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 May 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 May.
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 Presence.
We have updated Marian Shrines in the United States, May Hymns, and Hopkins' poem, May Magnificat. We have also posted our answers to the following reader questions: What is the History of the May Devotion?; What is the origin of the May Altar?; and Is "Mother of Jesus" a correct Marian title?
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:
We have had a link to "The Mary Page" from our English-language web site for several years. Congratulations on your web site. As I have said on ours, it is "the fullest and most important general site on Mary on the Web," a real antidote to much that is merely sentimental concerning Mary. I do like your new layout.
New Web Addresses for The Mary Page
In order to make our web site more accessible, The Mary Page may now be reached at the following URLs: marypage.org; themarypage.org; and themarypage.net. The original address on the University of Dayton site remains active as well.
Collaboration with CatholicWeb
An important Catholic web site, CatholicWeb.com, has added The Mary Page to their list of Media Partners. They will highlight particular items from The Mary Page in their section on Catholic News. Please visit their site in return. We expect continued collaboration with them in the future.
Symbols of Grace Booklet Available at The Marian Library
The ML/IMRI recently produced, Symbols of Grace, a pamphlet showing many emblems representing Mary's Immaculate Conception along with explanatory text for each. The emblems featured in this booklet were reproduced and restored by The Society for the Preservation of the Roman Catholic Heritage. Robin Smith designed the layout, while Fr. Johann Roten and Br. William Fackovec contributed the text. These booklets are available for $1.00 per copy in The Marian Library on the 7th floor of U.D.'s Roesch Library. For more information, call 937-229-4214.
Polish Madonnas in Art and Poetry
An exhibit of Marian paintings by renowned Polish artist, Wislawa Kwiatkowska, will be on display in the Marian Library Gallery on the 7th floor of Roesch Library until September 8 from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm weekdays (except holidays). A portion of the fifty paintings will also be display in the Gallery on the first floor of Roesch Library from 8am to 10 pm Monday-Thursday, 8am - 6 pm Friday, and 12-6 pm weekends (except holidays) through July 31. For further information, or to arrange a special visit during other times, call 937-229-4214. Click here for a virtual exhibit.
Creches and Straw Art are also on display in our museum.
Dr. Virginia M. Kimball, IMRI graduate, Vice-President of ESBVM-USA, and MSA President, will speak on "Theotokos, Bearer of Christ, Nurturer of His Church" on June 10 during the Annual Meeting of the Orthodox Theological Society in America. She will also present, "Hope in a Hurting World: The Assumption/Dormition of Mary, Eschatalogical Icon of God's Promise," on May 19 at the Annual Meeting of the Mariological Society of America. Also, on May 7, Dr. Kimball spoke on "The Eucharist and Mary" at the Annual Meeting of the Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary (USA).
The 56th Annual Meeting of The Mariological Society of America will be held at Marie Joseph Spiritual Center in Biddeford, Maine, 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.
Mary, Model of Justice (Wednesday, May 25 7:30-9:30 pm)Celebrate the Feast of Mary, Help of Christians, and explore the call of Mary's Magnificat and her model of discipleship for living justly at Bergamo's MEEC Center. Presenters will include Carol Ramey, Br. Don Geiger, and Sr. Leanne Jablonski. RSVP by May 23. Free will offerings accepted. For more information call 937-429-3582.
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!
The Meaning of 13
Many have pondered why Mary appeared on the 13th day of six consecutive months in 1917--a mystery renewed, first by the miraculously thwarted attempt on our holy Pontiff's life on May 13, 1981, and again now, by the death of the beloved apostle of her Immaculate Heart, Sr. Lucia, on February 13, 2005. Some have even seen this mysterious number as linking America to Our Lady (its great patroness under her title, "Immaculate Conception"), by such quirks as the number of our original colonies--13.
At least part of the answer is this: that the number 13 is a cryptic sign for Mary herself. The letter "M," often used in sacred art and symbology for Mary, is the 13th letter of the Hebrew, Roman and English alphabets. Mary's Fatima appearances began on the 13th of May, traditionally Mary's month (for its sweetness and the new life of springtime), and ended on the 13th of October, the Month of the Rosary (because of the Battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571, when Catholic forces defeated a more powerful Moslem armada through the power of the Rosary). We are especially consoled for our loss of Sr. Lucia, whose mission was Love, that she was called to Heaven on the 13th of February, renowned as the Month of Love, thanks to St. Valentine's feast-day on the 14th.
Benedict XVI Takes Possession of
Cathedra as Bishop of Rome
This evening, Benedict XVI presided at a Eucharistic celebration in the basilica of St. John Lateran, on the occasion of his taking possession of the Cathedra of the Bishop of Rome. Forty cardinals, members of the diocesan episcopal council, the canons of the Lateran Basilica and the council of pastor prefects concelebrated with the Holy Father.
At the beginning of the celebration, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general of the diocese of Rome, expressed the joy of the Church of Rome for her new pastor. The Pope then sat in his cathedra for the first time while the choir and congregation sang: "Joy, peace and life to you Benedict, bishop of Rome." After this, the Holy Father received expressions of "obedience" from a group of representatives of the Roman Church: Cardinal Ruini in his capacity as archpriest of the basilica of St. John Lateran; Archbishop Luigi Moretti, vicegerent of the diocese; two priests; a permanent deacon and a deacon preparing for the priesthood; a male and a female religious; a layman and a laywoman, and two young people who had received the rite of Confirmation.
At the beginning of his homily, the Holy Father spoke of the Ascension of the Lord, which in many places is celebrated this Sunday, saying that Christ, "thanks to His being with the Father, is close to each of us forever. Each of us can address Him as a friend, each of us can call on Him." Although "we can live with our backs turned to Him, He always awaits us, He is always close to us."
Benedict XVI emphasized that the Risen Christ "has need of witnesses who have met Him, of men and women who have known Him intimately through the power of the Holy Spirit. ... The successors to the Apostles--that is, the bishops--have the public responsibility to ensure that the network of this testimony endures over time. ... And in this network of witnesses, a special task falls to Peter's Successor."
The Pope "must be aware that he is a weak and fragile man," in constant need of "purification and conversion. Yet he may also be aware that from the Lord comes the strength to confirm his brothers and sisters in the faith, and to keep them united in confessing the Crucified and Risen Christ."
"The bishop of Rome sits in his cathedra to bear witness to Christ," said the Pope. "Thus the cathedra is the symbol of the 'potestas docendi,' that authority to teach which is an essential part of the mandate to bind and to loosen conferred by the Lord on Peter and, after him, on the Twelve." On this subject, the Pope affirmed that "where Holy Scripture is disjoined from the living voice of the Church, it falls prey to the disputes of experts."
"This authority to teach frightens many people, both within and outside the Church. They ask themselves whether it does not threaten freedom of belief, whether it is not a presumption that goes against freedom of thought. It is not so. ... The Pope is not an absolute sovereign whose thoughts and will are law. Quite the contrary, the ministry of the Pope is a guarantee of obedience to Christ and to His Word. He must not proclaim his own ideas, but constantly bind himself and the Church in obedience to God's Word in the face of all attempts to adapt that Word or to water it down, and in the face of all forms of opportunism."
Benedict XVI emphasized that this is what John Paul II did "when, in the face of all apparently benevolent attempts, in the face of erroneous interpretations of freedom, he unequivocally underlined the inviolability of the human being, the inviolability of human life from conception to natural death. The freedom to kill is not true freedom, but a tyranny that reduces human beings to slavery."
"The Pope is aware of being bound - in his important decisions - to the great community of the faith of all times, to the binding interpretations that have developed during the Church's pilgrim journey." He has the responsibility to ensure that the Word of God "continues to be present in its greatness and to sound forth in its purity, so that it is not dismembered by constant changes in fashion."
At the end of his homily, the Holy Father assured Romans: "Now I am your bishop. Thank you for your generosity! Thank you for your kindness! Thank you for your patience! As Catholics we are all, in some way, also Romans."
After Mass, the Pope traveled in an open car to the basilica of St. Mary Major to venerate the "Salus Populi Romani" icon of the Virgin Mary which is conserved in the Borghese Chapel. This act of veneration by a new Pope represents an unbroken tradition of supplication by the people of Rome to the Mother of Salvation.
BXVI-POSSESSION LATERAN BASILICA/.../... VIS 050509 (840)
Mass with the Martyrs
As one of the most imperative sites to visit on a tourist's list, the Colosseum is often the subject of a few photos and awe-inspired stares at its grandeur. Yet, last week I discovered a way for Catholics to make it more of a pilgrimage. At 3:30 p.m. each Saturday, one of the exit doors is opened for about 40 minutes to let in those interested in attending the 4 p.m. mass.
The only two magic words required for your entry are "La Messa?" Not only will this gain you access to the exquisite chapel, but also allow you to beat the queues and the cost ($12) of entering the structure itself.
When arriving at the tiny chapel itself, I was struck by the intricate art fresco depicting the Assumption of Our Blessed Mother which dominates the wall behind the altar.
On May 30, 1983, Cardinal Ugo Poletti consecrated it to Our Lady of Mercy as another plaque reads: "Mary, strength of martyrs, … welcome those who turn to your mercy." The inscription goes on to inform us that on April 20, just one year later, Pope John Paul II prayed his vespers in the chapel prior to participating in the Stations of the Cross procession on Good Friday in 1984.
Pope Points Faithful Toward Virgin of Fatima
Benedict XVI encouraged believers to turn with confidence to Mary, reminding them that on May 13 the Church celebrates the feast of the Virgin of Fatima.
At the end of today's general audience in St. Peter's square, attended by some 20,000 pilgrims, the Holy Father addressed a special message to "young people, the sick and newlyweds."
"Day after tomorrow, the liturgical memorial will be celebrated of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Fatima. Beloved, I exhort you to turn incessantly and with confidence to the Virgin, entrusting to her each one of your needs."
Shortly after, the Pope personally greeted the sick who had arrived in the Vatican in wheelchairs. He also greeted the children present, and gave one of them his autograph.
As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, when he was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Pope wrote the theological commentary regarding the publication of the third secret of Fatima, published June 26, 2000.
Pope Greets Mothers on Their Day
Benedict XVI sent a greeting to mothers during his address before praying the Regina Caeli.
"I bless and greet your parents and all your friends. My best wishes to all, in particular, to mothers," the Pope said today after delivering the address from the window of his study overlooking St. Peter's Square.
He also greeted some 2,000 students from schools of Rome and neighboring areas gathered in the square to hear the Holy Father and to participate in the 35th Spring Marathon "School Festival."
The young athletes launched the marathon with a choreographed display in the center of St. Peter's Square on the theme "Europe and Music." It concluded with balloons released into the air with prayer messages to Mary.
Documentary Recounts a Mother's
To commemorate the one-year anniversary of the canonization of St. Gianna Beretta Molla, Salt+Light Television has released her life story.
Entitled "Love is a Choice" is, the 52-minute documentary recounts the life of St. Gianna, and also includes exclusive excerpts from the canonization ceremony, interviews with her husband, children and friends, as well as letters and family mementos.
Pope John Paul II beatified Gianna in 1994, and canonized her a year ago, May 16, offering her as a model of virtue, holiness, motherhood, professionalism and devotion.
St. Gianna was a mother and a medical doctor. When faced with a difficult pregnancy which threatened her own life, she chose to continue with it to save the life of her child. She died during childbirth April 21, 1962.
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.
Holy War--Weeping Virgin Center
Claims Church Reprisal
VIETNAMESE Catholics say they are being persecuted and "bled to death" in a holy war raging in suburban Brisbane. The Vietnamese Catholic Community Centre at Inala has not celebrated Mass since the transfer of Vietnamese pastor Father Joseph Liem to the Sunshine Coast in January. The centre created controversy last year, claiming to have a statue of the Virgin Mary that wept blood. It attracted thousands of people from across the world and gathered an estimated $41,000 in donations.
The "miracle" was later found by a church inquiry to be the result of human intervention and the money raised was donated to needy African nations. Since then, community members say they have been "punished" by the church for their belief in the statue and because of their increasing power. The centre has more than 3000 followers and has raised "millions of dollars" for its community.
Tension peaked when followers hinted at going outside the church and holding their own Mass. The protest has prompted Brisbane Archbishop John Bathersby to threaten to remove the term "Catholic" from the centre. Also fuelling anger is the archbishop's failure to find a replacement for Father Liem. The centre has been placed under the direction of the neighbouring Catholic church, St Mark's, and its priest Father Vudinh Tuong--who is refusing to hold daily Vietnamese Masses.
Vietnamese Catholic Community representatives Denise Nguyen and Jenny Nguyen (no relation) said the community felt they were being persecuted for their belief in the weeping statue. "We thought it was a punishment the archbishop was giving us because he was unhappy with the weeping Mary," Denise said. "They can make us remove it, but we will still believe in it."
Jenny Nguyen said Father Tuong, whose signature is needed to pay the centre's bills, is refusing to sign anything and ignoring their pleas for help. She said the community believed Father Tuong's refusal to co-operate was a deliberate attempt to destabilise the centre. "He's letting the community fall apart and he is not wanting to help us," she said.
The community centre has not had a Mass since January and the number of members is dropping quickly. "The community is very depressed and messed up, everything is falling apart," Jenny Nguyen said. "It's as though there's no such thing as a Vietnamese community any more. "All the hardship and effort people have put into making this has been destroyed."
Denise said the centre was the heart of Brisbane's Vietnamese community. "If we do not celebrate Mass there is a fear the young people will turn their backs on religion and then how will our culture continue?" Father Tuong said Archbishop Bathersby had told him to hold Mass only at St Mark's, not in the centre 300m away. "St Mark's is the centre of the Catholic community here," he said. "There are four Vietnamese Masses a week for people to come to."
The parish newsletter lists Vietnamese Masses on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. But according to Jenny Nguyen, these masses also include sections in English, which is ostracising elderly Vietnamese who do not understand English. "For 30 years we have gone to church every day and now it has shrunk to one day a week and some of that Mass is in English," she said. "When people have said something to Father Tuong, he has told the elderly people to go and learn English.
The people are losing their faith, families are splitting up. "Slowly everything is falling apart and people have started to stop going to church. It's like a wall has been put up between St Mark's and the centre. We are losing our spirit." Auxiliary Bishop for Brisbane and Episcopal Vicar for Ethnic Communities, Joseph Oudeman, said the Catholic church was not punishing the community. "We are not trying to bleed them to death, we are not persecuting them," he said. The tense situation in Inala had never been seen before, Bishop Oudeman said. "People don't like change, but it is not as though we want change ... there is no other way."
He said the centre no longer had a chaplain due to a severe shortage of priests, a problem plaguing the western world. The archdiocese stretches from Coolangatta to Hervey Bay and has more than 100 parishes, including six with Vietnamese priests. But Bishop Oudeman said the church was unable to find one for Inala and was unsure if another Vietnamese chaplain would return to the centre. "We have to make do with what we have," he said. "'It's very sad that this had to happen and I can understand their reaction. "But I don't understand the extent to which they have taken the whole thing. "There are factions within and it's very hard to get to the bottom of it. "There is a section that is very determined to make the centre their own parish." Bishop Oudeman said there was no fault in Father Tuong's performance of his role of St Mark's parish priest and chaplain to the Vietnamese Catholic Community Centre. "Father Tuong is really in a dilemma and is trying the best way he can to cope, but it is very hard."
He said the Catholic church was unhappy with the community's protest, which included banners above the centre reading: "Please do not persecute us", "We do not accept Father Tuong" and "We ask for our religious freedom." Bishop Oudeman said: "This is an act of rebellion against the archbishop as the archbishop has appointed Father Tuong as the Parish priest and the chaplain. "The archbishop could, if they keep protesting, remove the term Catholic from them so it is no longer a Catholic centre. I can understand their anguish, but I don't want them to take an un-Christian and un-Catholic stance in this. "We will do everything possible to ensure peace."
Secrets of Fatima
IF you plan nothing else about a trip to the holy site of Fatima in Portugal, factor in the 13th day of any month from May to October. Some four million people tour Fatima each year, drawn by an appearance of the Virgin Mary.
It was reported 88 years ago by three shepherd children, Jacinta Marto, Francisco Marto and Lucia dos Santos. Visits by the late Pope John Paul II, and the death on February 13 this year of Sister Lucia dos Santos, the last surviving Fatima witness, have added to Fatima's allure.
To Fatima's followers, Sister Lucia's death on the 13th was more than the superstition of bad luck the number often conveys. Mary reportedly appeared six times, on the 13th of each month from May through to October 1917, wearing a brilliant white gown and holding a white rosary. Since then the legend of Fatima has spread. John Paul II visited Fatima three times and credited his survival from an assassination attempt in Rome on May 13, 1981, to Our Lady of Fatima's intercession. The late Pope chose May 13, 2000, to beatify the first two shepherd children, Francisco and Jacinta Marto.
On an off-season visit there may be no more than 150 people there for the noon rosary at the Chapel of Apparitions, built on the site of the appearances. The drawback is you miss the big picture: the massive candlelight services attended by thousands. If you are traveling in the off-season, check ahead on basilica hours if you want to see the structure with its 15 altars dedicated to the rosary, the tombs of Francisco and Jacinta, and an organ with 12,000 pipes.
But from May to October, you should be prepared for an enormous crowd. The devout come night and day and fill the plaza. Some travelers also visit the church and cemetery, the original burial site of Francisco and Jacinta, outside Fatima. In Aljustrel 3.2km away, the homes of the children, largely unchanged over the past 88 years, give a glimpse of what the tiny village must have been like to live in. Heading back toward Lisbon, is the village of Batalha. It is the site of the 14th-century Batalha Monastery, an enormous Gothic structure with stained-glass windows.
And I couldn't have dreamed a better end to the day than the village of Nazare. It sits high on a cliff overlooking the ocean, a perfect setting for photographs. We basked in the sun on a ledge at the end of town and watched the old women, who, folklore says, wear seven skirts at a time. Most tourists do a day trip from Lisbon, Portugal's capital. It costs $88 per person for an all-day bus excursion to Fatima, Batalha and Nazare. A four-day rail pass costs $189 through www.raileurope.com
Classical: Nicola Benedetti
The BBC Young Musician 2004 makes her South Bank debut with a virtuosic programme, celebrating the release of her first album.
Royal Festival Hall, London SE1 (08703 800 400) 15 May
Celebrating the female muse in music, from the Virgin Mary to Eleanor of Aquitaine, plus female composers, patrons and performers.
Various venues, York (01904 658338) 8 to 16 Jul
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