Liturgical Season 8/27/04 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 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 updated was United States.  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!

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  News from the Marian Library

Thesis Defense

Fr. Dwight P. Campbell successfully defended his S.T.L. thesis, The Foundations for the Historical Development of Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Relation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus: Anthropological, Biblical and Patristic, on August 21, 2004.

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Exhibit Extended!

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 through October 10, 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.

Also, Michael Duricy is scheduled to facilitate an on-line course on Mary geared to catechists which will be offered through U.D.'s Institute for Pastoral Initiatives.  The course will run from October 17 - November 20.  Registration for this course ends October 12.  For more information call 937-229-4654 or click into VLCFF.

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Marian Events

Marianist Award

Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., will receive this year's Marianist Award from the University of Dayton.  The Presentation and Address will be held at 4:30 p.m. on September 8, 2004 in the Kennedy Union Ballroom.  Cardinal Dulles will speak on "The Faith of a Theologian."  The event is open to the public.

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

From Zenit

Pope Calls Women to Be Witnesses of "Essential Values"

Appeals for Defense of Life

LOURDES, France, AUG. 16, 2004 (Zenit.org)

John Paul II concluded his weekend pilgrimage to Lourdes with an appeal for the defense of human life in a society threatened by materialism.

More than 300,000 pilgrims, including many sick people, gathered in the field of the Marian shrine for the celebration of the Mass, the town's prefecture reported Sunday.

From the place where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared in 1858 to Bernadette Soubirous, the Pope made a special appeal to women.

"In our age, which feels the temptation of materialism and secularization," women are called to be witnesses "of the essential values which can only be perceived with the eyes of the heart," the Holy Father said during his homily.

"To you, women, it corresponds to be sentinels of the invisible!" he said. "To all of you, sisters and brothers, I make an urgent appeal that you do everything you can so that life, all life, is respected from conception to its natural end."

"Life is a sacred gift that no one can appropriate to himself," the Pope said.

On an unusually warm day, John Paul II made a great effort to read his homily, omitting several passages to avoid the extra effort. His silent pauses to recover his breath were often accompanied by the pilgrims' applause.

The Pontiff addressed special words to young people, inviting them to discover in Christ the meaning of their lives, the central message of the Virgin of Lourdes.

At the end of the Mass, and before praying the Angelus, the Pope recalled the various meetings he had with young people in his previous seven visits to France, saying that those meetings were for him "the sign of a great hope."

He left this message to all those present: "Be free women and men! But remember: Human freedom is a freedom marked by sin. It also has need of being liberated. Christ is the liberator, the one who 'has liberated us so that we can be really free.' Defend your freedom!"

The papal visit to the shrine of the little town in the Pyrenees took place on the 150th anniversary of Pope Pius IX's proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Sunday was the solemnity of Mary's assumption to heaven.

Both dogmas, the Pope said in his homily, "are intimately linked." They "proclaim the glory of Christ the redeemer and the holiness of Mary, whose human destiny was perfectly and definitively realized in God."

The Pope was visibly exhausted during the celebration, but appeared joyful when visiting the Grotto of Massabielle, in the company of thousands of sick people.

The French government was represented at the Mass by Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin and Health Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy, a former mayor of Lourdes.


At Lourdes, the Supreme Pilgrim

Pope Joins 100,000 in a Meditation on Rosary

LOURDES, France, AUG. 16, 2004 (Zenit.org)

Like the other 6 million people who come to Lourdes annually, John Paul II came to this Marian shrine on Saturday as a pilgrim.

"In my apostolic ministry, I have always had great confidence in the offering, prayer and sacrifice of those who suffer," the Pope said in the text of a message delivered at the Grotto of Massabielle, scene of the Virgin Mary's apparitions in 1858.

"I ask you to accompany me in this pilgrimage to present to God, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, all the intentions of the Church and of the world," he said in the message.

The message was read by Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, retired president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, on behalf of the 84-year-old Pontiff, who was exhausted by his trip and the welcome ceremony.

Earlier, French President Jacques Chirac and representatives of the Church in France greeted the Holy Father on his arrival at the Tarbes-Lourdes airport.

From the airport, the Pope went to the Marian shrine. Surrounded by sick people, he drank water from the spring, which was offered to him by the shrine's rector and recollected himself in prayer.

In the afternoon, John Paul II participated together with some 100,000 people in a meditation on the luminous mysteries of the rosary.

Riding in the popemobile, he visited five symbolic places in Lourdes, one for each mystery, where he was met by groups of pilgrims.

Bishop Jacques Perrier of Tarbes-Lourdes described the mysteries, while Jean Vanier, founder of L'Arche communities, led a spontaneous prayer at each stage.

The procession began at the pools, the most characteristic place of Lourdes. Last year, more than 380,000 pilgrims were submerged in the waters in response to a request of the Blessed Virgin to Bernadette Soubirous on Feb. 28, 1858: "Go drink at the spring and bathe there."

In his introductory address, the Pope said: "When kneeling here, before the Grotto of Massabielle, I feel with emotion that I have arrived at the end of my pilgrimage. This grotto, in which Mary appeared, is the heart of Lourdes."

The second luminous mystery was prayed in the Tent of Adoration, erected in 2001 in the Field of the Grotto, where young people gathered to pray while awaiting the Pope's arrival.

The third mystery was prayed in front of St. Bernadette's Church, located near where the saint witnessed the Blessed Virgin's first apparition. The sick prayed at this site with the Pope.

The fourth luminous mystery was prayed before the statue of John Vianney, the Curé of Ars, in the chapel of reconciliation. Priests and bishops joined the Holy Father there to pray.

The meditation ended in the courtyard of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary, where altar boys and other servers waited for the Pontiff.

The rosary ended with a prayer the Pope composed, calling on the Virgin Mary's intercession, and promising to remain with her "next to the innumerable crosses on which your Son is still crucified."

Events on Saturday ended with the "procession of torches" from the Grotto of the Apparitions to the basilica of Lourdes, which the Holy Father followed from the terrace of the Residence of Our Lady, where he stayed that night.

John Paul II read a few words, asking pilgrims to pray for a "special intention."

"Invoke the Virgin Mary with me, so that she will obtain for the world the longed-for gift of peace," he said.

"May she inspire in us sentiments of forgiveness and fraternity!" he implored. "May arms be put down and hatred and violence extinguished in our hearts."


Address at Lourdes: "Let Mary Be Your Teacher"

LOURDES, France, AUG. 16, 2004 (Zenit.org)

Here is a translation of the address John Paul II delivered Sunday before praying the Angelus in the Field of Lourdes, after presiding at the Mass on the solemnity of the Assumption of Mary.

* * *

1. At the conclusion of this solemn Liturgy, I wish to offer a special greeting to those taking part in the French National Pilgrimage led by the "Famille de l'Assomption."

I greet in particular all the young people, who are so much at home in Lourdes and have placed themselves so generously at the service of their sick brothers and sisters as hospitaliers. I recall with fondness my meetings with young people in France: our first meeting in Paris, then those in Lyons, Strasbourg and once again in Paris for World Youth Day. Dear young friends: these meetings have given me a great hope which I wish to share with you today. Let Mary be your teacher, and you will bring a fresh breath of optimism to the world, as you proclaim to all the "good news" of Christ's Kingdom.

2. From the rock of Massabielle, the Blessed Virgin appeared to Bernadette. Revealing herself as the one who is full of God's grace, she called for penance and prayer. She indicated to Bernadette a spring of water and asked her to drink of it. That spring of fresh water has become one of the symbols of Lourdes: a symbol of the new life which Christ gives to all who turn to him.

Christianity is truly a fountain of life, and Mary is the first guardian of this fountain. She points it out to all people, inviting them to renounce their pride and to learn humility, so that they can draw from the mercy of her Son and thus work together for the dawn of the civilization of love.

3. As we meditate on the mystery of the Incarnation of Jesus, let us now turn to Mary Most Holy, imploring her protection upon each of us, upon the Church and upon the world.

[Translation of French original issued by the Vatican press office]

[At the end of the Angelus, the Pope greeted pilgrims in several languages. In English, he said:]

My dear English-speaking brothers and sisters, may the Assumption into heaven of our Blessed Lady remind us of the eternal home to which we are all destined. God bless you all!


Papal Homily on Solemnity of the Assumption

"Our Lady of Lourdes Has a Message for Everyone"

LOURDES, France, AUG. 16, 2004 (Zenit.org)

Here is the homily John Paul II prepared for the Mass celebrated Sunday in the Field of Lourdes, on the solemnity of the Assumption of Mary. The Pope did not read some of the passages.

* * *

1. "Que soy era Immaculada Councepciou." The words which Mary spoke to Bernadette on 25 March 1858 have a particular resonance this year, as the Church celebrates the 150th anniversary of the solemn definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception by Blessed Pius IX in the apostolic constitution "Ineffabilis Deus."

I have greatly wished to make this pilgrimage to Lourdes in order to celebrate an event which continues to give glory to the Triune God. Mary's Immaculate Conception is the sign of the gracious love of the Father, the perfect expression of the redemption accomplished by the Son and the beginning of a life completely open to the working of the Spirit.

2. Beneath the maternal gaze of the Blessed Virgin I offer a heartfelt greeting to all of you, dear brothers and sisters, as we gather before the Grotto of Massabielle to sing the praises of her whom all generations call blessed (cf. Luke 1:48).

In particular I greet the French pilgrims and their bishops, especially Monsignor Jacques Perrier, the bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes, whom I thank for his kind words at the start of this celebration.

I also greet the Minister of the Interior, who represents the French government at today's celebration, and the other civil and military authorities present.

My thoughts and prayers go also to the pilgrims assembled here from different parts of Europe and from throughout the world, and to all those spiritually united with us by radio and television. With special affection I greet the sick and all who have come to this holy place to seek consolation and hope. May the Blessed Virgin enable you to sense her presence and give comfort to your hearts!

3. "In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country ..." (Luke 1:39). The words of the Gospel story have once more brought before the eyes of our hearts the young maiden of Nazareth as she makes her way to that "city of Judah" where her kinswoman Elizabeth lived, in order to be of help to her.

What strikes us about Mary is above all her loving concern for her elderly relative. Hers is a practical love, one which is not limited to words of understanding but is deeply and personally involved in giving help. The Blessed Virgin does not merely give her cousin something of herself; she gives her whole self, asking nothing in return. Mary understood perfectly that the gift she received from God is more than a privilege; it is a duty which obliges her to serve others with the selflessness proper to love.

4. "My soul magnifies the Lord ..." (Luke 1:46). Mary's sentiments in her meeting with Elizabeth are forcefully expressed in the canticle of the Magnificat. Her words convey the hope-filled expectation of the "poor of the Lord" and at the same time an awareness that God has fulfilled his promises, for he "has remembered his mercy" (cf. Luke 1:54).

This same awareness is the source of that joy of the Virgin Mary which pervades the whole canticle: joy in knowing that she has been "looked upon" by God despite her own "lowliness" (cf. Luke 1:48); joy in the "service" she is able to offer because of the "great things" to which the Almighty has called her (cf. Luke 1:49); joy in her foretaste of the eschatological blessedness promised to "those of low degree" and "the hungry" (cf. Luke 1:52-53).

The Magnificat is followed by silence: nothing is said to us about the three months that Mary stayed with her kinswoman Elizabeth. Yet perhaps we are told the most important thing: that goodness works quietly, the power of love is expressed in the unassuming quietness of daily service.

5. By her words and her silence the Virgin Mary stands before us as a model for our pilgrim way. It is not an easy way: as a result of the fall of our first parents, humanity is marked by the wounds of sin, whose consequences continue to be felt also among the redeemed. But evil and death will not have the last word! Mary confirms this by her whole life, for she is a living witness of the victory of Christ, our Passover.

The faithful have understood this. That is why they throng to this grotto in order to hear the maternal counsels of the Blessed Virgin. In her they acknowledge "the woman clothed in the sun" (Revelation 12:1), the Queen resplendent before the throne of God (cf. responsorial psalm), ever interceding on their behalf.

6. Today the Church celebrates Mary's glorious Assumption body and soul into Heaven. The two dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption are closely related. Both proclaim the glory of Christ the Redeemer and the holiness of Mary, whose human destiny is even now perfectly and definitively realized in God.

"When I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also" (John 14:3). Mary is the pledge of the fulfillment of Christ's promise. Her Assumption thus becomes for us "a sign of sure hope and consolation" (cf. "Lumen Gentium," 68).

7. Dear brothers and sisters! From this Grotto of Massabielle the Blessed Virgin speaks to us too, the Christians of the third millennium. Let us listen to her!

Listen to her, young people who seek an answer capable of giving meaning to your lives. Here you can find that answer. It is a demanding one, yet it is the only answer which is genuinely satisfying. For it contains the secret of true joy and peace.

This Grotto also issues a special call to women. Appearing here, Mary entrusted her message to a young girl, as if to emphasize the special mission of women in our own time, tempted as it is by materialism and secularism: to be in today's society a witness of those essential values which are seen only with the eyes of the heart. To you, women, falls the task of being sentinels of the Invisible! I appeal urgently to all of you, dear brother and sisters, to do everything in your power to ensure that life, each and every life, will be respected from conception to its natural end. Life is a sacred gift, and no one can presume to be its master.

Finally, Our Lady of Lourdes has a message for everyone. Be men and women of freedom! But remember: human freedom is a freedom wounded by sin. It is a freedom which itself needs to be set free. Christ is its liberator; he is the one who "for freedom has set us free" (cf. Galatians 5:1). Defend that freedom!

Dear friends, in this we know we can count on Mary, who, since she never yielded to sin, is the only creature who is perfectly free. I entrust you to her. Walk beside Mary as you journey towards the complete fulfillment of your humanity!

[Translation of French original issued by the Vatican press office]

John Paul II's Address During Torch Procession: Plea for Peace

LOURDES, France, AUG. 16, 2004 (Zenit.org)

Here is a translation of the address John Paul II delivered at the start of the torch procession Saturday night at the Grotto of the Apparitions to the basilica of Lourdes.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

1. When the Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette in the Grotto at Massabielle, she began a dialogue between Heaven and earth which has lasted through time and continues to this day. Speaking to the young girl, Mary asked that people should come here in procession, as if to signify that this dialogue cannot be limited to words, but must become a journey at her side along the pilgrim way of faith, hope and love.

Here in Lourdes, for more than a century the Christian people have faithfully responded to that maternal summons, walking each day behind Christ in the Blessed Sacrament and processing each night amid songs and prayers in honor of the Lord's Mother.

This year the Pope joins you in this act of devotion and love for the Most Holy Virgin, the glorious woman of the Book of Revelation, crowned with twelve stars (cf. Revelation 12:1). Holding in our hands the lighted torch, we recall and profess our faith in the Risen Christ. From Him the whole of our life receives light and hope.

2. To you, dear brothers and sisters, I entrust a particular intention for our prayer this evening: join me in imploring the Virgin Mary to obtain for our world the longed-for gift of peace.

May forgiveness and brotherly love take root in human hearts. May every weapon be laid down, and all hatred and violence put aside.

May everyone see in his neighbor not an enemy to be fought, but a brother to be accepted and loved, so that we may join in building a better world.

3. Together let us invoke the Queen of Peace and renew our commitment to the service of reconciliation, dialogue and solidarity. In this way we shall merit the happiness which the Lord has promised to the peacemakers (Matthew 5:9).

I accompany you with my prayer and my blessing.

[Translation of French original issued by the Vatican press office]


Greeting to the Sick at Grotto of Massabielle

"With You I Share a Time of Life Marked by Physical Suffering"

LOURDES, France, AUG. 16, 2004 (Zenit.org)

Here is a translation of the greeting John Paul II addressed to the sick on Saturday, when he arrived at the Grotto of Massabielle in Lourdes, after drinking water from the spring which was offered to him by the shrine's rector, Father Raymond Zambelli.

The address was read on the Pope's behalf by Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, retired president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

* * *

Here at this Grotto of Massabielle, I wish first of all to greet the sick who come in ever greater numbers to this shrine, those who have accompanied them, their caregivers and their families.

I am here with you, dear brothers and sisters, as a pilgrim to Our Lady. I make my own your prayers and your hopes. With you I share a time of life marked by physical suffering, yet not for that reason any less fruitful in God's wondrous plan. With you I pray for all those who trust in your prayers.

In carrying out my apostolic ministry I have always trusted greatly in the offerings, prayers and sacrifices of the suffering. During this pilgrimage I ask you to join me in offering to God, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, all the intentions of the Church and of the world.

Dear brothers and sisters who are sick, how I would like to embrace each and every one of you with affection, to tell you how close I am to you and how much I support you. I now do so in spirit, entrusting you to the maternal love of the Mother of the Lord and entreating her to obtain for all of us the blessings and consolations of Jesus her Son.

[Translation of French original issued by Vatican press office]


Pope's Opening Address and Closing Prayer at Rosary

"An Attitude of Docility and Openness to the Word of God"

LOURDES, France, AUG. 16, 2004 (Zenit.org)

Here is a translation of the opening address and closing prayer that John Paul II gave Saturday when praying the rosary in the Grotto of Massabielle, at Lourdes.

* * *


My dear Brothers and Sisters!

1. Kneeling here, before the Grotto of Massabielle, I feel deeply that I have reached the goal of my pilgrimage. This cave, where Mary appeared, is the heart of Lourdes. It reminds us of the cave of Mount Horeb where Elijah met the Lord, who spoke to him in "a still small voice" (1 Kings 19:12).

Here the Blessed Virgin asked Bernadette to recite the rosary, as she herself told the beads. This grotto has thus become a unique school of prayer where Mary teaches everyone to gaze with burning love upon the face of Christ.

Lourdes is the place, then, where the Christians of France, and those from so many other nations of Europe and the world, fall to their knees and pray.

2. As pilgrims to Lourdes, we too wish this evening to retrace in prayer, together with Mary our Mother, the "mysteries" in which Jesus reveals that he is the "light of the world." We recall his promise: "He who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12).

We wish to learn from the lowly handmaid of the Lord an attitude of docility and openness to the word of God and a generous commitment to welcoming Christ's teaching into our lives.

In particular, as we meditate on the sharing of the Lord's Mother in her Son's redemptive mission, I would ask you to pray for vocations to the priesthood and to virginity for the Kingdom of God, so that all those who are called will respond with generosity and perseverance.

3. As we turn to Mary Most Holy, let us pray together with Bernadette: "Good Mother, have mercy on me; I give myself entirely to you, that you may give me to your dear Son, whom I wish to love with my whole heart. Good Mother, grant me a heart all aflame for Jesus."

[Final prayer]

Hail Mary, poor and humble Woman,
Blessed by the Most High!
Virgin of hope, dawn of a new era,
We join in your song of praise,
to celebrate the Lord's mercy,
to proclaim the coming of the Kingdom
and the full liberation of humanity.

Hail Mary, lowly handmaid of the Lord,
Glorious Mother of Christ!

Faithful Virgin, holy dwelling-place of the Word,
Teach us to persevere in listening to the Word,
and to be docile to the voice of the Spirit,
attentive to his promptings in the depths of our conscience
and to his manifestations in the events of history.

Hail Mary, Woman of sorrows,
Mother of the living!

Virgin spouse beneath the Cross, the new Eve,
Be our guide along the paths of the world.

Teach us to experience and to spread the love of Christ,
to stand with you before the innumerable crosses
on which your Son is still crucified.

Hail Mary, woman of faith,
First of the disciples!

Virgin Mother of the Church, help us always
to account for the hope that is in us,
with trust in human goodness and the Father's love.

Teach us to build up the world beginning from within:
in the depths of silence and prayer,
in the joy of fraternal love,
in the unique fruitfulness of the Cross.

Holy Mary, Mother of believers,
Our Lady of Lourdes,
pray for us.


[Translation of French original issued by the Vatican press office]


Pope's Address to President Chirac and Other Officials

"The Church Desires to Offer Society a Specific Contribution"

LOURDES, France, AUG. 16, 2004 (Zenit.org)

Here is the address John Paul II delivered on Saturday, after landing at the Tarbes-Lourdes airport, to President Jacques Chirac, representatives of the French episcopate, and political and civil authorities.

* * *

Mr. President,
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen!

1. I thank the Lord for allowing me to return once again to this beloved land of France and to greet all of you with a heartfelt message of grace and peace. The purpose of my visit today is to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the dogmatic definition of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

With great emotion I wish to join the millions of pilgrims who come to Lourdes each year from every part of the world, in order to entrust to the Mother of the Lord the intentions which they bear in their hearts and to ask for her help and intercession.

2. As I make my way to that holy place, I wish first to extend my cordial greetings to you, Mr. President, and, through you, to all the sons and daughters of this noble country, which is presently commemorating the sixtieth anniversary of the "landing in Provence." May these celebrations contribute to building harmony between peoples and foster a renewed commitment to the pursuit of peace on the part of all.

I joyfully recall my previous visits to France and gladly take this opportunity to pay homage to the great patrimony of culture and faith which have marked her history. I cannot fail to mention the great saints who came from this land, the outstanding masters of Christian thought, the schools of spirituality and the many missionaries who left their homeland in order to carry throughout the world the message of Christ the Lord. And I look with confidence to the Christian community of today, which generously takes up the call to enrich our own times with the wisdom and hope that come from the Gospel.

3. With respect for the responsibilities and competences of all, the Catholic Church desires to offer society a specific contribution towards the building of a world in which the great ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity can form the basis of social life, in the tireless pursuit and promotion of the common good.

I entrust these prayerful good wishes to the intercession of the young Bernadette Soubirous, a humble child of the Bigorre country, and through the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary I invoke upon this country God's choicest blessings, as a pledge of prosperity and peace, now and in the future.

[Translation of French original issued by the Vatican press office]

Why the Pope Went to Lourdes

Cardinal Barbarin Points to the Mystery of the Immaculate Conception

LOURDES, France, AUG. 17, 2004 (Zenit.org)

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon presided this year over the traditional national pilgrimage Aug. 15 to Lourdes, which on this occasion had a special guest: John Paul II.

In this interview, the 53-year-old primate of France reflects on the reason for the papal visit, the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, and its fruits.

Q: What would you say to a youth who asked you about the mystery of the Immaculate Conception?

Cardinal Barbarin: Let us begin with the voice that was heard when Jesus came out of the waters of the Jordan: "This is my beloved Son." What God desired to give to men took place through Jesus, the sole Mediator. We receive everything -- the forgiveness of sins, justice and peace, purity of heart, holiness, victory over death -- through baptism, which is our rebirth.

"Do not marvel that I say to you, 'You must be born anew,'" Jesus said to Nicodemus. So we understand why God willed to give this gift beforehand to the Mother of his Son. Even before God saved the world with the passion and resurrection of Jesus, at the moment that Mary's life was conceived in her mother's womb, she was "all holy." There was nothing that stained or injured her.

That is why, in his greeting, the angel Gabriel said: "Hail, full of grace." No matter how much we study and analyze her life, we will see nothing but love.

Q: What is the essential message of the Pope's presence in Lourdes?

Cardinal Barbarin: John Paul II came on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception by his predecessor, Blessed Pius IX.

He has helped us to go deeper into all that of our faith which relates to the Mother of God. After recalling her role in our salvation, the Second Vatican Council has taught us to see the place that Mary has in the Church and in men's journey.

One of our canticles mentions this theme: "She is the first on the way." Thanks to Mary's example and life, the Holy Father helps us to see all the light that God can infuse in a human heart. It is something that encourages us and fills us with hope.

The Pope also prayed the rosary with us, meditating on the luminous mysteries which he proposed two years ago. Jesus is "the light of the world." All those who approach Christ, who love and follow him, who participate in his mission and passion, reflect this light in the world. In this instance we can also say that Mary is the first.

We have also seen the Holy Father as a sick person among the sick, who come every year to Lourdes in great numbers. This has stimulated his hope and helps us to love the sick with greater tenderness and to give them the role that belongs to them in our society, above all in our Christian communities.

Q: What impetus can this event give to the life of the Catholic Church in France?

Cardinal Barbarin: One would have to be a fortuneteller to answer. I would say that when the Christian people gather around their pastor they are stimulated, as their unity and communion in faith is manifested.

The preaching of the Gospel, the teaching of the Church, are good nourishment for our hearts and minds. The Church always needs to be awakened.

I also believe very much in Mary's grace proper to this day and place: What sweetness and humility in the events of Lourdes and on little Bernadette's face! What a beautiful feast August 15 is, the solemnity of Mary's assumption, which is a spiritual summit in midsummer.

It is the day in which we hear the Gospel of the Magnificat proclaimed, a totally pure cry of joy. Mary exults because she sees everything that God does among us, all that He allows her to experience, she who is so little.

LOURDES, France, AUG. 16, 2004 (Zenit.org)

Here is a translation of French President Jacques Chirac's address to John Paul II, during the welcome ceremony held Saturday at the Tarbes-Lourdes airport.

* * *

Most Holy Father,

It is a pleasure and an honor for me to bid You welcome to Tarbes today. France is delighted to welcome You once again for this, your second pilgrimage to Lourdes since 1983.

Most Holy Father, You have already made seven visits to our country, this ancient land of Christianity, in particular for the World Youth Day celebrations that brought together over 1 million young people in Paris in August 1997. French men and women treasure lasting memories of this.

Last year, in Rome, You celebrated the twenty-fifth year of Your pontificate in the company of men and women who came from all continents to express their admiration and affection for You and pass on their heartfelt wishes.

This year, You have chosen to return to Lourdes, the embodiment of the memory of a French Saint, Bernadette Soubirous, a woman whose love and faith gave hope to all those in need and who is a source of comfort and inspiration for Catholics the world over.

Each and every one of us is aware of the importance of Your visit to these exceptional places where so much courage, devotion and solidarity is seen.

Pilgrim of pilgrims, Your presence, Your solicitude and Your example will rekindle the fervor of all those men and women who, often suffering and ailing, come to pray at Lourdes, this temple of faith and hope.

Tomorrow, You will celebrate Holy Communion, which, in this place and on this day devoted to the Virgin Mary, will have a profound significance.

Since, transcending individual beliefs and convictions, a universal consciousness is gradually emerging. Slowly but, we may hope, surely the peoples, Nations and States of the world are realizing that defending the weak, the vulnerable and the poor is a duty and a moral obligation that transcends all borders.

France and the Holy See are united in this struggle for a world that puts people first at all times.

A struggle for peace, for relations between States to be governed by law, challenging the policy of fait accompli and urging dialogue between cultures as an antidote to violence and the rejection of the other.

A struggle for freedom, the recognition of the equal dignity of all, men and women, and the refusal of all forms of discrimination, oppression, racism and hatred, so urgent in the face of the rise of fanaticism and intolerance.

A struggle for solidarity, justice and social progress to put an end to the outrages of mass poverty, illiteracy and hunger in a world that has never been so rich.

A struggle for nature, a gift bestowed on us that we must treat with respect and precaution if we are to guarantee our future and the future of generations to come.

We are driven by the ideal of humanity united by universal values and capable by that same token of respecting and celebrating the diversity of its histories and its cultures; humanity all the more assured in its quest for knowledge and progress since it abides by the ethics of responsibility and the requisites of solidarity.

The indefatigable pilgrim that You are embodies these struggles, as he embodies courageousness and spirit and this strength that has made you, Most Holy Father, a universal shepherd and a man of Peace.

May Your stay in this land of France bring serenity and hope to all those men and women who hear You and follow You.

John Paul II Grateful for Lourdes Pilgrimage

Expresses Thanks to the Virgin Mary

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 18, 2004 (Zenit.org)

John Paul II expressed gratitude for being able to make a pilgrimage to Lourdes last weekend, on the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

At the end of today's general audience, held at the papal summer residence, the Pope said in French: "This morning, I wish to thank God, in his goodness, for having permitted me to go on pilgrimage to Lourdes."

"I thank the Blessed Virgin for the atmosphere of profound recollection and intense prayer of this meeting, recalling with emotion the multitude of pilgrims, among whom, in the front line, were the sick who came to seek consolation and hope near Our Lady," he told the 3,000 people on hand.

"May all the young people present remember this pilgrimage and find the strength to become free men and women in Christ," he said, summarizing the message he gave in the shrine's field, during the solemn Mass that culminated his 104th international apostolic trip.

The Holy Father was grateful for the reception he received from Bishop Jacques Perrier of Tarbes and Lourdes. He also thanked the organizers and the French authorities, specifically President Jacques Chirac, who welcomed him at the airport.

John Paul II, who appeared to have recovered from his trip to France, thanked his compatriots in Polish for supporting him with their prayers "during my pilgrimage to Lourdes."

"I have asked you for your prayers since the first day of the pontificate," he said, "and I know that I can always count on you."

Rosary in Focus at Loreto Exhibition

LORETO, Italy, AUG. 19, 2004 (Zenit.org)

The beauty and importance of the rosary has been highlighted by 46 artists, in an exhibition opened in Loreto, in preparation for John Paul II's visit to this Italian city on Sept. 5.

The exhibition, being held in the Apostolic Palace of Loreto until Sept. 14, is sponsored by Catholic Action and entitled "The Mysteries of the Rosary."

"In history, the rosary has been the Gospel for the poor, the humble and families -- a sort of first proclamation of faith," explained Paola Bignardi, president of Italian Catholic Action. "In this sense, the prayer has not exhausted its task, as the Holy Father has confirmed on several occasions."

When opening the exhibition, Archbishop Angelo Comastri of Loreto recalled the inseparable relationship between "the path of the mysteries and holiness."

This prayer "was the daily food of Mother Teresa of Calcutta," he said.

Also inaugurated in the Apostolic Palace is an exhibition entitled "Catholic Action, School of Holiness," which offers the testimony of saints and blessed of this institution.

John Paul II will beatify three members of Catholic Action in Loreto: Catalan priest Pere Tarres i Claret, Italian politician and engineer Alberto Marvelli, and Italian teacher Pina Suriano.

Icon to Be Venerated Before Leaving Vatican

Celebrations Planned for Image of Virgin of Kazan

VATICAN CITY, AUG. 23, 2004 (Zenit.org)

The Holy See posted the times when the faithful may venerate the icon of the Virgin of Kazan, before John Paul II returns it to the Russian people this week.

In his Angelus address Sunday, the Pope announced the "happy" returning of this icon so loved by him.

The Holy Father also said that at the general audience this week, "we will recollect ourselves together with the faithful, to pray before this icon," one of the most venerated images by the Russian Orthodox.

At 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, the Pope will preside at the Celebration of the Word for the veneration and return of the icon of the Mother of God of Kazan.

John Paul II will give the image to Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who will head the Holy See's delegation that will return the icon to Moscow.

By decision of the Pope, the icon will be given to Patriarch Alexy II and, through him, to the Russian Orthodox Church and all the Russian people, according to the Holy See's Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff.

The celebrations also include the veneration of the icon by the faithful in St. Peter's Basilica on Thursday. At 9 a.m., Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute of the Secretariat of State, will preside at lauds, while at 5 p.m. Cardinal Kasper will preside at a Mass.

Cardinal Kasper will return the icon to the Russian patriarch on Saturday, the day that the Orthodox Church celebrates the Dormition of the Virgin Mary.

The Holy Father "hopes that this Roman pilgrimage of the Virgin of Kazan might contribute to the desired unity between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches," Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro Valls explained on July 11.

Russian experts quoted by the Italian newspaper Avvenire said that the image that is returning to Moscow is likely the most significant copy among those in existence, after the destruction by thieves of the original in 1904.

The same experts believe it is the copy Czar Peter the Great commissioned in the 18th century for the cathedral in St. Petersburg. The icon was taken out of Russia in 1917.

It reappeared in the United States in the 1970s, where it was sold at international auctions. Eventually it was purchased by the Blue Army, a Catholic organization of devotion to the Virgin of Fatima, which gave the icon to the Pope in 1993.

Since then, John Paul II has kept the icon in the chapel of his apartment, waiting for the chance to meet with Patriarch Alexy II to return it to him because, as head of the Russian Orthodox Church, he considers him the legitimate owner.

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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.

Opera company preparing for Pergolesi production in 'Wagner set' [Source: The Irish Times, 8/18/2004]

Opera Theatre Company's visit to the Valentia slate quarry in Co Kerry this week will not be the quarry's first claim to fame. The performance of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, centering on the liturgy of Holy Week and the Virgin Mary's grief at the death of her son, will combine 18th century music, a spectacular location and film footage.

It is directed by visual artist Dorothy Cross, who has described the quarry as "like a Wagner set." Ireland's only slate quarry, situated dramatically over the wild Atlantic, has ground back to life after closing in the early 20th century, having supplied some prestigious customers including the Houses of Parliament in Westminster. The Valentia quarry was re-opened in 1998 by three local businessmen determined to tackle the island's decline in population, which had plummeted to just over 600. The quarry now employs 10 people, its products being looked at as "something different."

It originally came into operation courtesy of the Knight of Kerry, who owned Valentia, the name being an English corruption of Beal Inse, meaning mouth of the island - the true name of the island is the far more romantic Oilean Dairbhre, island of the oaks. At its height in the early 1800s the quarry employed some 400 people, the island population then numbered 3,000. Ships from London and New York pulled into the busy harbour which was also the centre of the first transatlantic telecommunications cable.

Valentia slate roofed the Houses of Parliament, the National Gallery and St Paul's Cathedral in London as well as the Paris Opera House. As flooring material, it was used extensively in many of London's underground railway stations, including Charing Cross, Waterloo and Black Friars and was highly sought after for billiard tables. However, competition from the black slate of Welsh quarries forced it to close. A Marian shrine was erected over its entrance in 1954, the Marian year.

The grotto, with the statue of the Virgin Mary placed at a height of about 80 feet, is now a visitor attraction in its own right. It is this shrine which is to be the setting for the unique performance by Opera Theatre Company. "Re-opening Valentia had been spoken about for over 50 years. With the trend back to natural stone, we thought the time was right," says Michael Lyne, secretary of Valentia SlateLtd. Performances of Stabat Mater take place from Thursday to Saturday this week at 9 p.m.

Volunteers celebrate 40 years in Ecuador [Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Wisconsin), 8/17/2004]

The Working Boys Center in Quito has helped educate and enrich the lives of the families of Ecuador's shoeshine boys for 40 years. The center is run by the Jesuits and the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and staffed largely by volunteers. More than 200 former volunteers, many from this area, will converge on Milwaukee this week to celebrate the center's 40th anniversary. The celebration begins Friday night at the Marquette University Union Sports Annex, 804 N. 16th St. Sister Mary Miguel Conway, co-founder of the center, talked with Journal Sentinel reporter Bob Purvis about the many Milwaukeeans who've volunteered and what the center has achieved.

Q. Is this the first time the WBC has had a reunion of current and former volunteers?

A. We have had volunteers helping us from all over the country, almost ever since we started in 1964. . . . The Peace Corps had an association with us for 20 of those years. Then we've had our own volunteer corps for the other 20 years, and we've always had private volunteers. But the reason we are having the get-together here is because of the number of volunteers from the Milwaukee area. I would say that out of the 500 volunteers who have come to the mission, close to half of them have come from the Milwaukee area.

Q. What have the volunteers been able to do in Ecuador?

A. The work is a family development program for children who work in the streets. So most of these are little boys, but the girls work, too. Since the boy is the working child, his family comes in, and we provide services for the whole family. They eat three meals a day there. They have their recreation there. They have cultural education there. We have a day care center, we have an adult literacy program, technical education, dental, legal, anything that a family could need we provide for them.

Q. Are the working boys typically the main breadwinners, and how does that affect the family structure in Ecuador?

A. In many of the families, yes. But usually there will be a father and mother, but the little working children are a good part of the family income, especially if it is a single-parent family. Ecuador has had a lot of problems with corruption ... Consequently, the people have not benefited from a whole lot of the programs that were created, and you have poverty in 80 percent of the population.

Q. Does the center's technical training extend to all of the family members?

A. For our parents we have a unique educational program because, level one, we teach them to read and write. Level two, we teach them to add, subtract, multiply and divide, and teach them to understand the problems they read. And, level three, they get a technical skill. So anyone who studies with us gets a technical skill. But the young people, on the other hand, they finish grammar school and go three years to a technical school ... We've helped more than 5,000 families. So multiply that by five, and you have more than 25,000 people who have been influenced by the work that we're doing.

Q. What are you looking forward to most about the reunion?

A. I am looking forward, since I've been there to meet and work with all the young people, to seeing the volunteers from all the different years. If we are going to have over 200 people here, then that is a pretty good percentage of them. When I was here last week, I learned that our very first volunteer is coming. I am very excited.

For more information on the Working Boys Center or to learn how to volunteer in Quito, e-mail jparks@wi.rr.com or call (262) 784-7448.


Summary: Tucked away in Crooked Finger, Holy Rosary parish celebrates 50 years of honor to the Virgin Mary on Assumption day

Members of the Holy Rosary Church spent nearly a year preparing for Sunday--their 50th anniversary pilgrimage of the Feast of the Assumption. The tiny church in the Cascade foothills south of Portland has held the pilgrimage every year since 1954, when Pope Pius XII called on faithful all over the world to spend the year celebrating the Virgin Mary.

The year 1954 was the centennial of the church's proclamation of the Immaculate Conception: the belief that the mother of Jesus was conceived without the stain of original sin. Because Holy Rosary was named in honor of Mary, the church was authorized to hold a pilgrimage and invited guests to come to Crooked Finger, near Silverton. The first year, 5,000 people from 14 states and 70 cities in Oregon came to walk the grounds and celebrate the Feast of the Assumption in honor of Mary."

"I'll never forget it," said Pat Schonbachler, who helped at the first event and has attended--and helped plan--every one since then. Sunday's event was special for Schonbachler and for her friend Margaret Gersch, who has also attended every pilgrimage at Crooked Finger. Both have seen children receive their first Communion at Holy Rosary, and on Sunday, both saw grandsons receive the same blessing.

"Margaret, it was kind of awesome, wasn't it?" said Schonbachler, whose young children attended the first pilgrimage in 1954. "I almost just had tears," Gersch replied. "It was a day fitting for Our Lady," Schonbachler said, her blue eyes tearing up a little. She said that some people don't understand why Roman Catholics revere Mary so much, but "we give her the honor we give our mother."

This year's procession wasn't as large as the first one. The more than 500 people who attended fit neatly into a grassy clearing next to the church, where Douglas firs tower above the church steeple. Sunday's pilgrimage began with a recitation of the rosary. Hundreds of voices joined as the Rev. Philip Waibel of the Order of Saint Benedict led the prayer. The crowd then joined in a processional through church property on a path lined by 26 shrines to Mary, each decorated by a family in the 60-member parish. Portland Archbishop John Vlazny, attending his first Holy Rosary pilgrimage, celebrated Mass, with the help of Waibel.

During the homily, Vlazny discussed the importance of the Marian year of 1954. "It was needed to remind people after the war, Holocaust, and the Depression," he said, "to remind people of the holiness of the world." Vlazny said the world is "still broken today," but that the occasion reminds faithful that the world will "one day be made new again." After the Mass, the parish celebrated with a picnic-- corn, sausage and more than enough homemade pie and cake to go around. "It's not everyday you get to have homemade pie," Gersch said. While they ate, the Marion County Citizens' Band provided music, as the band had done in 1954. Waibel beamed at the picnic after Mass, calling the event simply "wonderful." He said the "beautiful, intimate" event was modest, which represents the parish. "It's really nicely done," he said, "nothing real fancy about it."

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