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.
To celebrate the month of March 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 March.
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 Eucharistic Faith.
A section on international stamps with images of Mary has also been added to our Resources index. The latest updated was Meditating the Passion of Our Lord with Stamps. Expect more countries to follow.
We have updated our list of The Hail Mary in Various Languages. We have also added the following features: The Three Marys; Mary and the Time of the Church; Mary's Priestly Dimension; Mary's Gold; and an Alphabetical Dictionary of Marian terms.
We have received a number of emails from readers commending our Mary Page web site. Thank you all for your encouragement and support. The following comment is a typical example:
Rev. Dr. Judith Gentile is an Anglo-Catholic priest, theologian, and Adjunct Professor at Duquesne University where she teaches Marian Theology. She is also a member of the Mariological Society of America. Her book, Jesus Redeeming in Mary, The Role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Redemption according to St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, was published by Montfort Publications in 2003.
She will speak on "The Eucharist and Mary" at the next meeting of the Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary (USA) in Washington, D.C. on May 7, 2005. Dr. Virginia M. Kimball, an IMRI graduate, is currently Vice-President of the ESBVM-USA. For more information click into www.esbvm.org.
Blessed Art Thou: Mother; Lady; Mystic; Queen, a display by Michael O'Neill McGrath inspired by black pilgrimage Madonnas, will be exhibited at The Marian Library Gallery through April 20. Copies of the beautifully illustrated book may be purchased for $30 ($10 off the retail price). Packages of notecards with artwork based upon the exhibit are also available at $5 for a set of twenty (all of the same picture).
The Marian Library At Gallery is located on the seventh floor of the Rosech Library, and is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. For more information call 937-229-4214, or click into the virtual exhibit.
Creches and Straw Art are also on display in our museum.
The 56th Annual Meeting of The Mariological Society of America will be held at Marie Joseph Spiritual Center in Biddeford, Maine from May 18-21, 2005. This year's theme is Mary, Eschatological Icon of the Church. The program is as follows:
Attendance open to all. You need not be a member to register.
For attendees residing at the Marie Joseph Spiritual Center:
Room and Board Package:
Meals must be "reserved" on the Registration Form.
Early arrivals? Late departures?--Contact the MSA Secretariat at 937-229-4294 for information about possibilities, rates.
Payment may be made now or at the time of the meeting. Make check payable to the Mariological Society of America. Note: No refunds possible after May 13, 2005
International Marian Research Institute Course ScheduleIMRI courses for the Spring 2005 semester concluded on March 18. The course schedule through Fall 2005 is now available.
You are invited to the Presentation of this year's Miryam Award recognizing Ashley Neu and the Annie T. Thornton Women's Leadership Conference. The program opens with a prayer service at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 31, 2005 in the Immaculate Conception Chapel on the University of Dayton campus. Immediately following the prayer service, the award will be presented in the Women's Center [Alumni Hall, Room 211]. A reception will conclude the event. RSVP to 937-229-2524.
Click this link for a list of all of the current Marian Events by geographical position.
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!
Address of John Paul II
In response to current events, we think it proper to inform our readers of a recent statement on the above topic. As usual, John Paul II, concluded with a Marian reference: "In this light, I invoke upon you the assistance of him, whom a meaningful saying of the Church Fathers describes as Christus medicus, and in entrusting your work to the protection of Mary, Consoler of the sick and Comforter of the dying, I lovingly bestow on all of you a special Apostolic Blessing.
Schoenstatt Shrine in the Philippines designated as the official shrine of the Cebu Archdiocese
This evening thousands of students from Roman universities participated in a Marian prayer vigil, concluding the Third European Day for Universities on the theme "Intellectual and Scientific Research, a Way to Meet Christ." The event was presided by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome.
Decree [dated October 6 in the Year of the Lord, 2004]:
Furthermore, I grant a plenary indulgence to all pilgrims who visit the shrine on the following days: the day of the Fiesta (October 18) and the days of the preparatory novena, the feast days of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the monthly covenant day (Third Sunday of each month). A partial indulgence is granted at each visit of the shrine under the usual conditions.
Burn with Love for Eucharist and
Mary, Pope Tells Marians
Pope John Paul has written a Message to members of the Congregation of Marians of the Immaculate Conception, known as the Marian Fathers, as they celebrate their General Chapter. Made public today, the Message is dated March 10 from Gemelli Hospital.
The Marians were founded in Poland in 1673 by Servant of God Stanislaus of Jesus Mary Papczynski who, says the Pope, "knew how to spread and courageously defend the truth of the Immaculate Conception even before it was proclaimed as a dogma of faith. Faithfully follow his example and propagate Marian devotion all around you."
"In this year especially dedicated to the mystery of the Eucharist," writes the Holy Father, "make this wonderful Sacrament even more the center of your personal and community life, placing yourselves docilely at the school of the Blessed Virgin, 'Eucharistic woman' ... If your heart burns with fervent love for the Eucharist and for Our Lady, the shrines you run in various parts of the world will be even more genuine 'cenacles' of prayer and welcome."
Noting the many "exemplary religious" who have been Marians, "often in difficult and risky situations," even to the point of giving their lives, the Pope asks the congregation "to intensify your apostolic drive, committing yourselves with renewed enthusiasm to the promotion of priestly and religious vocations and satisfactorily preparing those aspiring to your institute to be generous workers in the Lord's vineyard. May your pastoral collaboration with lay faithful grow, dedicating special attention to the young and to the needy, to the marginalized and the elderly. Be apostles and witnesses of Divine Mercy for everyone."
"'For Christ and the Church': May this continue to be the program of your religious family to whom I wish an abundant harvest of apostolic fruits."
MESS/GENERAL CHAPTER/MARIANS VIS 050314 (300)
"Day of the Unborn" and Feast of the Annunciation
Latin American nations are preparing to observe the "Day of the Unborn," some in the national realm, and others only in the ecclesial.
The initiative is observed on March 25, feast of the Annunciation, when the angel announced Jesus' conception and birth to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
El Salvador was the first country to decree this Day in 1993, naming it the "Day of the Right to Be Born." It was proclaimed by the legislative Assembly, thanks to the efforts of the pro-life movement.
For its part, in December 1998, Argentina declared March 25 the "Day of the Unborn." The Pope sent a message for that occasion, which was attended by representatives of Orthodox and Christian Churches, as well as Jewish and Muslim leaders. The participants invited Spain, Portugal, the Philippines, and other countries of Latin America to follow this initiative.
Theological Institute for Women
Reaches a Milestone
50th Anniversary of Regina Mundi
The Pontifical Institute Regina Mundi, which is dedicated exclusively to the theological formation of women, celebrated its 50th anniversary this month.
On March 3 the Rome-headquartered international center held a congress on "The Feminine Face of the Church," attended by more than 300 people.
The institute, connected with the Gregorian University, brings together women, especially religious, from 53 countries and 63 congregations.
It offers institutional courses in religious sciences, the training of formators, and a permanent formation program in English, French and Spanish. The rector is an alumna, Religious Sister of Mercy Clare McGovern.
In an address on the institution's history, the dean of the English section, Sister Sharon Holland, IHM, said: "The first decade of Regina Mundi was full of the enthusiasm and the challenges of such a new venture; it was truly international from the beginning."
The speaker commented on the words of the institute's first rector, Jesuit Father Paolo Dezza, who emphasized that "training religious in the sacred sciences raised the spiritual level of the entire community."
"Like our sisters who founded Regina Mundi 50 years ago, we do not see exactly where the future lies, but we have clarity on the necessity of theologically trained religious women everywhere in the world," added Sister Holland.
Dominican Sister Catherine Aubin gave a talk on the mission of consecrated women, saying that it consists in "manifesting to the world the consolation of God, of a God who never abandons his children, who accompanies his creature to the end to lead him to life."
The institute's 50th anniversary congress, which was held at the Patristic Institute Augustinianum, was presided over by Salesian Sister Enrica Rosanna, undersecretary of the Vatican Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
Envoys From Orthodox Lands Give Pope an Icon Peoples of the East are Praying for his Health, Says Diplomat Rome, March 2, 2005
Ambassadors from a half-dozen Orthodox-majority countries gave a hospitalized John Paul II the gift of an icon of Mary and expressed their hope for his rapid recovery.
Envoys from Cyprus, Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia-Montenegro, Romania and Greece gave the gift today.
ZENIT learned from diplomatic sources that Georgios Poulides, Cypriot ambassador to the Holy See, proposed the initiative. The icon, in fact, comes from that Mediterranean island.
After leaving the Gemelli Polyclinic, Bulgarian Ambassador Vladimir Gradev recalled on Vatican Radio that some of the Pope's first words after his tracheotomy were dedicated to the Virgin Mary: "Totus tuus" (All yours).
"Knowing his love of the Blessed Virgin, who is very venerated also in Orthodox countries, in the countries of Eastern Europe, we thought he would like this icon very much," Gradev said. "He will be able to pray, meditate and know that the peoples of the East are with him and are praying for his health."
"All our countries are concerned. We receive many messages from our governments every day, as well as from ordinary people, asking for news. They tell us that prayers are being offered in Orthodox Churches for the Holy Father's health," asserted Gradev.
Monsignor Tommaso Caputo, the Vatican's head of protocol, received the diplomats on the Pope's behalf.
The only ambassador of the Orthodox countries of Eastern Europe who was unable to attend was the Ukrainian, who was not notified in time, as he was not in Rome, diplomatic sources said.
Gradev said of the Pope: "We represent our people in this sincere wish for his complete recovery. The strength and courage shown by the Holy Father, also in this trial, are great examples for us all."
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.
A miracle or myth in sleepy town church
They're the stories that puzzle us for years, throwing up theories of divine intervention, extraordinary natural phenomena or, simply, larrikins playing a hoax. SHANE MAGUIRE reports on two of the State's great mysteries in the start of a new series. EVENTS which do not fall neatly into an area of logical thinking are easy to dismiss. So, at times, a touch of faith can be useful. Such is the case with one of South Australia's most intriguing mysteries--a baffling event which unfolded in the tourist hamlet of Yankalilla on the Fleurieu Peninsula.
Little stirred in the sleepy little rural town until 1996 when local Anglican priest, Father Andrew Notere told his congregation that, on the wall behind the altar of his church, an outline of the Virgin Mary holding the child Christ had appeared. Within months, the Shrine of Our Lady of Yankalilla was created and blessed, heralding the beginning of a chapter, which has tested the faith and patience of some locals.
At one point, the parish was divided with some accusing Fr Andrew of "cashing in" on what could be seen as a tourist attraction. Others stood firmly by the Canadian-born cleric. Regardless, the turmoil subsided and putting aside all earthly grumbles, there remains the one enduring question. Is the arrival/creation of the apparition and all the subsequent unexplained events, a sign from above?
The figure itself looks like an area of wall where the paint has bubbled or damp has started showing. The shape the distortion has taken, however, has many intrigued. Carefully viewed, the outline of what historically is perceived to be how the Virgin Mary would look is clear, as is the infant she appears to cradle.
The outline first was noticed by Susan Fehlberg, a parishioner from Victor Harbor visiting the 1857-built church in August, 1994. Not until December that year did she tell Fr Andrew what she saw. He told his Bishop. The apparition, however, was kept a secret for more than a year.
Since the revelation, Yankalilla has experienced a surge in pilgrims and tourists from all around the world visiting the Shrine of Our Lady. The town is being compared to Lourdes in France and Fatima in Portugal, places where Mary is said to have appeared. Within a couple of years, the church was visited by those seeking to be healed or have someone cured.
Miracle or not, the walls inside the church soon were covered by notes of thanks left by visitors. Each describes how someone had recovered from an illness after visiting the church. In 1999, the apparition changed; and St. Joseph had joined Mary and Jesus to look out over the congregation. Fr Andrew does not highlight or dismiss events at the church since the apparition appeared.
Others, such as retired physiotherapist Max Paige, have. Along with his family, he witnessed a vision of the Virgin Mary in the grounds of the church on Easter Monday, 2000. For no apparent reason, holiday snaps taken by visitors have shown images of a bearded man standing inside the church appearing to look out of one of the windows. The distinctly Jesus-like image showed up on several. "I feel even though I haven't seen Mary she is reaching out to me," Fr Andrew said. "When I celebrate Mass and I hold my hands up at the start of the Eucharist prayer I always get a noticeable heat, not a burning, but a bit like holding your hand over a candle. "With everything that happens here it remains a mystery to me; but I believe Our Lady has chosen this place to be the principle place for pilgrims in Australia."
Log on to the Virgin Mary
There are not many grottoes or deserted hillsides in suburban Chicago. So, when a few years ago, the Virgin Mary started appearing to Joseph Reinholtz, a retired railway employee, she departed from her usual modus operandi. Instead of standing at a distance, bathed in heavenly light, she accepted a lift in Reinholtz's car. She sat in the front; the back seat was taken by two angels. Mary had never been in a car before and her naive comments made Reinholtz laugh out loud.
Paolo Apolito, an Italian anthropologist, tells this story in The Internet and the Madonna, a study of the growth and democratisation of Marian apparitions in the last 25 years. There were about 300 visions of Mary worldwide between 1945 and 1980; from 1980 to 2000, there were 400. Perhaps more significantly, the vast majority of the new visionaries live in the United States, a country that--not coincidentally--contained 85 per cent of the world's web surfers during the 1990s.
In the past, even respectable Marian apparitions, such as those of Lourdes and Fatima, alarmed the Vatican--despite the fact that, in those cases, the Virgin upheld Catholic teaching. These days, apparitions are likely to provoke outright contempt from the Church, since in many cases the (alleged) Virgin cheerfully improvises doctrines, and takes an unseemly interest in the commercial side of her cult. ("Please have a stockpile of tapes available at my Florida site for immediate distribution," she implored a visionary in 1998.)
Apolito identifies two factors that have created this surge in apparitions. The first is the unprecedented popularity of Medjugorje, the Bosnian shrine where the Virgin started appearing to a group of teenage visionaries in the early 1980s. Medjugorje has been colonised by planeloads of Americans, who travel there to watch the visionaries receive their startlingly banal daily messages and then return to the States, carrying with them what Apolito calls an "epidemic" of visions and miracles, ranging from Marian messages (sometimes delivered in the nasal New Jersey tones of Carmela Soprano) to supernatural photographs of the Virgin that give off an actual heartbeat.
Orthodox devotees of Medjugorje would no doubt say that these are frivolous exploitations of the original phenomenon. In fact, the Bosnian visionaries only have themselves to blame, since several of them tour America authenticating freelance seers: it was thanks to the personal encouragement of a Medjugorje visionary, Vicka Ivankovic, that Reinholtz had his curious epiphany.
The other major factor is, of course, the internet, which not only publicises Marian apparitions, but enables believers to circulate evidence of supernatural happenings: according to Apolito, there has been an "incalculable increase" in videotaped miracles of the dancing sun, traditionally a sign of the Virgin's presence. In this milieu, the mark of authenticity is not a pronouncement from the Vatican but membership of a web ring of well-known seers who provide links to each other's sites. On the level playing field of the internet, to quote the Book of Joel, sons and daughters prophesy, old men dream dreams and young men see visions--and there is absolutely nothing anyone can do about it.
Like the Church authorities, the so-called "authentic" visionaries try to police doctrinal boundaries, but there are no firewalls to stop New Agers or even pornographers getting in on the act. "Virgin" is a dangerous word to enter into Google, and the faithful are easily led astray. Apolito records with relish that it took him just four clicks to move from Medjugorje to an "obscene videogame" featuring Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.
The transformation of stretches of cyberspace into a spiritual smorgasbord is testimony to both the enduring appeal of religious ideas and their declining influence in Western society; for the most salient characteristic of the Marian websites is that they function as entertainment. The continuous outpouring of "messages for humanity" reflects not so much a spiritual thirst as the 21st century's fear of boredom and repetition. The Catholic Church may dismiss them as the harmless excrescences of the fringe; but, as Apolito points out in this excellent book, one thing the internet does brilliantly is blur the distinction between the centre and the margins. In the long run, internet visionaries may do almost as much damage to the reputation of the Church as paedophile priests--who, come to think of it, have also embraced this new technology with enthusiasm. But that is another story.
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