, which will be placed on the hand of St. Joseph in the painting of Wadowice, remind his devotees that the Head of the Holy Family is 'that just man of Nazareth (who) possesses the clear characteristics of a husband ... and remained faithful to God's call until the end ... and received the same love, through whose power the Eternal Father has predestined us to be His adopted children through Jesus Christ.'"

John Paul II also thanks the Carmelites, "faithful guardians of their Church in Wadowice, for all that I received since my childhood from the Carmelite School of Spirituality."

The Holy Father exhorts the religious, following "the example of their Holy Mother, Teresa of Jesus," to "contemplate St. Joseph as the perfect model of intimacy with Jesus and Mary, Patron of interior prayer and untiring service to his brothers and sisters."

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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.

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This page, maintained by The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute, Dayton, Ohio 45469-1390, and created by Kris Sommers , was last modified Monday, 03/29/2004 15:25:32 EST by Michael P. Duricy . Please send any comments to jroten1@udayton.edu.

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