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 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 April.

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New Resources

A section on international stamps with images of Mary has been added to our About Mary page.  The latest addition was Meditating on the Passion of Our Lord With Stamps.  Expect more countries to follow.

A section on Mary and Inter-religious Dialog has also been added to our About Mary page.  The latest addition was Mary and Native African Religions.  Expect more sections to follow.

We have updated our material on The Hail Mary in Various Languages and also posted a Marian poem by Longfellow.

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  News from the Marian Library

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:

Thank you so much for all the effort and time you have put into writing to me. Much, much appreciated. It really means a lot to me ... The information you provided will help me visualize the protection that I seek.

Caroline [Sydney, Australia]

New Exhibit!

UD’s Marian Library presents The Passion in Wood and Straw from April 1 - May 12, 2006.

Crosses carved from wood in the Lithuanian folk art tradition and images of Christ "painted" with appliquéd straw in Polish folk art style are on exhibit through May 12 in the Marian Library Gallery on the University of Dayton campus.

Traditional Lithuanian designs and symbols are incorporated in the crosses crafted by Daytonian George Mikalauskas, who has been working with wood for more than 50 years. His early crosses were created for wayside shrines, many of them in Lithuania.

Now his crosses represent themes of hope, love, peace and forgiveness. Two of them recall his visits to the cities of Neringa and Palenga on the Baltic Sea.

Mikalauskas’ crosses of oak, walnut, butternut, cherry, coffee wood and linden wood are intended for home use and some of them will be available for purchase.

Pieces of straw and a razor blade take the place of paint and brush inthe hands of Marian Paskowicz, of Norristown, Pennsylvania, who began creating straw art at the age of sixteen. Using paintings of famous artists as his guides, Paskowicz has created scenes of the Crucifixion, the Flagellation of Christ and the Pieta in addition to images of the Madonna and Child.

"Many persons in Poland do straw painting," says the artist, who came to this country in 1960, "but in the U.S. it is rare only because artistic persons never have been exposed to it and never have thought of straw as a real or true art medium."

The exhibit includes 45 carved wooden crosses and 17 straw paintings.  Click here to view the virtual exhibit.

Admission is free and the gallery is open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Special arrangements for other times can be made by calling 229-4254. 

Creches are also on display in our museum.  Patrons with RealPlayer may also view a streaming video showing the sets which were on display during the 2005 Christmas season.

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Koehler Award Recipients Honored

Awards honoring the memories of Marianists who were influential in establishing the University of Dayton's libraries [Francis Ruhlman, Walter Klick, and Theodore Koehler] were recently presented to students in a ceremony in Roesch Library.

Two students received the Koehler International Student Award, which provides funds to help international students buy textbooks.  This year's awards went to Abhishek Bichal, a graduate student in Aerospace Engineering; and Cecilia Amelia Permana, a senior majoring in Chemical Engineering.

Established by the library's Professor Susan L. Tsui  in 1996, the award is named for Father Theodore A. Koehler, S.M., the French Marianist who headed The Marian Library from 1969 to 1986.  Koehler founded the International Marian Research Institute and directed it from 1974 through 1986.  As Director Emeritus of ML/IMRI, he continued an active life of scholarship--as a researcher, editor and teacher--until shortly before his death on May 15, 2001.

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MSA Conference

The 57th Annual Meeting of The Mariological Society of America will be held at Weber Center in Adrian, Michigan, May 16-19, 2006.  This year's theme is Theotokos: Mother of All People.  The program is as follows:

TUESDAY, May 16, 2006

1:30 p.m. Meeting of the Administrative Council


5:00 p.m. Dinner
7:30 p.m. "The Divine Motherhood: Recent Studies"
Father Christopher O'Donnell, O.Carm. Terenure College, Dublin, Ireland
Moderator: Dr. Virginia Kimball

WEDNESDAY, May 17, 2006


7:15 a.m. Morning Prayer and Eucharist
7:30 a.m. Breakfast
8:45 a.m. Registration
9:00 a.m. Welcome, Announcements

9:15 a.m. "The Divine Maternity in Scripture and Tradition"
Father Thomas Buffer, S.T.D. Pontifical College Josephinum
Moderator: Father John Phalen, C.S.C.

10:45 a.m. "Virgin Mother of Christ--Mary, the Church, the Faithful Soul"
Dr. Deyanira Flores Montes de Oca, Costa Rica
Moderator: Father Frank Leo


12:00 p.m. Lunch

1:30 p.m. "Mythological Readings of Mary's Motherhood"
Dr. Catherine O'Brien Kingstown University, U.K.
Moderator: Sister Jean Frisk

3:00 p.m. "The Black Madonna: History and Contemporary Interpretations"
Michael Duricy S.T.L. and Vincenzina Krymow Dayton, Ohio

5:00 p.m. Dinner

7:30 p.m. "Survey of Recent Mariology, 2006"
Father Eamon R. Carroll, O.Carm. Nokomis, Florida

"Works in Progress" (TBA)

9:00 p.m. Marian Devotion/Evening Prayer

Thursday, May 18, 2006


7:15 a.m. Morning Prayer and Eucharist (followed by breakfast)

9:30 a.m. "Benedict XVI's Mariology and the Ecclesiotypical Tradition"
Father Johann G. Roten, S.M. Dayton, Ohio
Moderator: Father Thomas A. Thompson, S.M.

10:45 a.m. "Mother of the Church: An Examination of the 1964 Declaration"
Gloria Dodd Fort Wayne, Indiana
Moderator: Father Francois Rossier, S.M.


12:00 p.m. Lunch

1:3 p.m. "Motherhood Today and the Motherhood of Mary"
Dr. Virginia Kimball MSA President, Merrimack College
Moderator: Sister Mary Catherine Nolan, O.P.

2:45 p.m. Business Meeting and Elections


5:00 p.m. Dinner
Festive reception and Presentation of MSA Awards

8:30 p.m. Marian Devotion/Evening Prayer

Friday, May 19, 2006


7:15 a.m. Morning Prayer and Eucharist (followed by Breakfast)

Note: Some attendees may wish to spend this "free" morning enjoying the Weber Center grounds or visiting various local sites

1:00 p.m. Departure from Weber Center

General Information

Attendance open to all. You need not be a member to register.

For attendees residing at the Weber Center:
MSA Registration Fee (3-day pkg.) $30.00

Room and Board Package:
Lodging and 9 meals--Wed. Dinner (5-6 p.m.) to Friday Lunch (11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.)

Single w/priv. bath ($60 per day) $180.00
Double w/priv. bath ($40 per day each) $120

For Commuters:
MSA Registration: $10.00 a day

Lunch $6.50
Dinner $8.50

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 or money order payable to the Mariological Society of America. Note: No refunds possible after May 12, 2006

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Additional 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:;;;;; and  The original address on the University of Dayton site,, remains active as well.

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Web Collaborators

Two important Catholic websites have added The Mary Page to their list of Media Partners. highlights items from The Mary Page in their section on Catholic News. includes a Mary Channel on their navbar with Mary Page articles. Please visit these site in return.  We expect continued collaboration with them in the future.

Also, the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) has added the Gallery section of The Mary Page to the Exhibits section of their on-line museum, the Plethoreum.

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International Marian Research Institute Course Schedule

IMRI courses for the Spring 2006 semester concluded on March 24.  The course schedule for the Summer semester is now available!

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ESBVM-USA Spring Meeting: A Concert of Marian Music Representing Different Faith Traditions

The ESBVM-USA will host a unique program on May 13, 2006 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 400 Michigan Avenue NE, in Washington, D.C., from 4:00 to 5:10 pm.  Everyone is welcome. The program is free.  The concert will be held in the Crypt Church.  Choral presentations will be presented by selected members of the Shrine Choir.

ESBVM-USA hopes you will come and bring friends and members from your academic institution or church community.  The Basilica can be reached by Metro (subway) at the Brookland-Catholic University Station, on the Red Line.  For more information, click into

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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Flame From John Paul II's Tomb Going to Poland
"Lolek's Torch" to Mark Anniversary of His Death
Vatican City, March 29, 2006

"Lolek's torch," a reference to a nickname of Karol Wojtyla used by relatives and friends, was lit Tuesday from the candle next to the Polish Pope's tomb beneath the main level of St. Peter's Basilica. The athletes will go to cities that were symbolic for John Paul II's life, such as Assisi, the shrines of Loreto and Czestochowa, and his birthplace, Wadowice.

Women Theologians Gather for Congress
Rome, March 29, 2006

The first international congress in Rome on "Women Theologians, in What Sort of Europe?" opens this week. Meetings will be held Thursday in the Hall of the Council of the Province of Rome, on Friday in the Faculty Marianum, and on Saturday in the Julius Caesar Hall of the Capitol. About 150 women theologians from 20 European countries and various Christian traditions, as well as Jewish and Muslim representatives, will participate.

Pope to Join Rosary in Honor of John Paul II
Vatican City, March 28, 2006

Benedict XVI will join the rosary that will be prayed in St. Peter's Square this Sunday night to commemorate the last moments of Pope John Paul II's life. The Polish Pontiff died at 9:37 p.m. on April 2, 2005. Some 60,000 people had gathered in the square that night to pray the rosary for the dying Pope ...

Beginning at 8:30 p.m., the choir of the Diocese of Rome, directed by Monsignor Marco Frisina, will accompany the prayer with Marian songs and the reading of texts of Karol Wojtyla, according to a communiqué issued today by the Vicariate of Rome. "At 9 p.m., the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, will appear at the window of his study and the holy rosary will be prayed," it added. During the prayer, passages will be read taken from John Paul II's apostolic letter "Rosarium Virginis Mariae" and other of his magisterial texts. Around 9:37 p.m., the time of John Paul II's death, Benedict XVI will address the faithful present and will conclude the prayer with the apostolic blessing.

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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.

Priest Heads Action
[Source: The Dominion Post (Wellington, New Zealand, March 4, 2006]

An Auckland Catholic priest is leading a group wanting to take legal action against broadcaster CanWest for showing the "Bloody Mary" South Park episode of the Virgin Mary. Father Denzil Meuli and the Catholic Action Group have sought consent from the solicitor general to take legal action for blasphemous libel--under an old and rarely used section of the Crimes Act.

Icon or Idol?
[Source: San Antonio Express-News, March 3, 2006]

Made of cornstalks and glue, the statue of the Virgin Mary stands an unimposing 30 inches tall.

The 300-year-old replica--like the original Our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos that's enshrined in a basilica in central Mexico--commands deep reverence for some Hispanic Catholics.

Thousands will kneel before it and touch rosaries to its protective glass case when it goes on display in San Antonio, starting today and continuing for the next eight days.

Many believe it possesses the key to miracles, from healing the sick to ending marital and financial strife.

While its appearance at five churches in San Antonio and Sabinal aims to galvanize the faithful and woo Hispanics, the statue reminds others why they left the Catholic faith.

Whether veneration of the statue of the Virgin is considered spiritually enriching or idolatry is an age-old schism. Nowadays, that split is being played out in new ways because of immigration. A growing number of Hispanics, flush with more religious choices in the United States, are leaving the Catholic Church and joining Protestant churches, especially evangelical congregations.

As Hispanics move north in droves each year, the U.S. Catholic Church is reaping big gains, and Hispanics remain its fastest-growing segment.

It's primarily second-and third-generation Hispanics that worry the church. A Pew Charitable Trusts study in 2003 found Hispanics leaving the church after several generations, and Protestant churches are gaining many of them.

"We take it for granted that a Hispanic is Catholic--but not anymore," said Father Ruben Garcia, pastor of St. Cecilia Catholic Church, host parish for the statue exhibit. "They're born Catholic but changing religions. You have a hundred different options (in the U.S.). In Mexico, there's only one choice."

Hispanic members of Protestant churches number 8.1 million in the U.S. vs. 25 million Catholics, the Pew study found.

Those converting to Protestant faiths are drawn by dynamic preaching and music, more one-on-one mentoring and the rejection of such rituals as praying to Mary.

"It is idolatry," said Beatrice Nesbitt, who parted with Hispanic relatives when she joined a local Pentecostal church two years ago. "Yes, the mother of Jesus exists and was a virgin. But she was not God. We're not taught that in the Catholic Church."

Mindful of the competition for Hispanics, the U.S. Catholic Church has steadily tried to bolster its appeal to a population estimated at 41 million and growing fast.

Three years ago, U.S. Catholic bishops approved a plan for Hispanic outreach that called for more Spanish-language Masses, music and literature and greater evangelistic efforts.

The Mexican American Cultural Center, a San Antonio Catholic ministry, responded a year later by creating a program that trains lay Catholics to go door to door in Hispanic neighborhoods to invite residents back to the faith of their heritage.

About a dozen Catholic parishes in the Archdiocese of San Antonio have sent members for training and another dozen more parishes will do the same this year. The center will also do the training in dioceses in New Mexico and Minnesota this year.

On the city's West Side, Pascuala Gonzalez is among about 15 lay people from St. Agnes Catholic Church who went through this training and walks her parish's Hispanic neighborhoods weekly, inviting residents to Masses and special events. In recent weeks, she's invited them to see the San Juan statue.

Often, she notices Protestant groups walking the same streets, making the same type of invitations, she said.

The Protestant groups "are so persistent and push and push them to make commitments to their churches," she said. "I want (residents) to also know that the Catholic Church is there."

Her urgency stems from reports, such as one from the National Opinion Research Center, that one in seven Hispanic Catholics have left the Catholic Church in the past 25 years.

That survey, overseen by Catholic priest and sociologist Andrew Greeley, prompted him to estimate that half of all U.S. Hispanics would not be Catholic in the next 25 years. Currently, 70 percent of them are Catholic.

But other Catholic leaders believe Hispanic membership growth will supercede any losses in coming years, but they also lament losing any member, said Father Virgilio Elizondo, a San Antonio priest and Hispanic Catholic theologian.

"As a Catholic, you feel bad when you lose someone," he said. "But on the other hand, I'm just glad they're getting fed. Are we doing enough? I don't think we can ever do enough."

Gains and losses

St. Cecilia leaders, like other parishes in Hispanic neighborhoods, hope the San Juan statue translates into growth. Father Garcia buried 65 members last year, mostly Anglos who no longer are the majority in his church. With about 900 people attending weekend services, he said the parish needs younger Hispanics to replace the loss of Anglos and aging Hispanics.

Mae Guerra, 26, may signal a positive change. Baptized at St. Cecilia last year, she'll kneel before the statue and place her only photo of her father at its feet, she said.

An inmate in a state prison, he's been in and out of the infirmary and hasn't let family members visit him for 12 years, she said. The Virgin Mary, she said, could help her.

"I don't know if I'll ever see him again," she said, her eyes welling with tears.

While visiting Baptist and independent Christian churches several years ago, she was taught not to pray to saints. Now, the Virgin Mary and the style of private, sacred prayer in the Catholic Church give her a greater sense of peace.

"You keep your prayers to yourself. The world doesn't have to know about everything in your life," she said. Praying to Mary "takes the weight off your shoulders."

But what drew back Guerra turned away Nesbitt despite personally visiting the statue in San Juan, Mexico, when she was 15.

Bitten by a centipede as a baby, she nearly died. Nesbitt's mother, a devout Catholic, prayed to the Virgin of San Juan, promising to make a pilgrimage with her daughter in exchange for sparing her life.

"She took me to fulfill that promise," said Nesbitt, now 56. "But the only one who saved me was God."

Years ago, when she was a member of the Legion of Mary, a lay church group dedicated to praying to the Virgin Mary, she would have never said that. Or as a teacher of religious education for her church. But two years ago, she said she felt spiritually empty.

She read the Bible more intensely for herself, she said, and guided by a Protestant co-worker, she opened up to other churches. The Miracle Center, which draws about 1,500 people--mostly former Catholics--for worship services, stood out.

Void of statues of saints, the church meets in a large auditorium with a high-output sound system and a rock-style band set up on a large platform. Worship songs are easy to pick up. The preaching is energetic. And a team of about 50 lay ministers forms the leadership structure led by its pastor.

Most striking is how much the church stresses personal study and discussion of the Bible, Nesbitt said.

"It's so hard for Catholics because they depend on what they hear," she said. "They don't depend on God's word, which tells you everything you need to know."

The statue's story

While the statue will draw much fanfare, it isn't designed to replace worship of God, Father Garcia said.

A priest from San Juan will bring the statue by plane to San Antonio this afternoon. Mariachi bands will play at St. Cecilia as the San Antonio archbishop leads it into the sanctuary. Outside will be vendors from the church, selling rosaries and charms.

The scene will mirror on a small scale the type of following the statue has in San Juan. Young and old crawl on their hands and knees the entire length of the basilica to approach her. Gold beams from nearly every crevice of the altar that encases the original statue whose fame began in 1623 with a miracle.

As followers tell it, a couple who were trapeze artists visited San Juan and had a 6-year-old daughter who performed in their act. She was practicing stunts and fell down onto swords and daggers used as part of the family's act. The parents brought the child to the statue for prayer and she revived.

Like the Virgin of Guadalupe, the San Juan statue represents the elevated role of Mary in Mexican Catholic culture as a divine protector and motherly nurturer of all people. The practice of praying to her is not essential to the Catholic faith but is encouraged as a way to deepen one's faith in God.

Because the statue is visible and tangible, Garcia said, there is a temptation to assign it more value than the Bible and Catholic teachings do.

"We know that it isn't Mary, but that it reminds us of Mary," Garcia said. "It should confirm that God is with you. It's too much when people put Jesus aside and would rather say the rosary than go to Mass."

Despite such assertions, some Protestant leaders are skeptical this message is permeating rank-and-file Hispanic Catholics.

"I would not say that the word of God is not being read in the Catholic Church or that the priests aren't sharing the word of God," said Daniel Sanchez, a Baptist professor in Fort Worth, specializing in Hispanic church growth.

"But one wonders how much of that comes through when so much of the emphasis is on some of the rituals of the (Catholic) Church."

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This page, maintained by The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute, Dayton, Ohio 45469-1390, and created by Kris Sommers , was last modified Tuesday, 04/04/2006 15:23:35 EDT by Michael P. Duricy . Please send any comments to

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