Liturgical Season 3/22/04 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

To help users locate The Mary Page, we have created an alternate web address, marypage.udayton.edu.

A section on Marian Spiritualities has been added to our Resources index.  The latest addition was a paper by Brother John Samaha on Mary in Byzantine Spirituality.  Expect more articles to follow.

A section on international stamps with images of Mary has also 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.

We have posted our answers to the following reader questions: Is there a Marian symbolism related to the moon? and What is a Russian Rosary? We have also added a link to the Pontifical Mission Society's multimedia Way of the Cross for Children in our Resources page under Children's Resources.

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  News from the Marian Library

Personal thoughts and reflections about Mary 
from our readers

We have received a number of emails from readers commending our Mary Page web site.  Thank you all for your encouragement and support.  The following comments are typical examples:

Thank you so much for the wonderful, complete Marian site.  The links to prayers are especially great! ... I have never seen such a comprehensive site as yours ... Thank you for sharing the Blessed Mother online!


We are a new website based in Trinidad and Tobago ... We were very impressed by your Guyana stamp feature ... Periodically we visit your site for Marian insights, news and literature.


Please keep up the good work and continue the wide variety of questions you choose to answer.  Keep up the Marian apparitions reports too.  I enjoy this site and have used its concrete topics as helpful extra information, in courses based on Mary in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.


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Alumni Update

Several IMRI students and graduates have recently had articles published in Homiletic and Pastoral Review: "Marriage 'in the Lord'" by Donald Calloway; "Mary, Mother of the Church" by Dwight P. Campbell; "John Duns Scotus, Champion of the Immaculate Conception" by John Samaha; and "The Acolyte, Minister of the altar" by Benedict D. O'Cinnsealaigh.

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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 specializes in the Virgin Mary in Film, viewed Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ on March 4 and offered the following considerations:

There has been a great deal of commentary on Mel Gibson's film which couldn't help but send me to the theater with a certain expectation.  I imagined that I would see the equivalent of a banal pre-conciliar fervorino, neither as objectionable as some pre-release criticism suggested, nor as commendable as supporters claimed.  Based on my experience with film review, I wanted to publish a commentary only after viewing the finished product.  I was strongly engaged throughout the film's length, more than two hours, which left me with the feeling of having 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, spiritual reflection, and further religious study.

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.  A couple of miracles, taken directly from scripture, were shown (e.g. healing his captor's severed ear, cf. Jn18:10).  Of course, each miracle shown tends to emphasize a divine side to Jesus as contrasted with his humanity.

Knowing the protagonist, and the conflict which was used to drive the dramatic narrative, further organization follows typical lines for those familiar with 'structural analysis.'  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 (Magdalene 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 a mystical empathy with 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 also 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 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 (e.g. Mary standing on a serpent in many representations of the Immaculate Conception).  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 inter-cut with scenes from the Last Supper which Christians will later reenact in order to commemorate that event down through the centuries.  These parallels and metaphors are common themes in Christian Tradition, and many are already present in the Scriptures.  What impressed me most was the director's attempt to convey Christian Tradition visually.

After the deposition of Jesus, the film uses its only 'fade' (I only recall cutaways 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 discreetly, 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.  A virtual exhibit may be seen on our Gallery section under Current Exhibit.

New Crčches 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.

The Nature of Mary

Wednesday March 24 (Free-will offering)
Marianist Environmental Education Center (MEEC)--Dayton, Ohio [Directions]

6 pm        Guided Labyrinth Meditative Walk (optional)    L. Jablonski
                Meet at MEEC Resource Center--St. Joseph Hall, Mount St. John

7-9 pm    Program featuring Home Places Art exhibit        Carol Ramey and Vincenzina Krymow
               Meet in Gallery St. John

This event is free and open to the public.  RSVP by phone at 937-429-3482 or by email at meec@udayton.edu.

On the eve of the feast of the Annunciation, an evening of prayer and reflection on Mary as a model of openness and responsiveness to the needs of today's world.  The Annunciation invites us to consider how we can nurture each person in discovering their gifts and call and cultivate passion for the transformation if social injustices.

Celebrate the Annunciation and Incarnation of the Lord

Saint Peter Catholic Church
6161 Chambersburg Road, Huber Heights (OH)
Thursday March 25, 2004 at 7 p.m.

Sponsored by St. Peter Parish, the International Marian Research Institute, Knights of Columbus and One More Soul.  Musical Rehearsal and Prelude begin at 6:15 with celebration of Holy Mass at 7.  A reception will follow in the church basement at which Brother William Fackovec, SM, will present a display of Annunciation art from The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute.  For additional information, please call Steve Koob, One More Soul, at (937) 279-5433.

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



Psalm 20, "Thanksgiving for the victory of the Messiah-King," was the theme of the Pope’s catechesis during the general audience celebrated this morning in St. Peter’s Square.

The Pope said that this psalm, "one of the royal psalms," expresses the gratitude of the people for "what God has done in favor of the Hebrew sovereign on the solemn day of his enthronement."

God, he continued, showers blessing on the king who is "a reflection of the light of God in the midst of humanity. … The prophet Nathan also assured David of this blessing which is a source of stability, sustenance and safety."

"When we recite this psalm, we see the face of Christ, the Messiah King in the figure of the Hebrew king . … He is the Son of God in the fullest sense and is therefore the presence of God in the midst of humanity. He is the light and the life. … In this way, the psalmist announces His resurrection from the dead and that He, risen from the dead, is immortal. … Based on this certainty," he concluded, "Christians cultivate hope in the gift of eternal life."

While greeting pilgrims in Polish, John Paul II recalled that Friday is the solemnity of St. Joseph, spouse of Our Lady. "This solemnity," he affirmed, "urges families of today, comforted by the example of Mary and Joseph, who lovingly cared for the Word Incarnate, to be inspired by their lifestyle when making daily decisions and to gather strength to overcome difficulties. Only in an authentic family, one that is united and loving, can children mature in a healthy way, following the example of unconditional love, fidelity, reciprocal self-giving and respect for life. I ask Polish families to strive to be this way. May God bless you all."

The Holy Father also addressed a group of pilgrims from the Italian archdiocese of Spoleto-Norcia, accompanied by a delegation that just returned from the Holy Land where they lit the Benedictine torch of peace a few days ago in Nazareth and, after the stop in Rome, will proceed to Norcia. "I am pleased," he said, "by your renewed commitment to harmony among peoples. I hope that your region, land of St. Francis and St. Benedict, may be ever more conscious of the spiritual values that forged the thought, art and culture of Italy and Europe."

AG/PSALM 20/… VIS 040317 (410)

From Zenit

Way-of-the-Cross Keeps Kids in Mind

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 19, 2004 (Zenit.org)

The Pontifical Mission Society for Missionary Childhood has produced a special Missionary Stations of the Cross, uniting the suffering of children with that of Jesus.

Inspired by John Paul II's Message for Lent, the Stations of the Cross, entitled "Small Steps of Love and Pain," reminds adults and children that the path trodden by Jesus is the same path trodden by millions of children today, the Vatican agency Fides reports.

The weight of the cross Jesus accepts to save the world includes the burden carried by child-workers in factories, plantations and workshops. Each station includes a prayer, usually a request for pardon because children are not given the attention they deserve.

Simple illustrations also help reflection and prayer. Jesus' cross is studded with the faces of children, who carry with him and like him a burden that does not fit their age.

This special Via Crucis has been translated in five languages and sent to all national Pontifical Mission Societies directors.


St. Joseph's Day Highlights Family, Says John Paul II

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 17, 2004 (Zenit.org)

John Paul II sees the solemnity of St. Joseph this Friday as a chance to reflect on the decisive influence of the family on children.

"This solemnity exhorts the families of today, comforted by the example of Mary and Joseph, who with love cared for the incarnate Word, to be inspired by their lifestyle in making daily decision of life and strength to overcome the difficulties," the Pope said in Polish at the end of today's general audience.

"Only in a genuine family, united lastingly and lovingly, can children reach healthy maturity, drawing from the example of freely given love, fidelity, reciprocal self-forgetfulness, and respect for life," he added.

Speaking afterward in Italian, the Holy Father invited young people to follow the example of St. Joseph, to "correspond every day with the Lord's wishes."

John Paul II presented Jesus' adoptive father to the sick as "support in suffering." The Pope also encouraged newlyweds to be "always docile to divine plans" as St. Joseph was.


Jim Caviezel Tells of Meeting With Pope

Actor Who Plays Jesus in "The Passion" Thanked Holy Father for Letter to Artists

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 16, 2004 (Zenit.org)

Jim Caviezel, who plays Jesus in "The Passion of the Christ," thanked John Paul II for his witness which the actor said has profoundly inspired his own life.

Caviezel spoke today with a group of journalists about his private audience Monday with the Pope. They spoke, among other things, of the 1999 letter the Holy Father wrote to artists, Caviezel said. The actor said the letter has helped him personally.

The rest was "private," Caviezel told journalists in the Vatican, including a ZENIT representative.

The audience took place in the Pope's private library. "I couldn't tell you how long it lasted," said Caviezel. He said he did not look at his watch as he was absorbed in the Holy Father's conversation.

ZENIT saw some of the pictures taken during the meeting, and learned that John Paul II gave Caviezel a rosary. Caviezel and his wife were seated in front of the Pope's desk.

"John Paul II is a very special man for a very special world. He is the Pope of Fatima," Caviezel said in reference to the explanation given by the Holy See to the so-called third secret of the Virgin confided to the three little Portuguese shepherds. "The Pope is a mystic. He loves Christ."

Caviezel said of the film's director: "Mel Gibson is very, very Catholic, very Roman Catholic."

"Many celebrities say they are Catholics but they do not follow the Vatican, on pro-life issues, on capital punishment," Caviezel added. "When you see Mel Gibson's film, is it Protestant? Is it Muslim? Is it Catholic? What do you see?

"It is very Catholic, very universal. It is a great way to introduce people to what it means to be Catholic: It is universal, for all peoples, for all times."

For Caviezel, to be involved in the film was a "real spiritual experience."

"You can't see what is shown and remain indifferent" -- much less so if, as an actor, one penetrates the character to give the best of oneself, he said.

In acting the part, Caviezel said to himself: "I don't want people to see me; I just want them to see Jesus."

To come to this experience, Caviezel added, "I began with the rosary, the rosary led me to confession, confession led me to the Mass, every day, and always when I have the Eucharist in my body, I feel more like being in Christ."

The actor also responded to some accusations of anti-Semitism made by some groups against the film.

As a believer, Caviezel said, "I am Semitic. It is my lineage. I am from the House of David and Abraham."

If "someone says the film is anti-Semitic, the Bible should also be considered anti-Semitic," he said. Caviezel added that he has suggested to Jewish compatriots to make a film on Moses or David.

On Monday, Caviezel presented the film "The Passion of the Christ" to some ecclesiastics who live in Rome, before it was shown at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum.


Matilde Téllez Robles, a Unifier of Prayer and Action

Interview With Postulator, Father Sáez de Albéniz

ROME, MARCH 16, 2004 (Zenit.org)

John Paul II will beatify a Spaniard religious this Sunday, an event that takes on extra significance in the wake of the Madrid terrorist attacks.

Scheduled to be beatified is Matilde of the Sacred Heart Téllez Robles (1841-1902), founder of the Congregation of the Daughters of Mary Mother of the Church.

Mother Matilde combined contemplation and the apostolate in her life, dedicating herself to aiding the neediest, particularly the sick, the postulator of her cause, Father Antonio Sáez de Albéniz, says in this interview with ZENIT.

Q: Who is Matilde Téllez Robles? Why is the Church proclaiming her blessed?

Father Sáez de Albéniz: Matilde Téllez Robles was born in Robledillo de la Vera, province of Caceres, on May 30, 1841. She was baptized the following day.

When she was 10 years old, her father, who was a notary, moved their home to Bejar. Matilde received a good education in that city and manifested her early religious concerns. She was president of the Daughters of Mary, an active [member] of the Conferences of St. Vincent of Paul, and dedicated to pastoral work in the parish, etc.

Matilde was, without a doubt, one more person in the army of women who throughout the 19th century, each one in her way and with her own characteristics, dedicated themselves body and soul to the faith and to the mission of the Church in all realms of society.

By beatifying her, the Church recognizes her virtue, the power of intercession, and the teaching of her example.

Q: Was the future blessed a woman more inclined to contemplation or to action?

Father Sáez de Albéniz: Contemplation and action are not separate but concomitant.

A contemplation that is bare and removed from the needs of men would be far from what Christ was: the Son who lived in perpetual intimacy with the Father, and the One Sent who journeyed on the roads, preaching, teaching and curing the sick and the possessed because that was the will of the One who sent him.

Action without prayer would be, perhaps, only philanthropy.

From her youth, Matilde was delighted to be at the foot of the tabernacle. She very soon discovered the value of reparation, and if she ever had the thought of shutting herself in a cloistered convent, in fact, she decided to go out to the streets to look for sinners, the poor, the sick, and all those who are Jesus' favorites.

"I will bring you, Lord, all the hearts that I can, so that they will love and adore you," she said. Throughout her life, she was profoundly rooted in prayer and determined to take the love of Christ to the neediest.

Q: What inspired Matilde Téllez Robles to found the Congregation of the Daughters of Mary Mother of the Church?

Father Sáez de Albéniz: Being president of the Daughters of Mary, she had some friends who wished to go further in following Jesus.

After much discussion and consultation, they decided they would constitute themselves in a religious association that they called "Lovers of Jesus and Daughters of Mary Immaculate."

However, the day established to begin their life in common, the whole group, with only one exception, changed their mind. Only Maria Briz stayed with Matilde.

They began their life in common and their apostolate with the sick, orphans, etc., in a poor little house. They soon moved to Don Benito, where the institute began to grow. In Matilde's lifetime, it extended to eight houses.

With the outbreak of the plague in Don Benito, the sisters offered their heroic assistance, to the point that Matilde's first companion, Maria Briz, was infected while working with the sick and died, leaving an aura of good memories and heroism.

The name "Lovers of Jesus and Daughters of Mary Immaculate" lasted until 1962, the date on which they changed it to Daughters of Mary Mother of the Church.

Q: How did she combine her Eucharistic life with care for the neediest?

Father Sáez de Albéniz: Matilde had no problem in combining the two: love of God and of neighbor. Love is only one, with two aspects, if you will, but inseparable. This is how Jesus understood it and explained it in the Gospel.

When Matilde went out into the streets to care for the sick or to do any other work of the apostolate, she had the smile and love that she had received before the tabernacle.

When she returned home, she went to the chapel to give an account of what she had done to Jesus and to open her heart in loving compliments and gratitude. Her life was truly "unified."

Q: What Marian features colored Mother Matilde's life and the foundation she carried out?

Father Sáez de Albéniz: From a very early age she learned to love Mary. Her family constantly prayed and honored the Mother of God.

I have already mentioned that in her youth she was president of the Daughters of Mary. But I would not be able to say if it was Mary who took her to the tabernacle or if it was the tabernacle that made her understand Mary's unique place in the history of salvation.

The fact is, she was able to unite her two devotions in an admirable way. "Mary accompanies me at all times and does not cease to remind me of the tabernacle," she once wrote -- and also, "Mother of mine, love him with your heart for mine. ... Cover my uselessness before Jesus in the Sacrament."

For Matilde, Mary was a mother, teacher, guide and confidante. She loved to go before the image of the Virgin and tell her everything about herself, her worries, her love of Jesus.

Q: Did Mother Matilde wish to change social structures?

Father Sáez de Albéniz: She was very aware that the change of structures was not her competence directly. What she always tried to do was to act with kindness and justice, with love and understanding.

She did what she could to have things change and be closer to the Gospel and, of course, she was not silent when she had the opportunity to speak with someone who could contribute to improving the structures.

Q: What would Mother Matilde say today to our societies, all of them characterized by enormous needs, by loneliness, and by many forms of marginalization?

Father Sáez de Albéniz: I think she would very much have liked what John Paul II has cried out from the very first moment of his pontificate: "Open the doors to Christ!"

Matilde proclaimed it with all her strength, because she was convinced that where Christ enters there is light, life and love, because he, and he alone, is the Way.

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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 15:25:34 EST by Michael P. Duricy . Please send any comments to jroten1@udayton.edu.

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