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Liturgical Season 4/14/04 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 April 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 April.

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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 Meditating the Passion of Our Lord with Stamps.  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 added "Do Whatever He Tells You," a homily for the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes to our Meditations menu and updated our list of Marian Shrine Addresses in the U.S.  The complete program for this year's Mariological Society of America meeting has now been posted on our Outreach page.

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  News from the Marian Library

International Marian Research Institute Course Schedule

IMRI courses for the Summer 2004 semester will begin on June 14.  The schedule is now available!

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Alumni Update

Fr. Donald Calloway, IMRI student and Assistant Rector of the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass, presents moving personal testimony in a recent video produced by Children of Medjugorje.  The Marian Library now has a VHS videotape copy of Fr. Calloway's Incredible Testimony available for patrons to check out.

Also, Michael Duricy, Media Specialist for ML/IMRI, was interviewed on DATV about the history of 'Life of Christ' films.  The program was cablecast several times in the Dayton area between Good Friday and Easter. On a related note, his review of Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, previously posted on The Mary Page, will also be published in the next issues of Integra and of Vidya.

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IMRI Graduate Comments on Gibson's Passion

Dr. Virginia Kimball, IMRI graduate and Professor at Merrimack College, recently viewed Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, and offered the reflections below.

Seeing?--The Mother in Passion of the Christ

Blood.  More blood.  Blood soaked up in cloths by the redeemed prostitute and the bleeding Son’s mother--and later blood filling the mother’s mouth as she kisses her dead son’s feet.  To the theologian this is “blood atonement” theology at its deepest, most brutal, tumultuous, and terrible dimension.  It robs Christ’s death of fuller meaning. 

And the mother?  We watch his mother as she follows with shock and tears, yet filled with resignation.  Jesus tells his mother:  “See, mother, I make all things new.”  Does she “see”?  Do we “see” all things new at the conclusion of this film?  The story has impact but no clear resolution except sadistic satisfaction for sin.  Where is the victory over death?  Where is the glory? 

The mother’s role is almost impotent.  She is human and powerless, even in soul.  At his trial she says: “It has begun, Lord.  So be it.”  The words are impersonal, not words of a mother.  And she gives little or nothing to the viewer except expressions of sorrow and bewilderment.

Our new generation seems to need violence, blatant and un-relinquished battering, unabated bleeding, flailing mobs, and finally silent and stalwart mothers to approach even one meaning in the Passion of the Christ

The mother is there at every step from trial through torture to morbidity in the putrid mount of execution and death.  Only once does she whisper:  “My son, when, where, how, will you be delivered of this?”  The viewer thought she knew.

Eyes seemed to tell it all.  We saw abject suffering in the Lord’s eyes.  We saw devils with blank eyes, distorted eyes, and gruesome eyes.  We saw the mother’s eyes almost always filled with tears.  We saw the devil’s feminine face, deep raspy male voice, but eyes that never blinked and never stopped from staring. 

The mother runs to her Son as he stumbles with the cross.  She flashes back to his childhood tumble.  All she can say are the mother’s words:  “I’m here.”

Perhaps that is the best that anyone can say.  At the cross, she says more: “Let me die with you.”  It seems pathetic, and useless.

The deposition of Christ’s dead body drops a corpse into his mother’s arms.  It is a cinema “Pieta.”  She stares, just stares.  No motherly care, or loss. Where is Michelangelo’s genius if this needs to be imagined?  But, is the film respectful of Jewish culture in such a scene that goes against all feasible attitudes of the time about handling a dead body?  This mother of Christ was human and yet enigmatic.  She appeared “to understand” and yet she had to clench rocks in steeled terror. 

The movie’s pace is constantly sealed in tumult.  Politics judge the cause.  Human brutality is unbridled and only death the resolution.  Humanity’s sin can be assuaged only when the Lord is flogged.  Was it that simple?  Flashbacks to the rabbi’s words of peace are a respite, but too brief.   The balance is skewed.  The gift of all things new seems lost in grizzly faced guards and jeering demons. 

Actress Maia Morgenstern performed her best.  We blame the script for leaving out some hint of hope, some glance of glory the mother must have known, some warmth that mothers have--even in the face of death.  There is no hint of vision for her.  She presses her face to the pavement steeped in spilt blood.  It is delusional.

Yet, the creeping--almost floating--female demon with monstrous child betrays the real fault of human sin. Eye to eye, the mother stares her down.  What’s the battle? Woman redeeming what woman lost? Is this the Eve and Mary parallel?  Again, reality is  askew. Should we blame “the woman”?  Does the mother win? Again … what does the mother see?

The movie maker’s insistence of blood atonement is unrelenting.  The Jewish law forgotten, the mother’s mouth fills with blood with her kiss at the cross and the script storms down reality to spiritual absurdity. 

Some walk away with awe.  “It touched my heart,” they say.  Yet, let’s hope it is a prompt for a true gift of sight. The stones rolled from Mary’s hands as her Son collapsed in pain.  The last we knew was her bewildered stare into our world.  We never saw her “heart.”

And yet, first Christians did truly know this mother.  Book of Acts and tradition suggest a clearer view of her. The woman who saw angels in the sky at Christ’s birth must have had a clue.  The mother who saw Lazarus rise stinking from the grave must have suspected. As well, tradition centers her among the men, as the Son ascends after 40 days. And, she will be there at Pentecost waiting with all the others for the awesome power of what’s new.  This movie has missed something:  the mother should have been the real mother, the mother who could anguish and yet know; she should have been the mother who questioned and yet saw; and, she might have been the mother who spared a glimpse of the victory at the cross, the fruit of love, and the glory of the loss.

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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.

Embraced by Love: 9th Annual Catholic Women's Event

Saturday, May 1, 2004 8:45 am - 4:30 pm
at The Cintas Center of Xavier University (Cincinnati, Ohio)

A Eucharistic, Marian, Healing, Celebration of Woman.

Mission Statement: To strengthen families by empowering women to be life-giving, Christ-bearers through authentic femininity, modeled to us by Mary, Mother of God.

For more information call (513) 553-2275 or click into www.embracethechildren.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

REGINA COELI, MARY’S JOY FOR THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST

VATICAN CITY, APR 12, 2004 (VIS)

Pope John Paul appeared at his study window today an noon to pray the Regina Coeli with the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square. He noted that the Angelus is replaced at Eastertime by this prayer "which expresses Mary’s joy for the resurrection of her divine Son. Mary thus becomes a model of the Christian community which ‘rejoices’ in the Easter of its Lord, the source of authentic joy for all believers."

"Dear brothers and sisters," the Pope continued, "on this Monday of the Angel, a prolongation of Easter Sunday, each of us pauses near the empty sepulchre to meditate on the supreme wonder of the resurrection of Christ. The Virgin Mary, a silent witness of this mystery, confirms us in personal cohesion to the One Who died and rose for the salvation of every individual. May she be our teacher and guide in the faith; may she support us in moments of doubt and temptation; may she obtain for us inner serenity that no fear can dispel because it is rooted in the certainty that Christ has truly risen."

ANG/RESURRECTION/…

From Zenit

Edith Stein, as Teacher of Liturgical Spirituality

Excerpt from an interview With Carmelite Father Jesús Castellano Cervera

Q: Why is Edith Stein's liturgical contribution not known, she who was in the vanguard with Guardini and other great masters of the liturgy of her time?

Father Castellano Cervera: Edith is a multifaceted figure. We admire her as a phenomenologist and philosopher, as an interpreter of St. Thomas, of Teresa of Jesus, and of John of the Cross. Her writings are numerous.

This fragment of her spirituality, which is a fragment that contains the whole, has been discovered little by little, especially when trying to put her spiritual journey into context, the roots of her education in Jewish liturgy, her influences and her participation in the spirituality of her age, and when trying to discover some of her writings where her theological and spiritual vein are especially manifested.

There are still unpublished texts and others that are not well known, as the journal of her spiritual retreat in preparation for her perpetual profession [April 10-21, 1938], a real jewel of spirituality of the Paschal mystery lived with Mary.

Excerpts from the LETTER OF THE HOLY FATHER POPE JOHN PAUL II TO PRIESTS FOR HOLY THURSDAY 2004

7. Dear brother priests, your particular mission in the Church requires that you be "friends" of Christ, constantly contemplating his face with docility at the school of Mary Most Holy. Pray unceasingly, as the Apostle exhorts (cf. 1Th 5:17), and encourage the faithful to pray for vocations, for the perseverance of those called to the priestly life and for the sanctification of all priests. Help your communities to love ever more fully that unique "gift and mystery" which is the ministerial priesthood.

8. I entrust each of you and your daily ministry to Mary, Mother of Priests. During the recitation of the Rosary, the fifth mystery of light leads us to contemplate with Mary's eyes the gift of the Eucharist, to marvel at the love that Jesus showed "to the end" (Jn 13:1) in the Upper Room, and at his humble presence in every tabernacle. May the Blessed Virgin obtain for you the grace never to take for granted the mystery put in your hands. With endless gratitude to the Lord for the amazing gift of his Body and Blood, may you persevere faithfully in your priestly ministry.

Mary, Mother of Christ our High Priest, pray that the Church will always have numerous and holy vocations, faithful and generous ministers of the altar!

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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.

Orthodox icon [Source: The Times (London), 3/13/2004]

A CELEBRATED Orthodox icon is to be returned to Russia half a century after it was taken to the United States for safekeeping during the Communist era. The Tikhvin icon of the Mother of God will be shown for the last time today at St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral in New York. According to tradition, the icon featuring the Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus was painted by St Luke and taken from Jerusalem to Constantinople in the 5th century. The icon was removed from Russia during the Second World War by its guardian, Bishop John of Riga, who claimed it was a valueless reproduction.

A Test Of Faith In Clearwater [Source: Tampa Tribune (Florida), 3/11/2004]

The scientists and laypeople who studied the building at 21649 U.S. 19 in Clearwater could never agree what caused a likeness of the Virgin Mary on its windows.

Either a miracle of God or a complex water stain--it didn't matter.

Hundreds of thousands of people gathered at the site at U.S. 19 and Drew Street since the image was detected in 1996, and many left with stronger faith.

That's why the recent vandalism that destroyed most of the image is so deplorable. The image, which indeed looked like familiar depictions of the Virgin Mary, comforted people who prayed, wept and reflected there. They brought flowers. Many made repeat trips.

In a world with violence and turmoil, some people found solace in the likeness and felt blessed that it was in our back yard. Why would someone harm something that people found good and meaningful?

The physical damage was corrected Monday, as workers installed clear glass. The older panels--depicting what appears to be Mary's cloak around her shoulders--remain, saving at least part of a vision that proved deeply moving for many people, no matter what--or who--created it.

The Annunciation Of Francesca Dunn; by Janis Hallowell [Source: People, 3/22/2004]

CRITIC'S CHOICE

NOVEL

"What if God was one of us?" could be the theme song for this provocative and suspenseful first novel. But instead of God, it's the Virgin Mary who appears in present-day America. Chester, a mildly deranged street person in Boulder, Colo., has a vision of Mary, whom he recognizes as 14-year-old Francesca Dunn. While she's serving breakfast at a cafe, she is bathed in a shaft of light. Chester falls at her feet, demanding that she bless him, and though "creeped out," she shakily grants his request. The next day another man claims Francesca has cured his ailing heart. From there events escalate wildly. The world converges on Francesca as she shows signs of pregnancy. Is she truly touched by God or just buoyed by her followers? Hallowell offers no easy answers as her various narrators incisively trace the intricate connections between divinity and madness, faith and reason.

[4 STARS]

One of most venerated Russian icons to return to Russia June 23 [Source: 3/25/2004, ITAR-TASS]

One of the most venerated Russian icons, the miracle-working icon of Our Lady of Tikhvin, is expected to return to Russia June 23, 2004, after more than five decades of stay in the U.S.

A decision on that was taken Thursday at a session of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, chaired by Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Alexis II.

The story of the icon's departure from Russia reflects the havoc that this country had to live through in the 20th century.

The icon of Our Lady of Tikhvin, considered to be a protector of Russia's northwest territories, was kept in the Tikhvin Monastery of Virgin Mary before the Bolshvik revolution of 1917.

The atheistic authorities closed the monastery in 1924, and the icon was taken to a church in the town of Tikhvin about 170 kilometers east off St Petersburg (then Leningrad).

The area was seized by Nazi troops from 1941 through 1943, during which time the icon was moved from Tikhvin to the olden Russian city of Pskov.

From there, it was taken to Riga in 1944, where it was kept by the Orthodox Archbishop John (Garklavs).

He took it together with him into emigration to the U.S. in 1949, and the icon went down to his son Sergiy, also a cleric, after the Archbishop's death.

Shortly before he passed away, Archbishop John left a will saying the icon must return to Russia on the condition that the Tikhvin Monastery of Virgin Mary is restored.

January 12, 2004, Alexis II had talks with a delegation of the Orthodox Church in America, at which the sides reached agreement that icon would return to Russia, since the monastery had been restored and opened again.

THE KABBALAH CREW: MADONNA, GUY, AND DEMI [Source: The Express, 3/22/2004]

MADONNA paid tribute to her namesake when she turned up for a Kabbalah ceremony yesterday in a T-shirt picturing the Virgin Mary, with the slogan "Mary is my homegirl."

The singer and her husband Guy Ritchie were joined at the Kabbalah headquarters in Los Angeles at the weekend by actress Demi Moore and her boyfriend Ashton Kutcher.

All four observed the dress code of black for women and white for men. Madonna's interest in Kabbalah--which is loosely based on Jewish mysticism--has inspired stars including Courtney Love, Barbra Streisand, and Elizabeth Taylor to sign up.

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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 Thursday, 04/15/2004 13:24:15 EDT by Michael P. Duricy . Please send any comments to jroten1@udayton.edu.