Liturgical Season 1/21/05 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 January 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 January.

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New Resources

A section on Mary in Doctrine has been added to our Resources index.  The latest addition was The Immaculate Conception. Expect more articles to follow.

A section on Marian Spiritualities has been added to our Resources index.  The latest addition was a paper by Sr. Marie Azzarello on Visitation-Pentecost Spirituality in the Congregation of Notre Dame.  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 Bibliography.  Expect more articles to follow.

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  News from the Marian Library

Call For Papers

There is a call for papers from the American Academy of Religion for their annual meeting November 19-22, 2005, in Philadelphia, PA. The Christian Systematic Theology Section listed their 3rd topic as "Mary and divine creativity: considerations of the history, theology, and iconography of Mary as aesthetic keys to understanding and formulating the Christian doctrine of God." In order to present a paper, one must be a member and submit a proposal by March 1, 2005.  All pertinent information should be on their website, www.aarweb.org.

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Current Exhibit

Sacred Dolls: Re-Imaging Our Lady, a display by Dianne Marlene Hargitai, will be exhibited at The Marian Library Gallery through Feb 28, 2005.  For more information call 937-229-4214 or click here to see a virtual exhibit.

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International Marian Research Institute Course Schedule

IMRI courses for the Spring 2005 semester will begin on February 14.  The course schedule through Fall 2005 is now available.

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Marian Events

Marianist Heritage Celebration
Location: University of Dayton
Date: January 19 - February 16, 2005

A month-long celebration of the University of Dayton's Marianist heritage, coordinated by the office of the rector, will feature art and music, teach-ins and panel discussions.  The celebration includes several open invitations to join a Marianist for lunch and conversation on a variety of topics.  Events include:

"Explore Mary Through Art" exhibit at ArtStreet 8 am - 6 pm Monday through Friday, January 19 - 29

"History of Mary" presentation by Fr. Bert Buby and Fr. Tom Thompson at noon on January 26.  Open lunch invitation in the Marian Library Lounge [7th floor of Roesch Library].  RSVP required to the rector's office at 937-229-2409.

Living Rosary at 5 pm on January 26 in UD's Immaculate Conception Chapel

"Mary Through Time: Images and Likenesses" on Mary in art and film will be presented at ArtStreet at 7 pm on Jan 26.

For more information, click into campusreport.udayton.edu.

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 Pontifical International Marian Academy [PAMI]
21st International Mariological Congress
Held at the Pontifical Lateran University, Rome December 4-8, 2004

Pontificia Academia Mariana Internationalis
XXI Congresso Mariologico Mariano Internazionale

A report by Virginia Kimball, President, Mariological Society of America

The Pontifical International Marian Academy held its 21st International Congress in Rome this past December and the Mariological Society of America (MSA) was well represented.  This International Congress, held every four years by PAMI, gathered together Marian theologians from all over the world, and was dedicated this year to the theme, “Mary of Nazareth welcomes the Son of God in history.” 

The American contingency of members of the Mariological Society of America who participated in the Congress included Dr. Deyanira Flores of Costa Rica who represented the Marian Library at the University of Dayton and presented a plenary session paper titled "In the Fullness of Time, to the 'Fiat' of the Word is joined the 'Fiat' of the Virgin" (delivered in Spanish).  In the first part, "Biblical Foundations," Dr. Flores examined Galatians 4: 4-7, Hebrews 10: 1-18, and Luke 1: 26-38: the eternal Economy of the Father, the "Fiat" of the Word, and the "Fiat" of the Virgin.  The second part dealt with the different characteristics of the “Fiat” of the Word and of the Virgin, and the way these two “Fiats” are joined in God’s Eternal Plan.  The authors from Tradition that she mentioned in the paper ranged from the second to the 17th centuries. Other MSA participants in the Congress included Rev. Johann Roten, S.M. of the International Marian Research Institute (IMRI) in Dayton, Ohio.  Those who spoke in the English-Speaking Section were:

- Rev. Luigi Gambero, S.M., faculty member of the Marianum in Rome and faculty member at IMRI in Dayton, Ohio, who spoke on “Mary and the Church Welcome Their Heavenly Spouse in His Coming Into Our History: the Teaching of St. Augustine,” a paper which drew many interesting questions and prompted Fr. Gambero to distribute his sources for the paper to participants in this session;

- Sr. Mary Catherine Nolan, O.P., MSA board member, who spoke on “Mary’s Song: Living Her Timeless Message”;

- Rev. Marian Zalecki, O.S.P.P.E. of the Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa near Philadelphia, PA, who offered “The Shrine of Czestochowa: A School of the Teaching Mother, Mary of  Nazareth” showing how Mary teaches through the shrine, a paper also abundant with details of the history of Poland’s Madonna;

- Sr. Jean Frisk, Schoenstatt Sister affiliated with the Marian Library in Dayton, who offered a paper on the “Schoenstatt Home Shrine,” demonstrating how the Virgin’s Home Shrine creates a “holy space”;

-  Sr. Isabelle Naumann, a Schoenstatt sister who spoke on the “Anthropological Aspects of Mary as the Immaculata in the Schoenstatt Spirituality”;

- Sr. M. Danielle Peters, a Schoenstatt sister, who spoke on “Father Jakob Rem and the title, ‘Mother Thrice Admirable’”;

- Gloria Dodd, who recently defended her doctorate in Mariology at IMRI spoke on her research, “Mary, Mother of the Church, in the Movement for the Definition of Mary as Mediatrix”;

- Virginia Kimball, president of MSA, who gave the paper “‘Nymphe anymphete, Bride Unwedded’: Mystical meanings in the liturgical phrase describing spousal union between Mary and God”;

- Rev. Nicholas Gregoris, of Columbus, Ohio, who spoke on “John Henry Cardinal Newman: on Mary’s Cooperation in the Incarnation as Theotokos and New Eve.”

- Also, speaking in the English-Speaking Session was Dr. Constantine Charalampidis, a professor at the University of Thessaloniki in Greece, who presented a comprehensive slide lecture on “Representations of the Annunciation of the Theotokos in Byzantine Iconography.”

Each day, the Plenary Session speakers gave papers to the Congress membership representing mariologists from 12 international regions (African, Asian, Croatian, French, English-speaking, Italian, Latin-American, Polish, Portuguese, Slovenian, Spanish, and German).  The proceedings were presided over by S. Em. Cardinal Poupard, who also delivered greetings from the Holy Father to the Congress, bringing Pope John Paul II’s welcome and expressions of prayer and hope for the Congress. Vice President of the Congress was Rev. P. Vincenzo Battaglia, O.F.M., President of Pontificia Accademia Mariana Internazionale, who warmly received our small group of American participants.  The Secretary of the Congress, Rev. P. Stefano Cecchin, O.F.M. was a gracious and welcoming host, as well, to our American group.  At the close of the Congress, all participants were invited to the Liturgy of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, at St. Peter’s Basilica, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the declaration of the dogma, presided over by the Holy Father.  The Congress was mentioned in John Paul II’s homily, when he recognized the presence of mariologists who came to Rome for the Congress in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of the declaration of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception on December 8 in 1854. Of particular joy was the invitation that MSA member Gloria Dodd received to read the Epistle at Mass. 

Extra features of the Congress included two special events: one, a pre-screening of a video to be used at a center planned for opening in Jerusalem, and secondly, an enjoyable concert of Christmas music.  The presentation on Sunday night, December 5,  presented a new project in Jerusalem, “Marie de Nazareth,” including the plans there for a new museum of Mary in the Holy Land, announced recently by a new accompanying website. A feature film of considerable length was reviewed by participants, who were generally impressed with its full treatment of the Virgin Mary in images and understanding of western cultural expression, but including also some allusions to eastern Christian, Islamic, and Judaic culture.  Information on this project can be found online at www.mariedenazareth.com.  On the evening of December 6, a concert of Marian music was presented at the Basilica of St Anthony near the Lateran, specially performed for PAMI attendees by Polifonica Antoniana.  The program included classic Marian compositions by Palestrina, Haydn, Spingola and others.

All the plenary session papers and language session papers are to be published eventually in the Acta Congressus Mariologici Mariani, published at the offices of the Antonianum.  It will be of interest for former participants of PAMI to know that for the proceedings of 2004, all of the plenary sessions are completed for publication and the language sessions are still in preparation.

At the end of this Congress 2004, news came that the Holy Father had announced the location of the next Congress in 2008, which will be held at Lourdes, France.



A decree from the Apostolic Penitentiary, dated December 25, 2004 and published today, states that during an audience granted on December 17, 2004 to Cardinal James Francis Stafford and Fr. John Francis Girotto, OFM.Conv., respectively penitentiary major and regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary, "the Holy Father wished to enrich with indulgences several determined acts of worship and devotion to the Most Holy Sacrament, which are indicated below ... The Decree will be in force during the Eucharistic Year, starting with the day of its publication in the L'Osservatore Romano.  Notwithstanding and disposition to the contrary."  Following are excerpts:

"A plenary Indulgence is granted to all faithful and to each individual faithful under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer in keeping with the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff, with the soul completely removed from attachment to any form of sin), each and every time they participate attentively and piously in a sacred function or a devotional exercise undertaken in honor of the Blessed Sacrament, solemnly exposed and conserved in the tabernacle.

"A Plenary Indulgence is also granted, under the aforesaid conditions, to the clergy, to members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and to other faithful who are by law obliged to recite the Liturgy of the Hours, as well as to those who customarily recite the Divine Office out of pure devotion, each and every time they recite--at the end of the day, in company or in private--Vespers and Night Prayers before the Lord present in the tabernacle.

"The faithful who, through illness or other just cause, are unable to visit the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist in a church or oratory, may obtain a Plenary Indulgence in their own homes, or wherever they may be because of their ailment, if ... with the intention of observing the three usual conditions as soon as possible, they make the visit spirituality and with the heart's desire ... and recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a pious invocation to Jesus in the Sacrament.

"If they are unable to do even this, they will receive a Plenary Indulgence if they unite themselves with interior desire to those who practice the normal conditions laid down for Indulgences, and offer the merciful God the illnesses and discomforts of their lives."

The Decree asks that priests, especially pastors, inform the faithful "in the most convenient manner" of these dispositions, prepare, "with generous and ready spirit," to hear confessions and to lead the faithful "in solemn public recitation or prayers to Jesus in the Sacrament."  The faithful are likewise exhorted "to give open witness of faith and veneration for the Blessed Sacrament" as proposed in such acts as Eucharistic procession and adoration, and Eucharistic and spiritual communion."

Tsunami spares Church; Catholics aid victims

ANTO AKKARA Register Correspondent


Source: National Catholic Register

Like many Southeast Asian coastal areas, the Diocese of Thanjavur was hit hard by tsunamis resulting from the magnitude-9 earthquake beneath the Indian Ocean Dec. 26. As of Jan. 3, the death toll was more than 155,000 in 12 countries.
But diocesan officials say they saw a miracle at the Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health amid the tragedy that took more than 1,000 lives locally, including those of hundreds of pilgrims.

"The killer waves surged and came up to the entrance of the main basilica where the statue of Our Lady of Vailankanni is present and receded after touching the first steps of the basilica's outer door," church officials said in a Dec. 30 statement.

"Faith always rewards," they added.

Quoting eyewitnesses, diocesan officials said the waves stopped at the entrance of India's most popular Marian shrine, which draws 20 million pilgrims a year. Water inundated a bus stand a quarter-mile behind the shrine, but on same elevation.

"Who can deny and say this is not a miracle? The powerful blessing of Our Lady of Vailankanni has saved thousands of lives, as people who were inside the basilica were untouched by the monstrous killer waves," the statement said.

More than 2,000 pilgrims--including hundreds attending Mass--were at the basilica and its sprawling compound when the waves struck.

The shrine, facing the Bay of Bengal, has a history as a miraculous safe haven. Portuguese sailors escaped a devastating cyclone in the bay in the 17th century and built the shrine in thanksgiving (see sidebar). Today, the shrine is a replica of Our Lady of Lourdes in France.

"The shrine is just 325 feet from the beach. Yet, the water did not enter the basilica compound," said Bishop Devadass Ambrose of Thanjavur who has been camping at the basilica to oversee relief work despite lack of water and electricity for the first four days after the tragedy.

Life Amid Death

Speaking at his weekly general audience at the Vatican Dec. 29, Pope John Paul II voiced the deep concern Catholics have for victims of the tragedy, which left beaches from India to Thailand littered with corpses. "The reports coming from Asia reveal more and more the enormity of this immense catastrophe," he said.

United Nations officials in Geneva said Dec. 29 that up to 5 million people lacked basic necessities such as food, water or sanitation.

The Holy Father praised the international community for rapidly mobilizing aid efforts and said the Church's charitable agencies were doing the same.

In Baltimore, Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops' international relief and development agency, committed $25 million for emergency relief and long-term rehabilitation programs in Asia and said it expects that figure to increase. The agency's website crashed temporarily Dec. 29 because response to an appeal for donations was so great.

For the Thanjavur diocese, the need was more immediate. Weary volunteers spent three days searching through 800 rotting corpses. They said they saw smaller miracles amid the tragedy. On Dec. 29, they removed from the rubble a 35-year-old mother who somehow had remained alive. She was clutching the decaying body of her child.

"The Holy Mother has worked wonders despite the tragedy here," said Father Joseph Lionel, the Thanjavur diocesan chancellor coordinating relief work at the basilica.
With the rescued mother returning home healthy from the basilica's hospital, Father Lionel said, "We are glad that it has ended in joy instead of despair."

Meanwhile, the most popular Catholic shrine in India is gradually limping back to normalcy. On the evening of Dec. 30, the diocese stopped its search for missing pilgrims and locals in the mountains of garbage on the seashore and roads. Bishop Ambrose ended the search with a solemn memorial Mass for the dead.

Church volunteers picked up more than 850 bodies within a half-mile radius of the shrine even as the Tamil state machinery focused its relief work in Nagapattanam township. Seven miles from the shrine, the township was the worst affected spot on the sprawling east coast of India.

The tsunamis swallowed up several thousand people, along with some fishing villages. The Catholic village of Aryankattu Theru was consumed by the sea.

"We hope the worst is over," Bishop Ambrose told the Register Jan. 3. He's set up temporary residence at the shrine--55 miles from the diocesan headquarters--supervising the relief work.

A week after the tragedy, Bishop Ambrose pointed out that relatives of dozens of Catholic pilgrims are still contacting the shrine to find out if their loved ones were among those buried by church volunteers. Photos of unidentified bodies are pasted on the shrine's notice board.

Meanwhile, Bishop Ambrose said relief workers are bringing orphans from neighboring villages to the shrine, pleading with the church to look after them.

"We will certainly take care of them," Bishop Ambrose said. The diocese is also housing several hundred locals--rendered homeless by the tsunami--in the school attached to the Marian shrine.

Anto Akkara filed this story from Vailankanni, India.
Catholic News Service contributed to this story.)

The Lourdes of the East


There is no historic document to establish when the first church was built at Vailankanni village, 187 miles south of Chennai.

However, there are several legends about the thatched shed built by a man who had an apparition of the Holy Mother carrying the infant Jesus in her arms at the spot he had the apparition in the 16th century. Since the Holy Mother had earlier appeared before a crippled boy and healed him, the church came to be known as the Church of Arokia Matha, meaning "Mother of Good Health."

According to legends, the Arokia Matha later rescued Portuguese merchant sailors after their ship was wrecked in cyclone.

When the sailors reached the shore, they were taken by local fishermen to the thatched chapel. In thanksgiving, they built a small permanent chapel and improved on it during subsequent visits. The sailors are said to have dedicated the chapel to Our Lady on Sept. 8 in memory of their safe landing at Vailankanni.

The greatest feast at the Marian shrine falls in September, when more than 1 million people flock there. In 1962, the Vailankanni shrine was elevated to a basilica, and in 1964, Portuguese missionaries handed over control to the local Catholic church.

True to Indian tradition, Arokia Matha of Vailankanni is always draped in an Indian sari and devotees bring thousands of costly silk saris in exchange for favors received. Whenever the sari on the statue is changed, it is cut into small pieces and distributed among the devotees as a relic.

The Museum of Offerings at the shrine complex tells of miraculous healings at the site. The shrine receives replicas of hundreds of hearts, eyes, hands, legs and even stethoscopes made of silver and gold, depending on the ailments the Blessed Mother is said to cure.
With the shrine even holding out hope to childless couples, rows of roadside haircutting shops can be seen around the church as many couples shave their heads in thanksgiving.

Anto Akkara

Taken from: National Catholic Register © 2005 9-15 January 2005, page 1

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.

IRAQI CHRISTIANS WORSHIP IN FEAR [Source: The Boston Globe, 12/25/2004]

During Christmases past, Iraqi Christians crowded into the Virgin Mary Church on Karada Street, jovial congregants young and old spilling out noisily onto the sidewalk to celebrate Mass. Even last year, the first Christmas in the shaky postwar era, the pews were nearly filled to their 800-person capacity. But yesterday afternoon, fewer than 200 subdued worshipers braved the capital's perilous roads and passed through a gauntlet of security forces to attend Mass. "Can we be happy when our churches are being attacked?" Father Peter Hadad, head of the church, said in an interview after the service. "This year, people are afraid to come to the church. It is sad for all Christians and even for our Muslim friends that this Christmas is not about celebrating the spirit of joy. It is about sadness."

Iraq's Christian minority which includes mostly Chaldeans with allegiance to the pope, as well as Assyrians, Armenians, and other small denominations numbers about 800,000 and accounts for about 3 percent of the population, church officials say. For Iraqi Christians in this heavily Muslim nation, this holiday season may be remembered as the grimmest ever. Hadad estimated that 20 Christian churches had been bombed over the past year, likely the target of Islamic militants who equate Christians with the US-led occupation force.

Many churches have canceled Christmas services or rescheduled them for the morning or early afternoon for fear of drawing the attention of terrorists. Virgin Mary announced the time of its 4 p.m. Christmas Eve Mass at the last moment, drawing mostly elderly congregants and political figures, such as Assyrian Democratic Movement leader Yunadem Kadem. Only two children were seen in the pews.

Masked Iraqi National Guardsmen and police officers screened traffic outside and eventually decided to prevent cars from driving past. A team of Kadem's Kalashnikov-wielding guards stood at the church entrance. Most Christians here have moved their lights and decorations indoors, for fear of attacks like the ones that struck Iraqi churches in Baghdad in August, which killed at least 10 people and wounded 50 worshipers, and in October, which badly damaged several churches in the capital . Many Iraqi Christians say they are terrified to attend Christmas services this year. "I'm afraid of car bombs," said Dinkha al-Dawoudi, a 48-year-old hotel receptionist and father of two. "The spirit of Christmas has really been affected by the security conditions. There is no joy in Christmas."

Christians here say they resent being identified with the US-led occupation force. Many insist that they are Arab nationalists who oppose the American presence as much as resistance fighters in Fallujah and Mosul do. "The resistance should go and fight the Americans," said Father Gabriel Shamami, who leads St. George's Church in the Zayona section of Baghdad. "It's true that the Americans are Christians and we are Christians. But they should not associate us with them. All the Christians want the Americans to get out and the occupation to end. Nobody is with the Americans."

Indeed, as Iraqi Christians fondly recall, there was a time that Christmas was not considered an exclusively Christian holiday. Islam, too, recognizes the prophets and saints of Christianity. Huddled with his family around a kerosene-powered heater in their Baghdad home, Sirab Suleyman, a 28-year-old Christian, recalled spending Christmas with his Muslim friends, singing carols in the streets together. "Before the war, Muslims and Christians used to celebrate Christmas together," he said, as he rubs his hands for warmth in his modest living room. "Muslims used to visit their Christian friends and greet them. It was a true celebration. That's over now."

Still, some Iraqi Muslims fear more trouble for Christians. Newspaper columnist Hussein al-Sihi attended Mass yesterday at the Virgin Mary Church, in part to show solidarity. "I am here to show my support to the Christian people of Iraq," said Sihi, who writes for the daily newspaper Baghdad. "They have the right to show their belief." Hadad and other Iraqi church leaders estimate that as many as 1 out of 10 Iraqi Christians has left the country since the war began. "This year is different from all the other years," said Salima Tawbia, 54, a Christian mother of eight. "It's all sadness." Gone are the days that Muslims as well as Christians would decorate their homes with Christmas pine trees.

Now, very few Iraqis buy the trees at all. Mohammad Noori, a sidewalk tree vendor on Arasat Street, says he sold 35 trees last year. By Dec. 22 of this year, he had sold only one. Another tree vendor, Sajad Rasool, said his sales had plummeted from 122 to 25 this year, although he slashed prices in half. Dawoudi, the hotel receptionist, says he will not put up a tree this year because he does not expect any relatives to visit.

Besides, much of the country is without electricity for up to 16 hours a day. "The beauty is all in the lights," he said. But Sister Beninia Hermes Shoukwana, a Christian nun who heads a school near Palestine Street, has stubbornly refused to bow to militants. She put up Christmas trees at her school, and her students sing holiday songs. She will attend Christmas Mass at her convent. "I will pray for peace in the country," she said.

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