Liturgical Season 8/16/04 World News
New Resources  Marian Events  Mary in the Secular Press
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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 August 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 August.

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New Resources

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 John Paul II on Women.  Expect more articles to follow.

The Marian Library has received many valuable donations of religious art.  The most recent is a collection of the works of Alex Rapoport from his widow, Irina.  Many thanks to all our benefactors!

We have updated our bibliography of Marian Studies and also our answer to a reader's question: Is the "Rose of Sharon" in Song of Songs an allusion to the blessed mother?

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  News from the Marian Library

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 comment is a typical example:

I wish I had known about the Mary Page years ago!  It really is an incredible resource ... I don't think anything that could be asked has been left out of this incredible resource!  I have it bookmarked, and am glad there is no way any one of us can "wear it out!"  It is so valuable!


New Exhibit

Acts of Kindness: Posters by John Bach

A retrospective of 25 posters designed for The Marian Library Gallery Art Exhibitions over the past 15 years will be exhibited at the Marian Library from August 16 - September 17, 2004.  All works are transparent watercolors.  For more information click into, Gallery.

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

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International Marian Research Institute Course Schedule

IMRI courses for the Fall 2004 semester will commence on October 18.  The course schedule through Fall 2005 is now available.

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Marian Events

Mariological Congress

To commemorate the 300th anniversary of the coronation of the miraculous image, Maria Santissima delle Grazie,  a Mariological Conference will be held on September 11, 2004 at the Basilica of Mary, Mother of Grace in San Giovanni Valdarno.  The theme of the congress will be: La Madonna delle Grazie espressione telogica e storico-artistica per un culto mariano.  For more information click into: www.basilicadellegrazie.it.

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

The Catholic Church, celebrated the feast of Blessed Jakob Gapp, a Marianist priest, on August 13.  He was executed by the Nazis in 1943 because he spoke out so often and so forcefully against their ideology.  Pope John Paul II beatified him on November 24, 1996 at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

From Zenit

Not posted this week.

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Mary in the Secular Press

The director and editors of Mary Page under the auspices of the International Marian Research Institute do not necessarily endorse or agree with the events and ideas expressed in this feature. Our sole purpose is to report on items about Mary gleaned from a myriad of papers representing the secular press.

Statue Still A Far Cry From Miraculous [Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 6/8/2004]

Somewhere in a secret laboratory in Brisbane, a man of science is poring over the results of a swab that could hold the answer to a religious mystery: a 60 centimetre-tall statue of the Virgin Mary that is apparently weeping rose-scented oil. Samples were taken last week from the statue in perhaps the first attempt in Queensland to bring science to bear to explain what is as yet inexplicable.

"There isn't a handbook for investigating this sort of thing," said Father Adrian Farrelly , a canon law expert and the priest charged by the Catholic Church with investigating the statue. "I've been a priest for 31 years and I've got no recollection of anything happening like this."

Many are treating the weeping statue as a joke, but the church is taking it seriously. Dr Farrelly has put together a small team, comprising a retired professor of chemistry, who is agnostic, and a local lawyer. While the scientist attempts to work out the origin of the oil, Dr Farrelly is taking statements from witnesses. "We're looking at the statue to see if it's something, even if it is unusual, that can occur naturally, or something that can be produced by people," he said. "You don't want things to be labeled miraculous too easily.

The archbishop has an overriding concern that people are well directed from a pastoral sense." Dr Farrelly has not put a deadline on the inquiry, and in any event, the church may not make the findings public. The statue, now back behind glass in the Vietnamese Catholic Community Centre in Inala, south-western Brisbane, has had hundreds, if not thousands, of visitors since a substance looking like blood started seeping from the statue and a crucifix above an altar during Mass at the centre. One woman, on her fourth visit to the statue, said the weeping was a sign. "We believe in it. Some people came in sick and they got better," she said.


PEPPERELL The voice was soft and sweet and so close it sounded as if she was standing next to him, whispering in his ear. Build a shrine on this property to the greater glory of God, she said. Glorify his name. Noel Dube was a 62-year-old commissary officer at Fort Devens the morning he says his prayers were interrupted in his backyard in Pepperell by the gentle voice of the Virgin Mary.

At the time, Dube was old enough to contemplate retirement, old enough to think about settling into a rocking chair to enjoy his growing brood of grandchildren, old enough to let the voice go. But Dube, a devout Roman Catholic who considered entering the seminary as a teenager, was also old enough to believe that when a man is fortunate enough to be spoken to by the mother of God, he'd better listen. "So I started thinking, what could I do?" Dube said recently from an armchair in his cluttered living room.

"I mean, she didn't give me any directions or anything, she just said to build a shrine for the whole community to promote the rosary and to make [her] better known." What Dube did has evolved from a personal quest to a mission that has embroiled the whole community. He began with a humble quartet of ceramic statues of the Madonna and three children and went on to erect two billboard-sized murals, a series of life-sized paintings depicting the stations of the cross and most recently a 24-foot illuminated cross that shines an ethereal blue light into the night sky.

In the 22 years since Dube heard that voice, neighbors have complained, local authorities have ordered the cross and the murals removed and the town of Pepperell has engaged in an increasingly heated debate about where the right to religious expression ends and the rights of a neighborhood begins. "He's absolutely a great guy and he knows the Lord, but I don't think anybody should be able to thumb their nose at the law," said Rob Istnick, a neighbor and self-described born-again Christian. "He needs to be held accountable to the same laws as everyone else."

Dube is 84 now, the father of 10, grandfather of 24, and great-grandfather of six. His face is deeply lined and he moves gingerly around a modest home filled with religious memorabilia with the aid of two gray canes he's had to lean on since recent hip replacement surgery. A World War II veteran who stormed Omaha Beach on D-day and lost a leg clearing mines in Germany a few months later, Dube describes himself as a man of deep convictions who lives by simple truths. He proposed to the woman who would become his wife for 59 years not long after meeting her and after praying to the Madonna for guidance. His marriage has been a blessing, he said. And so, too, is the shrine he has built in his half-acre Heald Street backyard.

Although he's quick to laugh and fast with a joke, Dube's face becomes serious when he talks about the morning of May 28, 1982. When he initially heard the voice, he ignored it, he said. But moments later it became clear to him who it was and what was being asked of him. Still, perplexed and financially strapped, Dube did nothing but consider the commandment for several years. It wasn't until 1989 when, he says, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer that miraculously disappeared after prayer that he began his project in earnest.

After consulting a nun, Dube decided to portray Mary as the Catholic Church believes she revealed herself in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917. He purchased the four Italian-made sculptures with money he couldn't really afford to spend and, two years later, a friend and his two sons painted a framed, 60-foot-long by 20-foot-high mural behind the sculptures.

Dube placed small signs up around Pepperell, and as word spread of the Lady of Fatima Shrine, the faithful began to trickle in. Dube welcomed them all just as the Madonna had requested of him. As the crowds came and the donations accumulated Dube began to add to the shrine: benches, a shed to keep literature, a sign-in book, the paintings of the stations of the cross. In 1999, Dube erected a 30-foot-tall mural of Jesus on a brilliant blue background. His hand is extended, his face beatific, a white and red light shining from his heart. It was that mural of Jesus that tipped the scales of neighborhood patience and set the controversy in motion.

With the number of visitors approaching 4,000 a year, services broadcast over loudspeakers to about 100 people six times during the summer and now two billboard-sized murals poking out between the trees, neighbors began to complain they were living next to a theme park. Though the shrine is shielded from the street on three sides by trees, the local Zoning Board of Appeals responded to the complaint by ordering Dube to take down the mural of Jesus on the grounds that he did not have a building permit. Dube appealed. The case is pending in Middlesex Superior Court. The murals, meanwhile, remain. Tensions continue to simmer. Then, after hearing about an international movement from other devout Catholics, Dube decided to erect his illuminated cross.

The cross movement had been sparked in France, nearly 30 years earlier. There, in the small town of Dozule, a woman claimed Jesus came to her in a vision and directed her to erect 24-foot crosses all over the world. Since that day thousands of identical crosses have been erected throughout Europe, Africa, Australia, and Asia and 53 have been built in the United States, said Wayne Harvey, who coordinates the movement in the United States through his Cross of Love Ministries in St. Francis, Maine, near the Canadian border.

Before Dube's cross arrived from the manufacturer near Montreal, he went to Pepperell's Town Hall to apply for a permit. When the clerk asked him for a site plan, Dube told him he couldn't provide one. The man who built the cross was going to decide where to erect it when he arrived. Jesus would direct him, said Dube, who never got the permit. As it happened, the man decided to erect the steel and blue plexiglass cross just a few feet from a neighboring house near the mural of Jesus.

On April 30, 2003, when the cross was illuminated, long-simmering tensions finally boiled over. "There were strong complaints from the neighbor because of the [I'm groping for words here] let's say the highly distressing illumination," said Pepperell Town Administrator Robert Hanson. "It was so bright the neighbors could read a newspaper in their house with their own lights out." The neighbors, a couple in their 30s, were apoplectic, according to other neighbors. The couple did not return phone calls for this story.

Dube replaced the lights with more muted wattage, but because he did not have a building permit the town ordered him to take it down. As the scenario has played out, neighbors have divided over whether Dube should get to keep the cross. Several said they go to the shrine and pray and are even comforted by the glow from the cross at night. Jen Reale, who lives across the street from Dube, said the shrine doesn't bother her. "I have no problem with it. He's a nice, nice guy," said Reale. "Other than the big, glowing cross we wouldn't know [the shrine] was there."

Others say Dube should have to follow the same rules as everyone else and the shrine has created difficulties like traffic and noise in the neighborhood and hurt property values . "I know people have had a hard time selling their homes because of that shrine, " said Istnick. "It's a problem." In the meantime, Hanson says that while the town is sensitive to the question of religious expression, it is concerned about the neighborhood and public safety. "The issue would be the same whether it was cross or a barn," Hanson said. Dube's lawyer argues there is a fundamental difference.

Because the shrine is a religious expression, it qualifies for constitutional protection. "Telling him to take it down is an interference with his First Amendment rights," said the attorney, Edward McCormick "There's a constitutional right to freedom of religion." The town has gone to court to get the cross taken down and wants that case combined with the one concerning the mural, which is scheduled to be heard in November.

Ned Richardson, Pepperell's town solicitor, said he will argue that Dube's First Amendment protections are limited to expressions which are usual and customary in a residential neighborhood. If this were a church or an established shrine, the case would be over, Richardson said. But since it's not, "the question then becomes can you live in a house converted to a shrine when its not affiliated with an organized religion?"

Dube, for his part, seems somewhat perplexed that the cross has created such a stir. He said that not only will he keep the cross up, but he also hopes to expand the shrine by buying the property on the other side of his house and building a chapel that will be open 24 hours a day. Right now he does not have the money, but he believes that will change. "I'll hit the sweepstakes or some rich person will give it to me," Dube said with a confident chuckle. "Either way, I'm not picky. But I think it will happen."

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