News from the
Marian Library
Mary in the
Secular Press


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.  Our latest addition is Guiding into the Mystery.

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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 Haiti.  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 posted our answers to a reader's question: Who is Our Lady of the Myrtle? as well as two new Novenas: In Preparation for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Lourdes.

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  News from the Marian Library

Alumni Update

It is with great sadness that we inform you that Colonel Leonard Holihan, a major donor to the Marian Library's art collection, died on Dec. 23, 2004.  Please remember him and his family in your prayers.

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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,

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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 started on February 14.  The course schedule through Fall 2005 is now available.

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Tota Pulchra: A Celebration of the Immaculate Conception

The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate invite you to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the dogma of Mary's Immaculate Conception.  The exhibit features various artistic images of Mary, portraying different times in her life and her role in the church.  The exhibit runs through April 24, 2005.  Admission is free.  Click here for more information.

Click this link for a list of all of the current Marian Events by geographical position.

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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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The 13th World Day of the Sick will be celebrated on February 11 at the Shrine of Mary Queen of the Apostles in Mvolye, Cameroon on the theme "Jesus Christ, Hope for Africa. Youth, Health and AIDS." This morning the Holy Father's special envoy to those celebrations, Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, opened the meeting which traditionally precedes the world day.

Friday, February 11, liturgical feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and the World Day of the Sick, the participants, after a visit to Catholic hospitals in the area, will gather at the shrine in the afternoon for the Eucharistic celebration which will include the rite of the anointing of the sick.




Today, liturgical memory of Our Lady of Lourdes, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome, celebrated Mass at 4:30 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica for the sick and for pilgrims of Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi and UNITALSI (the Italian National Union for Transport of the Sick to Lourdes and International Shrines) on the occasion of the 13th World Day of the Sick.

During the Eucharistic celebration, Cardinal Ruini read a Message from Pope John Paul--who returned last evening to the Vatican following a ten-day stay in Gemelli Hospital--to the sick assembled in St. Peter's.

The Holy Father began the Message by referring to the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, who first appeared to St. Bernadette Soubirous on February 11, 1858 in a grotto at Massabielle. "From that grotto," he says, "which became a place of prayer and hope for many pilgrims from throughout the world, Immaculate Mary continues to invite us to prayer, penitence and conversion. ... When the sick and suffering run to the feet of Mary, that is a ceaseless exhortation to trust Christ and His heavenly Mother, who never abandon those who turn to them in times of pain and trials."


From Zenit

A "Weeping Image" of the Virgin, 10 years on
Interview with Bishop Girolamo Grillo of Civitavecchia


When asked about an image of the Blessed Virgin that allegedly wept tears of blood, Bishop Girolamo Grillo recalls a famous line from Scripture.

"A tree is known by its fruits," says the prelate, 10 years after the tears were first reported in the town of Pantano, near Civitavecchia, some 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Rome.

The phenomenon was first manifested on Feb. 2, 1995. The bishop of Civitavecchia was a direct witness of the lacrimation on March 15 of that year. In this interview with the Italian newspaper Avvenire, he assesses its effects.

Q: What has happened in these 10 years?

Bishop Grillo: Judge for yourself. Since then the presence of pilgrims has not only not diminished, but it has been purified from all obstacles of sensationalism.

The people who go to Pantano are impelled by a great need for conversion. And it is demonstrated by the fact that I have had to arrange for the continual presence of five confessors.

They have told me that they have been able to reconcile many people with God who have been estranged for many years; not rarely, also offenders.

Close to 1,000 broken families, due to divorce or separation, have been reunited, and today this is anything but usual.

Many women have been granted their desired maternity and then they come to have their children baptized here.

Finally, many have asked for baptism, including former Muslims. So why not make these fruits known to the world?

Q: Are you planning any special initiative for the 10th anniversary?

Bishop Grillo: A dossier has been prepared which will soon be published at the national level. Moreover, there are 44 visitors books, full of visitors' signatures and thoughts, which in my opinion reflect all the anxieties of our time, but also all the hopes of those who turn to Mary.

Q: And is a special celebration planned for these days?

Bishop Grillo: Every year, on the night of February 1-2, the faithful leave from the city center and arrived in the town of Pantano, walking the 12 kilometers of the trajectory. This year there were 1,500, who weathered intense cold.

Don't forget that up to 20 years ago, Civitavecchia was considered "the Stalingrad of Latium"--60% communist, an anti-clerical and anarchic city. Today I think this event has left its mark.

Of course, if it is true that the Virgin wept, I don't think she wept only for Civitavecchia.

Q: What has this event meant from the pastoral point of view?

Bishop Grillo: As bishop I am very happy because St. Augustine's Parish in Pantano has become a center of evangelization not only for the city, but for Italy and the whole world. In the last registry, relative to the months of November and December 2004, I counted 12 foreign pilgrimages, from Sri Lanka to Latin America.

We make every effort to indicate true devotion to Mary, that which leads to Christ. And I think this teaching is amply received.

As for the rest, I think these things need time to settle, a period of waiting, and great patience. The supernatural, especially in a world that doesn't believe in God and that has lost values, cannot be demonstrated if it doesn't bear fruits.

Q: And what fruits has it borne for Bishop Grillo?

Bishop Grillo: After that morning of March 15, I was under shock for two or three years. The Virgin unsettled my life and drove me to greater inwardness. On my part, the effort has increased to be attentive and open to the needs of the faithful. Because of this, I am much more dedicated to spiritual direction, in addition to pastoral work.

Q: Has the Blessed Virgin ever spoken to John Paul II?

Bishop Grillo: In the course of the last "ad limina" visit, the Holy Father asked me about the eventuality of building a shrine.

I told him that I was willing to do so but I also asked him to help me open a house for the Sisters of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, in Civitavecchia. In fact, I would like the spiritual and material fruits of a shrine to be also and above all in favor of the poor.


World Day of Sick Gives Hope to Africa
Fight Against AIDS, Poverty is Urgent
YAOUNDE,Cameroon, FEB. 13, 2005 (

The celebrations of the 13th World Day of the Sick culminated at the shrine of Mary, Queen of the Apostles, in Mvolye, Cameroon.

This annual day dedicated to the sick was instituted by John Paul II in 1992. The main celebrations take place every year in a different country on Feb. 11, feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.


Sister Lucia Has Told All Details, Says Researcher
Contends that Fatima's Core Message is Simple
COIMBRA, Portugal, FEB. 20, 2005 (

Sister Lucia's writings will not reveal any new details of the Fatima apparitions, though they provide more insight into the 1917 events, says the head of a research panel. "Sister Lucia's experience is one of continuity and she was faithful. I think what the future holds in store is an even more profound development," Father Jacinto Farias, president of the Scientific Commission of the Fatima Congress, told the Portuguese news agency Ecclesia. "We should not find any novelties," he added. The "richness of the Fatima message is its extreme simplicity and, at the same time, great fruits at the pastoral and theological level." Father Farias made his statements about the last witness of the Fatima apparitions shortly after her death Feb. 13. He said Sister Lucia's texts constitute a fundamental testimony for the Church. Her writings are categorized as "Fatima 1" and "Fatima 2," and reflect her testimony written at different stages in her life.

Father Farias explained that the writings show an "internalization of the events." "A 10-year-old girl and a woman of 40 have a different perception of things," he noted. But he added that the writings show continuity "in an interior rereading." The evolution does not depend on the political, national or international events of the moment, as has been proposed, the priest said.

This, in fact, would imply "extreme intellectual preparation on the part of Sister Lucia to be able to follow these events and make a critical reading of them -- something which does not seem likely to me," he continued.

"On the specific question of the Fatima message and Marxism's militant atheism and dialectical materialism, there are documents which state that Sister Lucia thought that Russia was a woman or a person who was being asked to convert. It was a message that was beyond the awareness of the visionary herself," Father Farias explained. The fact that the message has now been interpreted and translated by the Church into a pastoral strategy is "perfectly legitimate," said Father Farias. "Cardinal Gonçalves Cerejeira himself said that it was not the Church that imposed Fatima, but Fatima that imposed itself on the Church," the priest added. Cardinal Manuel Gonçalves Cerejeira, the former patriarch of Lisbon, died in 1977.

Moreover, it was only at the beginning of the 1930s that the Church recognized the Fatima miracle "in virtue of the massive popular adherence not only in Portugal, but worldwide," he said. Analysis of the Fatima message "is now in the hermeneutic plane," as the "historical analysis is closed." "It is necessary to make a theological analysis, to take advantage of the potential latent in the content of the secret," he continued.

"In the beginning, Francisco did not hear or see; Jacinta saw and heard, but did not speak. Lucia was the voice, the leader, so her spirituality will always be the core of these experiences," said Father Farias, referring to the other two little shepherds present during the Virgin's apparitions.

There will be no "great novelties" from the theological point of view now that the last witness has died, he said, but Fatima will probably have a greater development "in terms of its spiritual and pastoral irradiation."


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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.

To be free is to compromise
[Source: Financial Times (London), 1/29/2005]

In Italy last week, the Virgin Mary appeared, gripping a car steering wheel in a newspaper advertisement for an online auto-registration service. Father Antonio Mazzi, a well-known priest, called the rendition "a clear and manifest blasphemy." This is a concept that seems to be coming back into vogue.

Pakistani authorities deployed their own blasphemy laws several weeks ago to suppress an edition of Newsweek that featured an article on Theo van Gogh, the Dutch director whose murder by a Muslim fundamentalist was itself a grisly act of doctrinal enforcement. Britain has seen violent protests by Sikhs close down the play Behzti in Birmingham, and the Blair government has been agitating for a "law against incitement to religious hatred." Some of those who were angered at the treatment of Jesus in the BBC's airing of Jerry Springer--The Opera have urged that Britain's antiquated blasphemy statutes be used to suppress it. "The increasing assertiveness of religions in recent years is prompting a crisis," the philosopher A. C. Grayling warned recently in The Guardian. "Under the generic cloak of claiming to be 'offended' by whatever they do not like, religious conservatives and fundamentalists seek, with increasing insistence, to silence others."

But that gives a false picture of recent clashes, and underestimates the challenge recent developments pose. For many of the proponents of multicultural civil society, or an "open" society, or whatever one chooses to call it, free speech is the key to all other rights. It gets threatened by forces of "reaction." But what is happening today is more complicated. Minorities, newly empowered with civil rights, do not always want to use them to maximize civil liberties. Pretending that they do, and are thwarted only by religion, is eating one's cake and having it.

There is something knee-jerk about the easy dismissal of those protesting at the Jerry Springer spoof. Often, what gets called "courageous artistic expression" is aimed not at the powerful but at despised and declining groups who can be passed off as powerful but actually are not. It is hard to imagine a group less in need of lampooning than the television-watching American lower middle class. Michael Reid of the Global Gospel Fellowship has said: "They would not dare to do this to Muslims or Sikhs, but they see Christians as fair game." The evangelist Stephen Green laments that a "combination of political correctness and physical cowardice by the arts industry" tends to give other faiths more protection than Christianity.

When Mr. Green says that these forces can work together, he has a point--not because political correctness has any secret agenda; but because its self-proclaimed tolerance provides it with a pretext for knuckling under to violence. Timothy Garton Ash, writing in The Guardian about the Springer controversy, says that one commonly held view--that "the established majority religion can and should take a bit more stick than minority religions"--is not really the classic liberal position. One can go further and say that it is a dodge. Because Mr. Garton Ash's assumption that Christianity is "the established majority religion" of Europe is open to dispute. Certainly, in France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Britain Christianity does not look like any such thing. Measured by several indices of real religious power--the intensity of its followers' convictions, its presence in the public debate and the fact that many of its potential detractors are intimidated by it--Christianity now ranks second to Islam in its claims to be Europe's leading religion. But the issue of free speech would be growing more nettlesome even if religion were not involved.

In a multicultural society, where there are as many ideas of free speech and free religious exercise as there are cultures, rights have to be weighed against one another. In France and Germany, an ethnic group's right to safety is deemed sufficiently important to require curbs on free speech: denying the Holocaust is not just an annoyance but a crime. In the US, providing to black people the civil rights denied them for centuries has meant suspending the constitutional guarantee of freedom of association: under affirmative action, large business owners, educators or landlords are not free to choose whom they do business with. In this light, Europe's experiment in balancing rights looks a lot like the golden age of US political correctness that lasted from roughly 1990 until 2001, when suppressing free speech proved a tempting way to advance "out-groups" at the expense of "in-groups." For decades, US defenders of civil rights (such as racial and gender equality) and defenders of civil liberties (such as free speech) fought on the same progressive side. But lawyers increasingly speak of a permanent tension between the two. American university campuses are the country's mills of equality. To make them more welcoming to minorities and women, administrators resorted throughout the 1990s to extraordinary infringements of rights. They closed fraternity houses. They published rules for dating. But mostly what they did was police opinion. Harvard Law School in 1996 declared it would punish "any speech of a sexual nature that is unwelcome, abusive, and has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual's work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, demeaning, degrading, hostile, or otherwise seriously offensive working or educational environment". What resulted was a big breach in the American left. Certain political activists cast their allegiance with civil rights. The celebrity lawyer Alan Dershowitz, for instance, voted for the Harvard code. Others cast their lot with civil liberties. The Boston legal theorist Harvey Silverglate fought for speech rights on campus, even when that led him into uneasy alliances with his former conservative adversaries. Mr Dershowitz and Mr Silverglate, long-time allies in many battles, soon found themselves doing battle in public forums. But when they did so, neither was under the naive impression that what would result would be absolute respect for minorities, or absolute respect for free speech.

Why Warren and Alf Will Never Part
 [Source: Daily Telegraph (Sydney, Australia), 1/28/2005]

Some actors gripe about being pegged for a lifetime with a single famous role, but not Warren Mitchell, best known as Alf Garnett. "If the public gives a big thumbs up, it's a bit perverse not to do it any more," says the 79-year-old actor, who's back in Sydney to reprise the role that established his career.

Mitchell first appeared as the bigoted Alf in the TV comedy Til Death Us Do Part in 1965. The show caused plenty of controversy for the BBC. Back in 1972, when Alf remarked that the reason Jesus had no siblings, was "because the Virgin Mary was on the pill," an irate viewer formed an organization of concerned citizens opposed to the show, and tried to sue. They failed and the highly rated show ran for 10 years.

Alf was just one role in a varied and successful stage and TV career, but it remains Mitchell's best known. The actor believes Alf's provocative nature has given him lasting appeal. "People want to see stories with conflict, something that's absent from most contemporary sitcoms, Mitchell says. "Nobody really gets angry. It's all chocolate box stuff, and I think Australians especially detest that."

Mitchell first toured Australia as Alf in 1968, and was so enchanted by the country he took up citizenship. His wife, who loves England, refused to move here, so he's contented himself with returning every summer. He visits his son, Daniel, who is also an actor, and has appeared in 19 productions opposite Australia's stage legends, including Hayes Gordon, Ruth Cracknell and Geoffrey Rush. Recent shows include the grumpy old man comedy, I'm Not Rappaport, and Arthur Miller's tragedy The Price at the Ensemble. Last year, Mitchell won an Olivier Award after reprising that Miller role on the West End. Next year he'll return to the Ensemble to perform Harold Pinter's The Caretaker, if the theatre can secure the rights--"and if I'm not dead yet." His one-man show includes a second act, in which Mitchell plays himself in his "anecdotage," narrating some of his career highlights.

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