Liturgical Season 2/2/05 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 February 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 February.

The Eucharist with Mary

Eucharist with Mary is an answer to John Paul II's proclamation of "a special Year of the Eucharist" (2004-2005).  This feature will explore facets of Mary's relationship with the Eucharist and will be updated frequently throughout this year.

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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.

We have updated our sections on Marian Shrines in Germany and on The Hail Mary in Foreign Languages.  We have also posted the answers to two reader questions: Who is the Madonna of Clonfert? and Who is the Virgin of Izamel?

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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: through 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.  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

In honor of Our Lady, Stella Maris, who watches over all who were claimed by the sea during the tsunami disaster, the proceeds from this rosary [cf. viarosa.com/VR/StellaMaris/Rosaries+Chaplets.html] were given in their entirety to Catholic Relief Services, to aid the survivors. 

As a turbulent conflict rages, we offer two new rosaries honoring the Queen of Peace and a powerful Peace Chaplet, and continue to offer our prayers for peace and a special gift for our troops. See: viarosa.com/VR_index.html#CurrentSpecial

From Zenit

Indian Marian Shrine to Host Inter-religious Meeting

Area Devastated by Tsunami

VELANKANNI, India, JAN. 28, 2005 (Zenit.org)

The Marian Shrine of Velankanni, devastated by last month's tsunami, will host an interreligious meeting to be led by the president of India's episcopal conference.

Some 1,500 people in Velankanni died during the tsunami, officials said. The majority were pilgrims, hundreds from other Indian states, as well as fishermen and local villagers. More than 1,100 people died at the shrine, known as the "Lourdes of the East."

Priests, nuns and teams of volunteers of the Diocese of Tanjore organized rescue and relief operations in Velankanni and the adjoining coastal villages.

According to Father Anthony Philimin Raj, executive secretary of the Indian episcopal conference, a large number of Church leaders and leaders from other religious communities will congregate at Velankanni for the unique interreligious prayer service, being organized by the Catholic Church.

Cardinal Telesphore Toppo will lead the meeting that will be attended by leaders of the Islam and Muslim communities. Bishop Devadass Ambrose Mariadoss of Tanjore and a large number of priests and nuns of the diocese will also attend. Bishop Mariadoss oversees the relief and rehabilitation projects in the area.

Cardinal Toppo will also inaugurate temporary thatched housing constructed by the Tanjore Diocese for the villagers and fishermen who lost their homes.

Twenty million pilgrims from India and Southeast Asia visit the Shrine of Velankanni annually, including many Hindus and Muslims.


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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.

Open your hearts to Jesus, says Zen [Source: South China Morning Post, 12/24/2004]

In a society in which David Beckham portrays Joseph and Posh Spice the Virgin Mary in a nativity scene, CitySeen turned to Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-kiun for some well-needed guidance this Christmas. "A child is born for us, this is the great news at Christmas," the bishop said. "Actually, in all cultures, people welcome the coming of a new life.  They celebrate; it brings joy to the whole family.  But in modern society, there are people who think that children are a burden to the society.  And some even see a drop in the birth rate as an indicator of progress. That is very sad."

Bishop Zen suggests we cultivate humility, simplicity and sincerity because "from our mutual sincerity grows mutual trust, which precisely seems to be lacking" in today's society. "Let us open our hearts to Jesus and to each other, so that with mutual trust we can all together build a better Hong Kong," he said. "Let's hope we can keep this in mind while we are waiting for ages in queues to max out our credit cards."

Chorus celebrates through song; Concert: The Arundel Vocal Arts Society offers diverse melodies for the holiday season. [Source: The Baltimore Sun, 12/23/2004]

Interim director Betty-Ann Lynerd and the Arundel Vocal Arts Society presented their Christmas "A Season of New Traditions" concert last week at Calvary United Methodist Church in Annapolis, showcasing the ensemble's strengths in a cappella music, precise enunciation and pleasing harmonies.

For her first concert with AVAS, Lynerd chose a program that included a hymn to the Virgin Mary, set to the 12th-century harmonies of Hildegarde of Bingen, and another "Ave Maria," set in seven-voice parts by 20th-century German composer Franz Biebl. Another piece, contemporary composer John Tavener's "The Lamb," set 18th-century poet William Blake's poem in tight, modern, harmonic clusters. The Dec. 12 program revealed the broad versatility of the chorus, which moved from a medieval work to the esoteric modern work of John Tavener and on to a 20th-century African carol sung in the Yoruba language.

Written in a single melodic line, medieval abbess Hildegarde's "O Frondens Virga" describes Mary as a "blossoming virgin" who lifts us up. The chorus was well displayed in this largely a cappella piece that opened the concert. Adding to it was Theresa Butler's clear, bright soprano enhanced by Tatiana Johanning's flute accompaniment. Biebl's "Ave Maria," a double-chorus piece composed in 1961 for his Munich firemen's choir, is derived from the Angelus liturgy recited morning, noon and evening to a ringing Angelus bell. AVAS offered Biebl's later version, set in seven voice parts with three soloists--Kevin Powers, Suzanne Bongiorno and Karen Baumbach--underscoring why this piece has become a favorite.

The longest work on the program, Ralph Vaughan Williams' "Fantasia on Christmas Carols," was beautifully sung, and featured tenor William Gabbard of the Soldiers' Chorus, along with Irma Cripe's soulful cello accompaniment. Gabbard's powerful tenor displayed mellow qualities usually associated with a baritone voice to add richness. The Nigerian carol "Betelehemu," composed by Nigerian drummer Babatunde Olatunji and arranged by his choral director Wendell Whalum, was the high point of the afternoon.

Betelehemu (Bethlehem) is an elegantly simple affirmation of faith and a touching retelling of the Christmas story. The Vocal Artists sang this exciting carol with verve in Yoruba, with drama and color added by percussionist Bruce Smith. Adding its distinctive sound was AVAS guest, the Annapolis Area Christian School's Women's Chorus, directed by Cindy Bauchspies. This chorus produced a bright, lively sound in a medley of songs for the season.

New art-attack cure [Source: The Mercury (Australia), 12/22/2004]

MODERN medical science is working with the art world to save treasures being destroyed by insects, fungi and humidity. As these pictures from Venezuela show, life-saving technology is coming to the rescue of one of the Latin-American country's prized carvings. This 18th-century colonial wood carving of the Virgin Mary is the guinea pig for a novel alliance of biologists, DNA experts and art curators working to preserve Venezuela's heritage from the ravages of its tropical climate.

The team is racing to save the 78cm statue known as the Immaculate Creole Virgin from wood-boring beetles. They plan to "vaccinate" it with spores of a bacterial toxin deadly to insects but harmless to humans and, they hope, to works of art too. "What we're doing is using biotechnology techniques that are employed in forensics and agriculture, but applying them to works of art," genetics expert Dr Jose Luis Ramirez said.

The project began with Tahia Rivero, curator of the private Banco Mercantil collection that includes the Creole Virgin, who noticed the beetle holes marking the statue's red, green and gold robes. She knew she had a major infestation problem that could eventually reduce the carving to sawdust, the fate of many historic wood statues in the insect-infested tropics. Ms Rivero also knew that if she applied traditional liquid or gas chemical pesticides, she risked damaging the delicate paint pigments of the statue and expanding or splitting the aged wood. So she consulted art conservation expert Alvaro Gonzalez, who got in touch with Dr Ramirez at Venezuela's Institute of Advanced Studies to see if staff could find a solution.

They decided to give the Creole Virgin high-tech treatment. The statue was first taken to a local clinic for a CAT scan, an X-ray technique that creates three-dimensional images made up of multiple cross-section "slices." It clearly revealed the burrowing holes of the beetles. It also showed the statue was made of three different kinds of tropical wood, one of them mahogany.   Samples led an entomologist to identify the culprit as Calymmaderus punctulatus, a tiny beetle that attacks furniture, wooden posts and carvings.

Using techniques now commonly employed by forensic scientists to identify criminals, the team put the samples through DNA analysis to find the precise molecular "fingerprint" of the invading insect. This allowed them to identify a perfectly matched biological antidote in the form of a bacterial toxin known as Bacillus thuringiensis, used to eradicate crop pests. The Bt toxin, which occurs naturally in soil, kills worms, beetles, caterpillars and moths without harming humans and animals. "The bugs go belly-up and die," Dr Ramirez explained. "We'll be sticking the spores in there and spreading them."

Once implanted, the spores remain active, preventing the return of the insect, a result the curator likened to being vaccinated against the flu. Dr Ramirez said anti-bacterial peptides from the skin of frogs may also be used to combat fungi attacking art treasures.

Excited by this new use of biotechnology, the team is hoping to restore other works of art from Venezuela's Spanish colonial period, such as paintings, books and manuscripts threatened by insects and fungi that thrive in heat and humidity. "The idea is that this biotechnology application could be used massively in the work of art conservation," Ms Rivero said. Here in Australia, conservators are increasingly eschewing fumigation and turning to the deep-freeze to treat insect infestations. Objects are placed in vacuum-sealed bags and frozen down to -30C to kill a range of larvae and eggs. Another treatment is to starve them of oxygen for a month or more which, if timed right, kills the insects and their eggs.

Michelle Berry, a conservator with the Melbourne Museum, said the Venezuelan technique looks interesting because it will prevent return infestations, something freezing cannot do. She said conservators are also looking at high-temperature treatments for things that can't be frozen, such as teeth on a stuffed animal, paper and leather, but must still be fumigated. Conservators are always looking for novel techniques to minimise the use of chemicals on cultural treasures, Joanna Barr from South Australia-based Artlab Australia said. She points to research in Europe using bacteria to treat mould growing on frescos. "We're always looking to science for inspiration and ideas on how to further our techniques. We certainly draw very heavily from science in our understanding of how materials ... deteriorate and how treatments are going to impact," she explained. "Some of those chemical-free methods are certainly important to investigate."

The Virgin Mary, as Heard by Hindemith [Source: The New York Times, 12/22/2004]

Paul Hindemith, who died in 1963, was arguably the complete musician of his generation. He composed pieces for every instrument imaginable, and could play them all himself. Hindemith's textbooks on harmony and ear training are models of thoroughness and good sense.

I remember him personally as a conductor of small madrigal choirs. The still-young 21st century has trouble placing Hindemith among the composing icons of the 20th, but that has something to do with his own attitude. German himself, Hindemith turned his back on the ancestral trappings of artist-as-hero and the intimations of immortality that went with them.

The 15 songs of ''Das Marienleben'' (''The Life of Mary'') sung by Jane Marsh, soprano, at the Austrian Cultural Forum on a cold Monday night represent the master musical craftsman in his workshop. Rainer Maria Rilke's heated prose-poem on the life of the mother of Jesus is refined into music that is cooler, clearer and more speculative than the naked texts would indicate.   Hindemith took this song cycle seriously, widely revising the 1923 originals 25 years later.

The tiny performing space at the Austrian Cultural Forum (packed full, by the way) offered the chance for intimate exchange through reduced resources, but doing less is often more difficult than doing more. Just singing the notes of ''Das Marienleben'' is no easy matter, and Ms. Marsh did at least that much with care and concern. Hers, on the other hand, is the kind of big, classical-music soprano that does not engage easily in musical conversation. Her big sound simply detonated off these walls. Linda Hall was Ms. Marsh's scrupulous pianist. Ms. Marsh's problems ran in the other direction. Her playing sang out forcefully when the stage was hers, but Hindemith wrote not so much piano accompaniments as distinct and crucial singing lines that work contrapuntally against the voice. Where sharp, clear duets were in order, the piano part tended to disappear deferentially into the background. All this, however, imagines ideal performances. They hardly ever happen. Listeners and music in general should have been, and obviously were, grateful to hear this music at all, and especially in the hands of caring professionals.

NO FEAR [Source: The Boston Globe, 12/21/2004]

First, some Quincy hooligans swipe little baby Jesus out of a neighborhood creche, and now Ryan Landry 's got something up and running called "Who's Afraid of the Virgin Mary?"  We'll let you be the judge. But Landry has long operated under the "nothing is sacred" banner, so can you really be surprised that the Virgin Mary (played by Landry) is portrayed as a potty-mouthed alcoholic who smokes, eats bad food, and lives in a dump? She and Joseph are at each other's throats and when Nick, a chap in a Santa suit, stops by with his wife, Honey, it's bicker, bicker, bicker. Also, it seems, Jesus is missing (could it be the Quincy hooligans?).

Getting more and more surreal, Landry works in references to "A Christmas Carol," "It's a Wonderful Life," and "A Charlie Brown Christmas." Is this evidence of a love/hate attitude toward Christmas? "Not really," Landry says. "I really love it, but this atmosphere of Hilary Duff and how pop music has taken a nosedive and politics has taken a nosedive ... we're just in this weird mire of pink and baby blue and glitter, and my idea is to pull Christmas out of the muck," Huh? "I believe in the sentiment [of Christmas]. It's natural human emotion, but it's gotten a really bad rap.  People may expect me to be making fun of the Virgin Mary, but it's not like that at all. It's more affirming what each individual has for faith. People need help from a weirdo like me."

Raised Mormon, Landry has a chapel in his backyard, loves what the Catholic Church has done for art, but isn't what he'd call a Christian. "I guess I believe in God, but I'm not sure Christ is coming back. I think he's cashed in his chips." As to "Who's Afraid of the Virgin Mary?" Landry assures, "It isn't 'burn down the Catholic Church!' That's nothing to do with what I'm doing. This is set at the cusp of when Christmas stops being a holy holiday and starts becoming a capitalistic holiday. It's not just a man in a wig. It's so beyond that." And at the end of the day? "I think this brings a little bit of joy and peace." The play runs 90 minutes, including a 20-minute intermission. It's up tonight, tomorrow, and Thursday at 8. Tickets: $25. 1254 Boylston St., 617-265-6222.

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