Liturgical Season 4/20/04 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 Canon Law on Woman.  Expect more articles to follow.

The complete program for this year's Mariological Society of America meeting has now been posted on our Outreach page.  We have expanded our answer to a reader's question, Who is Our Lady of Kodiak?, and also added a page about the 400th anniversary of the Mother Thrice Admirable title celebrated by the Schoenstatt movement.

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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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Koehler Award Recipients Honored

Awards honoring the memories of Marianists who were influential in establishing the University of Dayton's libraries [Francis Ruhlman, Walter Klick, and Theodore Koehler] were presented to students in a ceremony in Roesch Library on April 5.

Three students received the Koehler International Student Award, which provides $200 to help international students buy textbooks.  This year's awards went to Jakub Konieczny, a senior majoring in international business; Mukthar Abdul, a graduate student in electrical and computer engineering; and Marie Michelle Wong Kung Fong, a junior majoring in visual communication design.

Started in 1996, the award is named for Father Theodore A. Koehler, S.M., the French Marianist who headed The Marian Library from 1969 to 1986.  Koehler founded the International Marian Research Institute and directed it from 1974 through 1986.  As Director Emeritus of ML/IMRI, he continued an active life of scholarship--as a researcher, editor and teacher--until shortly before his death on May 15, 2001.

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Alumni Update

It is with great sadness that we inform you that Beverly M. Stoller, former IMRI student, iconographer and affiliate of the Society of Mary, died on the evening of April 5, 2004 at Bridgeport Hospital in Connecticut.  Please remember, Beverly and her family in your prayers.  She was buried in Calvary Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.  Fr. Bert Buby, SM, held a memorial service for her at Mt. Saint John, Queen of Apostles on April 8.

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Marian Events

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

New Rosary CD

Mark Mallett, Catholic singer/songwriter and recording artist, just finished his third album, a Rosary CD called "Through Her Eyes: A Journey to Jesus."  This album is a direct response to Pope John Paul II's call to the faithful to rediscover the beauty, power and depth of the Rosary once again.  Produced by Mark, and two intense years in the making, this powerful and contemporary CD offers a completely new method to contemplate the mysteries of the Rosary.

For more information click into www.markmallett.com/markhomepage.html.

From Zenit

Relics Linked to the Crucifixion on Display in U.S.

Go to Washington After a Stop in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS, Missouri, APRIL 5, 2004 (Zenit.org)

Thousands of people flocked to see relics associated with Christ's death, in a rare display over the weekend at the St. Louis Cathedral.

Several of the long-venerated relics--from pieces of the cross, to replicas of the nails believed to have been used 2,000 years ago to crucify Christ--are now on public display in Washington, D.C. The relics will be shown at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center through April 18.

The St. Louis and Washington events were organized by the Apostolate for Holy Relics, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit group, that last year drew more than 140,000 people to displays of a 16th-century relic of St. Juan Diego.

"The line to see the relics here was two to three hours long," explained the groups' president, Tom Serafin, who traveled to St. Louis with the relics. "We are very pleased that people have taken the time to increase their faith and link to Christ's death in this special way."

Andrew Walther, vice president of the Apostolate for Holy Relics, said: "For those who cannot visit the relic shrines in Rome, or the Holy Land itself, this is as close as many people will come to artifacts associated with the crucifixion."

"We hope that people will come away from viewing these relics with an increased faith and personal connection to Christ's loving sacrifice," he added.

Serafin added his thanks to those who are hosting the events.

"We are grateful," he said, "to Archbishop Burke and the Archdiocese of St. Louis and to the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center for providing venues in which these rare and moving items can shown to the American public for the first time in recent memory."

See www.relictour.org.


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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.

Princely sum to save spiritual retreat [Source: Western daily Press (Bristol), 3/16/2004]

With Diana's latest revelations from beyond-the-grave causing yet more heartache for the Royal Family, it comes as little surprise that Prince Charles has decided to splash out to save a retreat where women are banned. He is reported to be spending 700,000 to help restore an 800-year-old Serbian Orthodox monastery which was gutted by a fire two weeks ago.

Situated on a stunning Greek peninsula, the religious republic of Mount Athos has prohibited women, images of women and even female animals for more than 1,000 years as a tribute to the Virgin Mary.

It is here, in an Athonite monastery away from the distractions and irritations of the modern world, that Prince Charles has spent several weeks meditating in a whitewashed cell.

His gift is said to have come as a godsend to the monks, who still need to raise 7million to restore their retreat which was badly damaged when an electric heater started a fire on March 4.

The 25 Serbian Orthodox monks are reluctant to ask the EU for help because of their conflicting feminist policies.

Euro MPs have been campaigning for years to force the semi-autonomous monastic republic to allow woman visitors, but so far they have been unsuccessful.

The monks have vowed to hold on to their tradition, which they say helps them avoid distractions from their faith.

Male visitors are welcome to sample their peaceful, unfeminised life but the closest a woman can get is 500 metres away on a boat.

Prince Charles first visited the monastery after the Queen Mother died and has reportedly returned there twice a year.

He spends his time wandering through the plentiful olive groves and shaded woodland, painting and meditating. The prince, like many religious and royal visitors before him, is said to have revelled in the peace and quiet.

Charles inherited his interest in the eastern Christian faith from his father Prince Philip, who was raised in the Greek Orthodox religion but had to convert to Anglicanism when he married the Queen.

Athos has 24 monasteries populated by about 2,000 monks and since the 11th century, no female traveller or pilgrim has been allowed there.

The military and coastguards enforce strict controls.

Any woman who is caught trying to sneak in disguised as a man risks a prison sentence of two months to one year under a 1953 penal law. A spokesman for the prince, who is a patron of the Friends of Mount Athos, confirmed he had made a donation.

He said: "He has agreed to take part in a fundraising event to help raise awareness of the difficulties faced by the monasteries.

"The prince has a great affection for Mount Athos and has been there six or seven times. He will do what he can to help." Set on the easternmost Halkidiki peninsula in northern Greece, Mount Athos is a rugged outcropping of sheer cliffs and massive pine forests dominated by a craggy peak rising 2,033m from the sea.

The monks live much as they have since the first solitary hermits established the stronghold in the 4th century. They have no personal possessions, no money, no televisions and no luxuries.

It may seem a strange environment for a prince but many believe it is the contrast to his usual lifestyle that has proved so appealing.

Charles usually travels to Mount Athos on board a private yacht belonging to the Greek-owned Latsis business group.

Spanish reveal Easter passion [Source: Gold Coast Bulletin (Australia), 4/3/2004]

Easter in Spain is a feast of sensations as the largely Catholic population head to the streets to celebrate. Mike Hill reports

THE high-pitched sound of brass instruments and the slow beat of drums reverberate along narrow Spanish streets.

People have been gathering in alleys, streets and plazas for an hour or so. They are now four and five deep, lining the route of yet another Easter procession.

In keeping with Christians around the world preparing to celebrate Easter week, in Spain, Semana Santa (Holy Week) is one of the most important festivals of the year.

In coming days, countless processions will meander through cities, towns and villages in this very Catholic country.

But the visitor doesn't have to be Catholic to absorb the sounds and smells, atmosphere and passion of this week of celebrations.

It's a time when the devout and the curious come together.

For some it is a time for reflection; others are absorbed in the religious festivities. For the participants it can be a test of endurance and suffering; for the visitor, a moving experience.

The eight days and nights of religious celebrations and processions begin tomorrow (Domingo de Ramos or Palm Sunday).

Each procession centres on the cofradia, or brotherhood, a religious organisation linked to a particular church. Cofradia members, in coloured robes and Ku Klux Klan-like headdress, carry statues from their church, along a particular route.

Cofradias are identified by the coloured robes they wear (black, purple and red seem favoured) and statues they carry, usually one of Jesus Christ--in a stage of the Passion, Death or Resurrection--and one of the Virgin Mary.

Marchers, many of whom are barefoot, brave cold and sometimes wet conditions, while the statues, cloaked in richly decorated robes, are carried on large, wooden floats.  Each procession is accompanied by a band or bands and moves slowly along narrow streets and into the main square before returning to the church of origin. It can take up to five hours to complete.

Some of the statues date from the 17th century. Those depicting Christ tell the story of his last days; from his entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to the resurrection.

Seville, capital of Andalucia in southern Spain, is acknowledged as the centre of Easter celebrations.

History suggests that current traditions may have their origins in Seville as early as 1248 when King Fernando III reclaimed the city from the Moors after the Arab invaders had flooded into Spain 500 years earlier.

As the Church re-established its dominance, Seville's organised brotherhoods of Catholic believers also grew. By the 16th century, the city had established the tradition of processions to symbolise Jesus Christ's journey to Calvary. It is said that Semana Santa in Seville is an experience one never forgets.

More than 60,000 'brothers' representing 57 brotherhoods carry more than 115 floats through city streets during the coming eight days of celebrations, while spectator numbers climb into the tens of thousands at the most important moments of the week.

In villages, where statues can lack the splendour of those in the major centres, ceremonies are just as solemn.

Midday on Easter Sunday in Alba de Tormes, a village in the Castillian-Leon region north-west of Madrid, is a time for celebration.

As people gather in the village square, a group of villagers emerge from a nearby church shouldering a statue of Christ. A second group, carrying a statue of the Virgin Mary draped in black, step out of a neighbouring church.

In the square, the two groups come together and the statue of the Virgin is lowered. Moments later it is again raised. Gone is the mourning black drape, in its place a golden cloak covers the statue, symbolising a time of rejoicing.

It evokes applause from the assembled gathering before the statues are returned to their respective churches and the villagers head to family celebrations. Just another Easter Sunday in a Spanish village.

Centuries of culture vanish in rampage [Source: The Cairns Sun (Australia), 3/30/2004]

Ethnic tensions in Kosovo have seen the religious and cultural icons of Christian Serbs destroyed, reports Danica Kirka.

Bishop Atanasije Jevtic dusted ashes away from the base of the fresco in the 14th-century cathedral gutted during recent mob violence in Kosovo.

Soot covered the Virgin Mary fresco, and he softly placed two fingers on the image. But his visit to assess the damage would last but four minutes - a UN police officer acting as his bodyguard, a semi-automatic shotgun at the ready, hustled him through his observations, shouting, "It's not safe! It's not safe!"

Orthodox Christian Serbs and symbols of their culture and history have been targeted throughout Kosovo in violence, exposing the underlying tensions with the mostly Muslim ethnic Albanian majority that led to a war that ended in 1999.

Days after the rioting began, the extent of the material damage is only now becoming clear. In all, 366 homes were destroyed and 41 churches burned.

In this southern Kosovo city Serbia-Montenegro, centuries of culture vanished in seconds when mobs blamed Serbs for the deaths of two ethnic Albanian children and rampaged through the city.

Eight churches were set on fire and at least a dozen homes. The devastation scarred the heart of this Ottoman-era community, with a hillside overlooking the Bistrica River now scarred by abandoned and blackened hulks of buildings set alight by the melee.

The mobs specifically targeted churches, the very symbols of Orthodox Christian Serbs, who want the UN-run province to remain part of Serbia-Montenegro.

Kosovo's mostly Muslim ethnic Albanians want independence.

For the past five years, NATO has stepped between the two. The alliance moved into Kosovo after a 78-day air war aimed at stopping former President Slobodan Milosevic's crackdown on ethnic Albanian seeking independence. The conflict killed an estimated 10,000 people, mostly ethnic Albanians.

In the early years of the mission, the alliance set up elaborate protection for the churches of Kosovo, the province that is considered hallowed ground and the birthplace of Serbian identity. Kosovo was the site of an epic battle between Serbs and Turks in 1389.

Among the province's many treasures was the Holy Virgin of Ljevis Cathedral, which is located just down the street from the UN administration's offices. Mobs transformed the brick structure into a gutted hulk.

Of particular note was a fresco of Jesus Christ, said Father Sava, a spokesman for the Orthodox Church in Kosovo, who wept upon learning that flames, smoke and soot left only a vague image on the wall.

"The church meant so very much," he said. "In France there is Notre Dame ... but for us that was the Holy Virgin of Ljevis Cathedral."

Father Sava said that Serbs who remained in Prizren after the war had left for good now, and the only people visiting the wrecked structures were ethnic Albanians curious about what damage had been done.

Among them was Bashkim Dauti, 37, a construction worker, who wandered into the cathedral of St George and gaped at the toppled tower in the centre of the rubble.

"I don't like what I'm seeing," he said, noting that the riots would damage the hopes of ethnic Albanians to win independence.

"It's my feeling that we went back in time," he said. "(Independence) will take as much time as we will need to repair the churches and the houses that were burned."

Others suggested the destruction as revenge for the war. At the Holy Virgin of Ljevis Cathedral, Ruzhdi Krasniqi, 23, smoked a cigarette as he assessed the damage and said he felt "OK" about its destruction.

"I don't want the Serbs to return here," he said.

"They've got no place here."

Bishop Jevtic didn't stop to offer his views, intent on getting in and out of the church with his life intact. But as he saw the damaged fresco of the Virgin Mary, he paused even though his security detail frantically screamed for him to go.

"This is the mother of God," he said, describing the fresco. Then he crossed himself and ran for the door.

Stand For Life [Source: Newcastle Herald (Australia), 3/23/2004]

IF saying "yes" to life resulted in being stoned to death at worst, or ostracised from society at best, would we still say "yes"?

March 25 marks the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary or Lady Day in the Christian calendar.

On this day members of the Mothers Union, an Anglican organisation, gather to celebrate the courage of one woman who said "yes" to life.

Lady Day acknowledges all women who take a stand for life.

The Bible contains a number of stories of such women: Puha and Shipra, midwives in the time of Pharaoh who defied the order to kill all Jewish male babies, Ruth's loyalty and Lydia's hospitality to name a few.

Many women like Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity working with the poor in Calcutta, Australia's Nancy Wake who rescued hundreds of allied servicemen trapped in France, Dr Fiona Wood, head of the burns unit at Royal Perth Hospital, who saved many in the wake of the Bali bombings, continue to say "yes" to life.

The "yes" of a woman gave each of us the opportunity to live. How ironic that in the 21st century the life givers continue to be victims of violence?

A woman is raped and it is still said "she asked for it".

Such prejudicial comments allow for systemic violence and inequality to permeate society, from sporting codes to political and religious ideologies.

According to United Nations statistics, physical and sexual abuse affects millions of girls and women worldwide, rape and domestic violence are the most under-reported crimes.

Women and girls comprise half of the world's refugees and, despite calls for gender equality, women are significantly under-represented in governments, political parties and at the United Nations.

Women remain at the lower end of the labour market and continue to hold positions of little or no authority and receive lower salaries than men.
Women in partnership with men can change this culture of violence and oppression through decision-making processes that say "yes" to life, challenging anyone or anything that compromises this truth.

So let us sing with Mary her revolutionary song: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my saviour, for you Lord have looked with favour on your lowly servant and from this day all generations shall call me blessed.

"You have done great things for me and holy is your name. You have mercy on those who fear you from generation to generation.

"You have shown the strength of your arm and have scattered the proud in their conceit.

"You have cast down the mighty from their thrones and lifted up the lowly.

"You have filled the hungry with good things and the rich you have sent away empty.

"You have come to the help of your people and you have remembered your promise of mercy, the promise you made to our forebears; to Abraham, Sarah and their children forever." Luke 1:46-55 (adapted).

Cheryl Herft is the president of Anglican Women in Newcastle, patron of The Friends of John Hunter Birth Centre and wife of the Anglican Bishop of Newcastle.

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