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 June.
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 Spirituality.
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.
Two important Catholic websites have added The Mary Page to their list of Media Partners. CatholicWeb.com highlights items from The Mary Page in their section on Catholic News. Catholic.net includes a Mary Channel on their navrbar with Mary Page articles. Please visit these site in return. We expect continued collaboration with them in the future.
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.
The Marian Library also offers Marian screensavers. You may buy one (on CD for Windows PCs) for $3.00 or two for $5.00.
The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute (ML/IMRI) has created three different Marian PC screensavers. The first is called "Symbols of Grace" and is a series of 11 classical emblems symbolizing the Immaculate Conception. The emblems evoke a sense of mystery, with scenes of people, angels, animals, and nature representing God's supreme gift of grace to Mary. Each emblem is accompanied by the Bible verse which inspired it.
The second is entitled "Visions of Grace" and is a collection of 13 different art pieces, ranging from 17th century Mexican to modern Chinese to classical European. Each piece is a unique artistic interpretation of The Immaculate Conception, and is accompanied by a Marian verse from the Bible.
The newest is Litany of Flowers: A Floral Tribute to our Lady, which includes twelve images by Wislawa Kwiatkowska from the book Madonny z Poezji Polskiej (Madonnas in Polish Poetry), published by the Diocesan Museum of Plock , Poland.
You may purchase these items at The Marian Library, which is located on the 7th floor of U.D.'s Roesch Library. The Marian Library is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, closed on holidays. 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.
International Marian Research Institute Course ScheduleIMRI courses for the Summer 2005 semester started on June 13! The course schedule through Fall 2005 is now available.
2005 Fatima Marian Conference and RetreatThe 101 Foundation is sponsoring a pilgrimage on the topic, Our Lady and the Reality of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory, from July 7 - July 14, 2005. The itinerary includes visits in Portugal to Santarem, Fatima and Nazare, and special feast day ceremonies on July 13. For more information call 908-689-8792.
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!
Welcome Jesus and Take Him to
At 8 p.m. yesterday, the traditional procession marking the end of the month of May took place from the Church of St. Stephen of the Abyssinians--located near the apse of the Vatican Basilica--to the Grotto of Lourdes in the Vatican Gardens. The ceremony was presided by Archbishop Angelo Comastri, vicar general of His Holiness for Vatican City State.
Benedict XVI arrived at the Grotto at 9 p.m., and before imparting his apostolic blessing delivered a brief address.
"In the special Year of the Eucharist through which we are currently living," the Pope said, "Mary helps us especially to discover" this great Sacrament. In today's feast we recall the visit by the Virgin to her cousin St. Elizabeth, an elderly woman "whom everyone considered sterile but who had, in fact, reached the sixth month of a pregnancy donated by God." Mary is carrying the recently-conceived Jesus in her womb, she "is a young girl, but she is not afraid because God is with her, He is within her."
The Holy Father affirmed how, "in a certain way, we can say that her journey was--and we are pleased to highlight this in the Year of the Eucharist--the first 'Eucharistic procession' of history. Living tabernacle of God-made-flesh, Mary is the Ark of the Covenant in whom the Lord has visited and redeemed His people. Jesus' presence fills her with the Holy Spirit."
After emphasizing how the Virgin's meeting with Elizabeth "finds expression in the canticle of the Magnificat," Benedict XVI asked: "is not this too the joy of the Church, that incessantly welcomes Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and carries Him to the world with the testimony of assiduous charity permeated by faith and hope? Yes, to welcome Christ and to take Him to others is the true joy of Christians! Dear brothers and sisters, let us carry on and imitate Mary, a deeply Eucharistic soul, and all our lives will become a Magnificat. Let this be the grace that, together this evening, we ask of the Most Holy Virgin at the close of the month of May."
AC/END MAY ROSARY/GROTTO LOURDES VIS 050601 (380)
In Bethlehem, Rosaries Are an
Christians in Bethlehem are pursuing an ambitious goal of making a rosary for everyone attending World Youth Day in Cologne this summer.
To help make the goal a reality, Aid to the Church in Need, the Germany-based international charity, has pledged more than 20,000 euros to ship tens of thousands of olive wood rosaries from Bethlehem to Cologne, where Catholic youth worldwide will gather in August with the Pope.
"The rosaries are being made by families in Bethlehem that are facing poverty because the tourists, on whom they depend for their livelihood, have all but vanished," the group said in a statement sent to Zenit on Wednesday.
"Pilgrimages have dwindled since unrest broke out in the West Bank, and even now that a semblance of peace has been restored, few tourists are venturing inside the Israel-built walls encasing towns and cities like Bethlehem," at added.
"All this spells disaster for the many families that have given over the entire ground floor of their homes to produce rosaries while they live in often deprived circumstances upstairs," reported Aid to the Church in Need.
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.
Fictionalized story of Nicaraguan
apparition is poetic, enticing
Bernardo and the Virgin By Silvio Sirias Northwestern University Press, $26.95
The Virgin Mary appeared to Bernardo Martíínez on May 8, 1980, in Cuapa, a small town in Nicaragua. This was an actual event. It occurred 10 months after the Sandinistas overthrew the Somoza dynasty, which had been in power for more than 50 years, and two years prior to the Contra War, known as the bloodiest conflict in the history of Nicaragua. Interestingly, too, this and four other visions experienced by Bernardo Martíínez were documented on the pages of the New York Times in author Stephen Kinzer's account of life in Nicaragua during the 1980s.
This war correspondent told the stories of the apparitions of la Virgen in Cuapa in a chapter that detailed the serious conflict between the Catholic Church and the Sandinista government. In "Bernardo and the Virgin," author Silvio Sirias likewise tells the "true" events of the apparitions, this time through fiction. He does so, he says, because he believes it to be the "best way to capture its many dramatic and magical dimensions."
Citing Joseph Campbell, he continues that "to try to render the miraculous events in a straightforward manner, narrating them as truth, will always lead a writer into bathos" or overdone sentimentalism. What Sirias had before him was the challenge to accurately describe the events in Cuapa while still being true to the transcendent quality of Bernardo's experience. He does so to great effect.
The story of Bernardo Martíínez is a story of a simple man with an unwavering faith. Yet somehow, he quietly played a role in some of the most critical conflicts of his country in that conflict of the 1980s. The novel starts at the beginning of that decade. It is 1980 just as the Sandinistas had seized power from Somoza's government. Bernardo was the sacristan or caretaker of the little church in Cuapa.
One evening as he is closing up the church he notices that the place remains illumined though he had already turned off the light. The light is coming from the statue of the Virgin Mary. A month later the Virgin appears to Bernardo. She asks him to share her message of peace with others. She instructs him to forget his money problems (He wanted to become a priest, but was too poor to attend the seminary) and to disregard his worry of others who might ridicule his claims of witnessing the apparition.
Bernardo's simplicity and his dogged faith in all that occurs to him are endearing qualities that make the character sympathetic. A little research on the "real" Bernardo Martíínez reveals that he was indeed a special man. The Virgin Mary's messages of peace become Bernardo's persistent hymn for the rest of his country. The novel's political backdrop spurs the action of the story.
Nicaraguans discover that life is not improved under the Sandinistas. The disappointment of the Nicaraguans was crushing. All of this makes Bernardo's faith and the apparition far more meaningful. The darkness and the violence of the counter-revolution and other elements of war are illumined by the apparition and by Bernardo's unflagging faith. This is a sweeping novel. It tells numerous delightful and emotional stories involving other appealing characters in Bernardo's world.
The story of the humble sacristan, Bernardo, is by far the richest and most engaging. He had been a child full of devotion when he is denied entry to the priesthood because he is nearly destitute. And yet he remains faithful enough to see the Virgin Mary and follow the emotional messages she imparts to him. The details of Bernardo's Nicaragua are wholly entertaining and enticing, with images of Catholic mysticism juxtaposed against the particulars of life in the dusty village of Cuapa. Sirias' prose is lovely.
Bernardo Martíínez eventually did join the priesthood. He died on Oct. 30, 2002, and is buried in the old church of Cuapa where the image of la Virgen first illuminated him. The fictionalized account of his life, for all the liberties and poetic license taken by Sirias, still manages to convey the most important elements of this man, born into a desperate situation, a war-torn country, a faithless world. Bernardo believed in the words of the Virgin that day a quarter of a century ago. The message of peace survives in those who know and believe the true story of the apparitions in Cuapa.
Nazi-saluting Pope infuriates Catholics
A Catholic media monitoring group is furious over an animated cartoon that depicts Pope Benedict XVI giving a statue of the Virgin Mary a Nazi salute and muttering "Heil Mary!" in a slight German accent. The cartoon, a shot at the Pope's past as a member of the Hitler Youth, appears on the left-of-centre website rabble.ca, published by prominent Canadian feminist writer Judy Rebick.
"We don't think any group should be ridiculed in this way," said Joanne McGarry, executive director of the 5,000-member Catholic Civil Rights League. The cartoon, by Toronto artist Mike Constable, is anti-Catholic and insulting, she said. "It's a slam to Catholicism and the Pope."
But social crusader Rebick argues that the cartoon, titled A Creature of Habits, is funny. "Canada has a long history of satire. Sometimes very biting satire," she said. "He's our artist. He has complete artistic freedom to do whatever he wants to do." There have been no complaints, aside from the one from the Catholic Civil Rights League, said Ms. Rebick.
Mr. Constable's "Animation on the Edge" feature has been published on rabble.ca every two weeks for the past four years. The popular website gets about 300,000 visitors every month, she said. Ms. Rebick is probably best known for heading the National Action Committee on the Status of Women in the early 1990s. She has written several books, including Imagine Democracy and most recently Ten Thousand Roses: The Making of a Feminist Revolution, and currently serves as the Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy at Ryerson University.
Mr. Constable said he has received only one negative e-mail about the cartoon, and the writer planned to pray for the artist. He hasn't had any other response. "Certainly, one person praying for me is enough," said Mr. Constable, who published an animated cartoon last year titled Mel Brooks' The Passion, which satirized the Mel Gibson film. The cartoon showed the Jewish comedian as the Christ figure with the crown of thorns spinning around his head. "No one was offended. Maybe Mel Brooks should have been offended," said Mr. Constable.
The current cartoon is a reference to the Pope's past. As a 14-year-old, he was drafted "against his will" into the Hitler Youth in 1941, according to his memoirs. He served in the army from 1943 to 1945. He was never a member of the Nazi party. Last week, in a major address, the Pope condemned "the genocide of the Jews."
Ms. Rebick said the purpose of Mr. Constable's cartoons is to make people uncomfortable. "If he annoyed people, then he was successful." Ms. McGarry said she doesn't think it's her role to tell publishers what to print and what not to print. However, she argues that rabble.ca is getting federal funding through a circuitous route. The website is an independent project of Alternatives, a Montreal-based non-governmental organization funded by the Canadian International Development Agency, said Ms. McGarry. One World Canada, also a project of Alternatives, is a partner of rabble.ca.
"A circuitous route, to be sure, but it would appear that at least some taxpayers' money is supporting this publication and hence this cartoon. Of further interest is that One World's own guidelines state that it does not allow partners to engage in religious intolerance," she said in an open letter to Aileen Carroll, minister of international co-operation "It's not a huge amount. But 50 cents would be too much," said Ms. McGarry yesterday.
But Ms. Rebick said rabble.ca was incorporated as a non-profit organization several months ago, and it never received CIDA funding. It raises money for its operations through fundraising from readers and partners such as unions and non-governmental organizations.
Rabble.ca has been contracted by Alternatives to provide copy for Oneworld.ca, a portal to non-governmental organizations. "It's not public funding. We're hired by Alternatives to do a job," she said. Both the cartoon and the funding issue has stirred up lively discussion on the rabble.ca online forum, where many readers are critical of the Catholic church and its stance on same-sex marriage and other issues, as well as tax breaks for the church. Ms. Rebick agrees. "I object to the Catholic church's position on homophobia," she said.
Cornwall bishop cuts ties with Sons
of Mary priests: Leader claims to be reincarnation of Virgin Mary
Paul-Andre Durocher, bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall, has ended his diocese's contracts with the Sons of Mary, priests who follow an 84-year-old woman who claims to be a reincarnation of the Virgin Mary. They sent him a letter last Saturday, refusing his request to reject the movement's teachings, which have long been condemned by the Vatican and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Rev. Eric Robichaud, the parish priest of St. Martin de Tours, in Glen Robinson, and St. Paul, in Dalkeith, was the only Son of Mary to respond positively to the bishop, and will be incardinated as a parish priest in the diocese. The contracts of Rev. Daniel Gauthier, and Rev. Gilles Devaux have been ended, and Bishop Durocher said he will soon announce new parish priests for their former parishes of St.-Felix-de Valois, St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Alexander.
The Army of Mary claims 25,000 followers in the United States, France, Austria, Italy and other countries, as well as priests and celibate women known as the Daughters of Mary. Marc Cardinal Ouellet, the archbishop of Quebec City, where the Army of Mary is based, released a pastoral letter on April 4, calling on the Sons of Mary and other followers of Marie-Paule Giguere to stop spreading her claims.
In a telephone interview, Cardinal Ouellet said since he left his position in Rome as second-in-command of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity to become archbishop of Quebec and the primate of Canada, he has tried, without success, to open a dialogue with the Army of Mary and the priests affiliated with it as the Sons of Mary. Ms. Giguere has also refused to meet with him. In his pastoral letter, the cardinal warned the faithful not to be misled by claims in the Army of Mary newspaper that suggest Ms. Giguere is the historical mother of Jesus Christ and will stand side by side with him in the Kingdom of the Spirit as an equal, "the Redeemer and the Co-Redeemer of all humankind."
Ms. Giguere founded the movement in 1971. Four years later, Maurice Cardinal Roy, then archbishop of Quebec, declared it a "pious association." However, the church has been battling with Ms. Giguere ever since. In 1987, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and now Pope Benedict XVI, said two books that had been circulated by the Army of Mary contained "gravely erroneous doctrines." He authorized Cardinal Roy's successor, Louis-Albert Cardinal Vachon, to take necessary action and banned the Army of Mary from Quebec parishes.
In his pastoral letter to his archdiocese, Cardinal Ouellet wrote that the Army has taken no notice of warnings and continues to circulate doctrines that "cannot claim to be faithful to the Catholic revelation. They are absolutely alien to the Bible, the teachings of the popes and Vatican II; they are not supported by the official catechism of the Catholic Church." The spreading of such doctrines harms the unity of the church, said Cardinal Ouellet.
Halifax's Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, named by pope John Paul II to work with the Sons of Mary as his pontifical commissioner, has written to the priests who follow Ms. Giguere. He said the contents are private and the Sons of Mary are good priests who have served well in the dioceses of Alexandria-Cornwall and Antigonish, N.S.; and it will take time to work through differences between the church and the movement. In 2001, the Catholic bishops of Canada urged members of the Army of Mary, the lay followers of Ms. Giguere, to quit publishing materials and end prayer meetings and liturgical celebrations. Sylvie Payeur-Reynauld, spokeswoman for the Army, told the Montreal Gazette the cardinal's message was "biased and not well-founded."
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