"Dark and Beautiful," an exhibit of paintings by Father Jim Hasse, S.J.,
will be on display at The Marian Library Gallery from February 1 - March 20,
2006. Click here to view the
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Defending Life an Act of Love, says Benedict XVI
Speaks on Pro-Life Day in Italy
Vatican City, February 5, 2006
Benedict XVI at the conclusion of his Angelus address: "The Virgin Mary received with
perfect love the word of life, Jesus Christ, who came into the world so that
men "may have life, and have it abundantly" (John 10:10). We commend to her
women who are expecting a child, families, health agents and volunteers
committed in different ways in the service of life."
Pope Pays Tribute to Women's Evangelizing Work
Benedict XVI Visits Vatican Parish
Vatican City, February 5, 2006
Benedict XIV paid tribute to the often hidden work of evangelization undertaken by millions of women, when he
visited the Vatican parish of St. Anne.
The Pope celebrated Mass in the parish this morning, and during the homily he commented on the painting over the
church's altar, which depicts St. Anne explaining the Scriptures to her daughter, the Virgin Mary.
"Women are also the first bearers of the Gospel's Word of God; they are authentic evangelists," he
explained in reference to the work carried out by so many mothers, grandmothers
and women committed to various professions or to service in parish communities.
The Bishop of Rome took advantage of the opportunity to express "a profound thank
you to all women ... who always help us to know the Word of God again, not only
with the intelligence but also with the heart."
Pope Grants Indulgences on World
Day of Sick
Day Dedicated to Mentally Ill
Vatican City, February 3, 2005
Benedict XVI is offering the faithful a plenary indulgence on the World Day of the Sick, Feb. 11, the feast
of Our Lady of Lourdes.
The indulgence was announced in a decree published in Latin today, and signed by Cardinal James Stafford, major
penitentiary. This year's main celebration of the World Day is to take place at the Cathedral of St. Francis Xavier in
In his message written for the occasion, the Pope said that this year the World Day of the Sick will be
dedicated in particular to the mentally ill.
The document grants a plenary indulgence to baptized persons who, "according to the prescribed conditions
(sacramental confession, Eucharistic Communion and prayer in keeping with the
intentions of the Supreme Pontiff), with the soul completely removed from
attachment to any form of sin, participate devoutly next Feb. 11 in the
Cathedral of Adelaide or in any other place established by the ecclesiastical
authority in a sacred ceremony celebrated to implore God for the ends of the
World Day of the Sick."
Individuals who cannot take part in these celebrations because they are looking after the sick, "especially
of those whose mental disorder calls for greater patience, diligence and care
and, due to their service cannot participate in the ceremony indicated earlier,
will obtain the same gift of the plenary indulgence, if on that day they
generously give at least for an hour their charitable assistance to the sick as
if they did it to the Lord Christ himself (cf. Matthew 25:40)."
Finally, the plenary indulgence may be obtained by those faithful who because of sickness, advanced age or any
reason of this sort cannot take part in the ceremony, so long as "they unite
themselves spiritually with desire in the mentioned celebration, pray devoutly
for all the sick and offer God, through the Virgin Mary, 'health of the sick,'
their physical and spiritual sufferings."
Moreover, the decree grants a partial indulgence "to all the faithful, from Feb. 9-11, each time that, with a
contrite heart, they address devout prayers to the merciful God to implore the mentioned ends of help for the sick."
Benedict XVI granted a plenary indulgence for World Youth Day last Aug. 21, and the 40th
anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Council, Dec. 8.
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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.
Bound By Tradition
[Source: Sacramento Bee (California), February 6, 2005]
They were not all from Mexico. They were not all from the same church, or
even the same religion.
But it was a powerful bond nonetheless that brought more than 1,000 Mexican
immigrants and U.S.-born descendants together Sunday in Sacramento: a commitment
In the name of tradicion, they created a half-mile-long procession that
paraded through downtown to honor el Dia de la Candelaria, or Candlemas--a
feast day commemorating Jesus' presentation in the temple in Jerusalem and the
Virgin Mary's purification after childbirth.
"I don't want the tradition to fade," 31-year-old Erica Lopez said in Spanish
through a translator. The Sacramento resident brought her four children, one of
whom rode on a float in costume. "I want to maintain the tradition for my
The procession began just after noon in front of Santuario Nacional de
Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, a Roman Catholic church at T and 7th streets
that serves a congregation of mostly Mexican immigrants and their children.
And though many participants were Catholic, organizers said the procession was
about more than religion. It was about preserving a cultural celebration that
evokes passion and fervor in Mexico but gets little attention in the United
The event drew people young and old from as far away as Los Angeles and Fresno.
They walked; they rode in strollers, on scooters and in wheelchairs.
"If you don't (celebrate it), the tradition is going to die," said Gabriel
Ramirez, a 37-year-old Sacramento resident whose parents moved from Mexico more
than 40 years ago.
The procession included three flatbed trucks, one of which carried a banner of
Our Lady of Guadalupe, and another that carried children dressed as angels and a
statue of la Virgen de San Juan de los Lagos--another manifestation of
the Virgin Mary.
On el Dia de la Candelaria--traditionally celebrated Feb. 2--organizers
said, many Catholics venerate the Virgin Mary for the blessings she has given
"If she does a milagro (miracle) for you, you promise to do a manda,"
or pay your respects, Ramirez said.
After gathering at Santuario Nacional, the celebrants wound through
the streets of downtown Sacramento, drawing the attention of passers-by who
gathered at street corners and in front of businesses to watch.
A priest led the participants in song and in prayer, punctuating the mostly
solemn procession with jubilant cheers.
"Viva la Virgen de San Juan de los Lagos!"
"Viva Mexico! Viva los Estados Unidos!"
At the end of the nearly two-mile march, some celebrants went inside the T
Street church for a Mass dedicated to la Virgen de San Juan de los Lagos,
while others watched heavily decorated horses clop merrily to the sounds of a
tamboraso--a mariachi band with drums.
Sandra Delgadillo, a 28-year-old Sacramento resident, said celebrations like
Sunday's bring the Mexican community together, though they are far from Mexico.
"It's exciting to know it can happen here, also, in the United States," she
Though 42-year-old Jorge Fernandez was born in the United States like many of
the youngest participants, he said he wants the children "to learn were they
He also hoped the greater Sacramento community would benefit from the festival,
which he called a "sharing" of cultures.
Jakarta Watching 'Archangel' Cult
[Source: The Straits Times (Singapore), February 6, 2005]
Indonesian and Malaysian authorities are keeping a close watch on the
bald-headed followers of a cult leader who claims that she is the Virgin Mary
and the Archangel Gabriel, after her latest warnings of divine retribution for
Lia Aminuddin, 58, founder of the Jakarta-based cult known as Tahta Suci
Kerajaan Tuhan Eden, or God's Kingdom of Eden, was arrested by Indonesian police
on Dec 29, following complaints by Muslim activists who were angered by her
teachings and the aggressive missionary work of her followers.
'She is accused of defaming a recognized religion and instigating her followers
against others,' said Jakarta police investigator Chaerul Nur Alamsyah.
While in police custody, the woman sent a letter to President Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono on Jan 12, saying Indonesia would face the wrath of God if the
Indonesian leader did not pledge allegiance to her.
'You will incur the wrath of God if you ignore this letter. Volcanic mountains
will erupt. More disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, floods and thunderstorms
will hit this country,' said the letter, which was made available to The Straits
Lia, who was born in Surabaya in 1947, became known in 1990s as the presenter of
a floral arrangement program on TVRI.
She is married to Aminuddin Day--an engineering lecturer at the University of
Indonesia who is also one of her staunch followers--and has four children.
In 1997, the once tudung-clad housewife claimed to be the Archangel Gabriel and
said God had told her to start the religious movement.
Several hundred professionals, cultural activists and students of Islamic
universities joined her. Lia commanded them to dress in white. The men wore
two-piece clothing, like Muslim pilgrims in Mecca; the women wore loose white
dresses and white headgear. At some rituals, they shaved their heads, like
Buddhist monks and nuns.
But since a fatwa by the Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI), which declared
the movement deviant in 1997, the group's numbers have dwindled to about 50.
An attempt to recruit new members apparently triggered the raid on their
headquarters in December last year.
Said MUI's fatwa chairman, Mr Kiayi Haji Ma'ruf Amin: 'We want to rehabilitate
them and bring them back to the right path.'
Police rounded up about 40 of Lia's followers but released them last month after
But Lia, who is still in police custody, faces two years' imprisonment for
defaming Islam and another five years for criminal instigation if found guilty.
It is not known whether any Malaysians have joined the cult but its teachings
are similar to those of cult leader Ayah Pin's Sky Kingdom, whose headquarters
in Terengganu were brought down by the authorities there last year.
Among other things, Ayah Pin claims to be an incarnation of God and the giant
teapot at his headquarters was said to have curative powers.
A spokesman for the Selangor Religious Affairs Department (Jais) said: 'Jais is
taking a proactive approach, because we have received complaints of the
existence of a number of cults brought in from neighboring countries.'
Cult leader's bizarre claims
Lia Aminuddin, 58, founder of the Jakarta-based cult known as Tahta Suci
Kerajaan Tuhan Eden, or God's Kingdom of Eden, claims she is the Virgin Mary and
that her son is Jesus Christ.
She says Indonesia will incur the wrath of God if its leader does not pledge
allegiance to her. In a letter to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, she
claimed that 'volcanic mountains will erupt. More disasters like earthquakes,
tsunamis, floods and thunderstorms will hit this country'.
In 1997, she claimed to be the Archangel Gabriel and said God had told her to
start her religious movement.
From Miracle to Mystery
[Source: Sacramento Bee (California), January 28, 2006]
The Virgin Mary is no longer weeping.
The mysterious stains that some believed were tears of blood on a statue of the
Virgin Mary at a Rancho Cordova church were washed away by storms.
The marks on the left cheek are gone and so are the crowds. The only sign that
anything unusual happened at the Vietnamese Catholic Martyrs Church are the
three dozen flowers, the assortment of candles and the brown folding chairs
placed in front of the statue.
"It disappeared as quickly as it appeared," says the Rev. Jude Ban Nguyen,
pastor of the church on the outskirts of Sacramento.
The so-called tears of blood, which first appeared Nov. 9, attracted worldwide
attention. Media from as far away as London and Ho Chi Minh City called
the church. Believers posted what they thought the tears meant on Catholic Web
sites. Worshippers from all over came to pray and sing in front of the statue.
After the streaks appeared, a priest wiped them away. When it reappeared on Nov.
20, believers saw it as a sign from above. Nguyen says the streaks disappeared
with the New Year's rains.
The marks may be gone, but questions about what exactly happened to the statue
"I don't know if it was God, or man-made," said Nguyen, of the marks on the face
of the statue. "I don't know."
The Catholic Diocese of Sacramento did not investigate the stain.
Nguyen does not know if it was a hoax, but he denies rumors that the church made
money from the publicity.
"It's not true. ... We have a sign in the parking lot that says, 'Don't take any
donations,' " he says.
A church in Australia last year was investigated after allegations of fraud
following reports of a weeping statue. No wrongdoing by the church was found,
but the investigation noted that the church saw a jump of $41,000 in donations
and sales of religious items.
"We saw no increase here," said Nguyen of Vietnamese Catholic Martyrs Church.
About two dozen worshippers still visit the humble church on Jackson Road daily,
some coming as soon as the gate to the parking lot opens in the morning. Some
come before work, others on their lunch breaks. They quietly take their seats
facing the white statue. Several say they keep coming back because "it feels
Dave Brown of Elk Grove has visited the site several times over the past two
"I believe that she has given us a message," says Brown, who also visited the
shrine at Lourdes, France, last summer. "To me, it's a miracle."
Brown knows there are skeptics. "I've had people laugh at me or criticize me,"
he says. "But that's OK; that doesn't affect my faith."
He adds that the visitors are not praying to the statue, but rather what it
To some such as Brown, the disappearance of the stain doesn't change the belief
that something miraculous happened.
"It doesn't matter to me at all," says John Gullett, who traveled from Stockton
with his wife, Amanda, to see the statue this week. The couple have a statue of
the Virgin Mary in their backyard. They said they were too busy during the
holidays to visit the church sooner but are not disappointed that the streaks
"I cried yesterday and my tears may be gone now," Gullett says. "That doesn't
mean I didn't cry."
His wife agrees, adding that's why people make pilgrimages to places such as
Fatima, Portugal, every year. "We didn't have to see it to know that it
happened," says Amanda Gullett. "That's faith."
Shirley DeFazio of the Rosemont area has visited the small church several times.
"I'm waiting for her to send us another sign," DeFazio says.
Others have their doubts about the streaks.
"I think kids did it," says Tim Phan, a member of the church. Phan took several
photos of the statue with the stains, "and it didn't look real."
But he adds that he has been inspired by the faith of the people who believe.
"It's real for them."
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