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Mary in the
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 November 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 November.
We have updated Marian Sayings of Benedict XVI though October 29 and expanded What is the Twelve-Star Devotion?. We have also posted our answers to the following questions: What Did the Jansenists Think About Mary?; and Where can I find a Marian image, statue, rosary or book?
Mary in Books, Films and Music
On Sunday, November 26th, New Line Cinema's The Nativity Story will become the first feature film ever to premiere at the Vatican, it was jointly announced today by New Line's President and COO of Worldwide Distribution and Marketing Rolf Mittweg, and Stefano Dammicco, CEO of Eagle Pictures, the film's Italian distributor.
The Nativity Story is scheduled for a Dec. 1, 2006 release in the U.S., and will open in territories worldwide throughout the month of December. The premiere, to be held at the Vatican's Aulo Paolo VI (Pope Paul VI Hall), will be attended by The Nativity Story's director Catherine Hardwicke, actors Shohreh Aghdashloo and Oscar Isaac, producers Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, screenwriter Mike Rich, and 7,000 invited guests of the Vatican. The event will serve as a benefit, with contributions going toward construction of a school in the village of Mughar, Israel-- which has a diverse population of Christians, Muslims, and Druze and is located approximately 40 kilometers from Nazareth.
"We are very proud of The Nativity Story and extremely grateful that the Vatican has embraced the film in this way," says Mittweg. "We believe it is the perfect venue to present the film's universal message of hope and faith, a message we are sure will resonate around the world."
"The Nativity Story is an extraordinary event, and this premiere is a fitting way to reach out to our community and share the experience," says Dammicco. "It is a privilege for Eagle Pictures to be New Line's Italian partner on the film."
The event has been made possible due to the collaboration of the Pontifical Council for Culture, the Pontifical Council for Social Communication, the Vatican Film Library, the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" (for Human and Christian Development), the Vicariate of Vatican City State, and the Foundation for Sacred Art and Music.
The Nativity Story chronicles the arduous journey of two people, Mary and Joseph, a miraculous pregnancy, and the history-defining birth of Jesus. This dramatic and compelling story comes to life in a major motion picture starring Academy Award(r) nominee Keisha Castle-Hughes (Whale Rider) as Mary, Oscar Isaac (upcoming Guerrilla) as Joseph, and Academy Award(r) nominee Shoreh Aghdashloo (House of Sand and Fog) as Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. The Nativity Story is directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen, Lords of Dogtown) from a screenplay by Mike Rich (The Rookie, Finding Forrester).
About New Line Cinema Corporation:
Founded almost 40 years ago, New Line Cinema is the most successful independent film company in the world. Its mission is to produce innovative, popular and profitable entertainment in the best creative environment. In addition to the production, marketing and distribution of theatrical motion pictures, the fully-integrated studio has divisions devoted to home entertainment, television, music, theater, merchandising and an international unit. In 2005, New Line partnered with HBO to form Picturehouse, a new theatrical distribution company to release independent films. A pioneer in franchise filmmaking, New Line's Oscar-winning The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of the most successful film franchises in history. New Line is a division of Time Warner, Inc. (TWX).
Radio Maria From The Marian LibraryFrancesca Franchina, long time member of the Marianist Family, will be doing a series of Marian broadcasts through the local station for Radio Maria WHJM (FM 88.7) in Anna, Ohio. Called "Francesca AND Friends: WHY MARY?" the program airs every Wednesday from 11:30 AM-12:30 PM EST focusing on: What in the world is going on about Mary; how to speak with others about Mary; and Mary in Scripture.
Her next talk will be aired this Wednesday (11/15/06) from The Marian Library with Nick Cardilino, Director of the University of Dayton Campus Ministry Center for Social Concerns about youth ministry and his upcoming conference for National Catholic Youth Ministers. Discussion will focus on young people, their faith, spiritual formation, music, social concerns and their involvement in ministry.
Tune in and call in questions and comments for Nick and Francesca. Toll Free: 1-866-333-MARY 1-866-333-6279. The broadcast may also be heard on-line at radiomaria.us [Click on the BVMary photo ... Scroll down to RADIO MARIA USA (English) ... Click on the windows icon or which ever media program you have on your PC.]. The web site also provides access to some previous broadcasts. We'll keep you informed about future programs. Encores of each show are broadcast Monday nights from 8:30-9:30 pm EST two weeks after the original (e.g. Marriage Encounter will air on 11/20).
Also, note that Vittorio Vaccario, a lawyer from World Family Radio Maria will visit The Marian Library in Dayton this week.
Last Chance to See Current Exhibit
"Mary--A Feminine Touch," a retrospective exhibit of works by the late Beverly Stoller, will run from October 1 through November 17 at the Marian Library Gallery on the seventh floor of Roesch Library. The exhibit is free and open to the public weekdays from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. To view the display outside of normal operating hours, call 937-229-4214. Click here for a virtual exhibit of the entire display.
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: lapagedemarie.org; lapaginademaria.org; marypage.org; themarypage.org; marypage.udayton.edu; campus.udayton.edu/mary; and themarypage.net. The original address on the University of Dayton site, campus.udayton.edu/mary, 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 navbar with Mary Page articles. Please visit these sites 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.
Radio Maria broadcasts from Milan Italy, heard in 49 countries; WHJM broadcasts out of Louisiana across USA, including FF 88.7, an affiliate station in Anna, Ohio (north of Dayton) which airs regular Marian talks from UD's Marian Library every Wednesday at 11:30 am EST.
International Marian Research Institute Course ScheduleIMRI courses for the Fall 2006 semester will conclude on November 17. The course schedule for the Fall 2006 semester is now available.
A Pilgrimage With Mary, the First Disciple
Presenter: Teresa Monaghen, M.A.
Date: Friday, November 17, 2006 - Sunday November 19, 2006
Time: Check-in Friday begins @ 6:30 p.m., first conference @ 7:45 p.m. Retreat concludes Sunday at 1 p.m.
Location: Spiritual Life Center in Bel Aire, Kansas
Cost: Earlybird discount rate, on or before Tuesday, October 3; $120 per person (double occupancy) or $145 per person (single occupancy). After October 3; $138 per person (double occupancy), or $165 per person (single occupancy). Includes $20 non-refundable deposit.
To receive further information click into slcwichita.org/calendar.htm or call 316-744-0167.
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!
Knights Will Spiritually Join Pope in Turkey
The Knights of Columbus are asking Catholics worldwide to accompany Benedict XVI in spirit, if not in person, during his trip to Turkey.
"We will ask Our Lady of Fatima to intercede for the Pope during this journey. Mary is regarded with special esteem by people of the Islamic faith, and this is especially true under her title Our Lady of Fatima, since Fatima was the name of the prophet Mohammed's daughter," said Anderson.
The Knights' supreme chaplain, Bishop William Lori, prepared a prayer to be recited daily by all those who wish to participate [see below].
The prayer asks that Benedict XVI's visit may "bring about deeper ties of understanding, cooperation, and peace among Roman Catholics, the Orthodox, and those who profess Islam."
The prayer also asks that the Holy Father "be kept safe from all harm as he prays, bears witness to the Gospel, and invites all peoples to a dialogue of faith, reason, and love."
Closing of Pope's Address at Lateran University
With these sentiments, while I ask the Lord to effuse in this place the abundance of his light, I entrust the itinerary of this Academic Year to the protection of the Most Holy Virgin, and to all I heartily impart the Apostolic Blessing.
Conclusion of Pope's Address to University
Students at Saint Peter's Basilica
I entrust these, my wishes, to the maternal intercession of Mary Most Holy, Seat of Wisdom. May she accompany you throughout this new year of study and grant your longings and hopes. With affection I impart to each one of you and to your study circles, as also to your dear ones, a special Apostolic Blessing.
Papal Mass for Deceased Cardinals and Bishops
The Holy Father concluded by asking the Lord "to enable our dear deceased brother cardinals and bishops to attain the longed-for goal. We ask this trusting in the intercession of Mary Most Holy and in the prayers of the many people who knew them in life and appreciated their Christian virtues."
Through the intercession of Mary Most Holy and of St. Joseph, let us pray to the Lord for the grace to prepare serenely to depart from this world, when he wills to call us, with the hope of being able to be with him eternally, in the company of the saints and of our deceased loved ones.
Papal Message to Charismatic Communities
The five-day conference, held in Cachoeira Paulista, Brazil, ended today. Entrusting the work of the conference to the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, particularly venerated in Brazil as Our Lady Aparecida, His Holiness sends to all present his special apostolic blessing.
Grand Reopening of the Basilica of the National
Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
After a two-year-long restoration and renovation, the city's Basilica is opening up its doors once again for the masses. The cathedral, officially named the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is celebrating its grand opening with an open house, talks from guest speakers and a ceremonial ringing of the bells. A week of activities follows, including tours, concerts, religious services and other festive events. The grand opening week culminates Nov. 12 at the Basilica with a procession and mass by numerous American Catholic bishops.
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 Hollywood: The Christian
"The Nativity Story," a new movie that tells the narrative of the birth of Jesus Christ, won’t be in theaters until December, but Anne Graham Lotz has already seen it. Lotz, who is Billy Graham’s daughter, was one of the dozens of pastors, religious scholars and historians who were consulted on the script. Still, she says, she was nervous when the studio, New Line, brought the film to North Carolina to screen it for her. "I’d never really had any communication with Hollywood before this, and my impression is that Hollywood doesn’t quite get it when it comes to Christians," she says. "So I was very concerned about showing the movie to people before I’d seen it. I just didn’t know what the finished product would be." As the final credits rolled and the lights came up, she had her answer. "I’m not an emotional person," she says, "but when I finished watching it I ... it was just overwhelming to me, the tenderness and beauty of it. The tears came down my cheeks. I couldn’t speak."
Almost three years after Mel Gibson’s "The Passion of the Christ" grossed $612 million worldwide, Hollywood has begun to court the Christian audience. This September, 20th Century Fox announced that its video-only division, Fox Faith, will now distribute as many as 12 faith-focused movies in theaters each year. "One Night With The King," a low-budget indie film about the Biblical story of Esther, landed on screens in October and has quietly grossed more than $10 million so far. And, in the spirit of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, Warner Bros. home video recently released "Thou Shalt Laugh," a night of stand-up from Christian comics. (And yes, it’s actually funny.) All of this attention would seem to mean great news for the faithful--and great profits for studios. But just because the studios have decided to sell entertainment to Christians doesn’t mean Christians are buying. It’s hard to imagine a wider culture gap than the one between rich, secular, Blue State liberals and middle-class, religious, Red State conservatives. That, coupled with a long history of neglect and distrust, may make the film industry’s journey to profits through Christ surprisingly perilous. "There’s a stereotype that comes out of Hollywood that the vast majority of Christians are right-wing idiots," says Pastor Rich Wilkerson of Trinity Church in Miami. "That’s pretty close-minded. I mean, there’s a lot of idiots in every category."
Prior to Gibson’s "Passion," Hollywood had for decades largely ignored—or offended—the Christian audience. In the last 20 years, one of the few major studio films to use the Bible as source material was Martin Scorsese’s 1988 lightning rod, "The Last Temptation of Christ," which speculated that Jesus lusted for Mary Magdalene. "People are still tweaked over ‘Last Temptation,’ and more recently ‘The Da Vinci Code’" says Matthew Crouch, of Trinity Broadcast Network fame, who produced and distributed "One Night with the King." "Those movies are heresy to some pastors. We don’t burn people at the stake for that anymore, but it still kindles the same kind of rage." It doesn’t help that the big studios that now want to create faith-friendly content also flood the world’s screens with sex and violence. "Movies are teaching tools," says Lotz. "And what most of these young minds are seeing today is not wholesome, and in the long run it can be destructive. So when Hollywood makes a movie like ‘Nativity,’ I’m grateful, but I’m still skeptical about the next film that comes down the pike." If studio executives want to make sure they’re creating the right films for Christians, Lotz suggests that, "they read their Bibles, or get in contact with somebody who knows God."
"Nativity" feels like an antidote to the garish Biblical epics of the 1950s such as "Ben Hur," and "The Ten Commandments." Direted by Catherine Hardwicke ("Thirteen"), it's an intimate, character-driven depiction of what it must have been like for a teenage Mary (Keisha Castle-Hughes) to learn that she is chosen by God to bear the Savior, and the struggle that she and her betrothed husband, Joseph (Oscar Isaac), endure as they are rejected by their village of Nazareth and set forth on a 110-mile journey to Bethlehem. The hand of God is not seen through trumpet blasts or winged angels, but through changes in wind and light. It feels simple and honest. "Christian audiences are a powerful demographic, without question, but they’re also discerning," says "Nativity" screenwriter Mike Rich. "They’re not going to be led to a movie simply because it’s important spiritually. The movie has to be good."
Even when it is, somebody still has to get Chrisitans to see it. That somebody, often, is Jonathan Bock, who has become the guru for studios trying to reach the faith-based community. As president of Grace Hill Media, Bock, a Christian himself, has one foot in both worlds, and helps studios by working as both cultural translator and marketing expert on films such as "The Chronicles of Narnia," "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and now "Nativity." He says that bridging the gap between Hollywood and Christians isn’t always easy. "Frankly, there’s a lot of ignorance of one another, and a lot of preconceived notions," he says. The year 2004 proved to be an annus horriblus in this respect. Gibson’s "Passion" stirred up charges of anti-Semitism and generated enmity toward Hollywood, which had largely snubbed the film. The Republican sweep in the election later that year left the film industry feeling battered and defiant. "A lot of folks in Hollywood went into a deep depression," Bock says. But it also began to turn the tide. "While some of those folks sulked off with their lattes, a couple of the smart ones went, ‘Who is this audience that we don’t know, but who clearly has a lot of influence?"
According to Gallup polls in recent years, 80 percent of Americans consider themselves Christian to some degree and 59 percent (177 million) attend religious services at least once a month. "For a studio to not know who those people are is like saying, ‘Oh, we don’t make movies for men'," Bock says, laughing. But while it’s easy to thump Hollywood for failing to pan for gold in the pews, some of the blame can also be laid at the feet of Christian leadership. "Twenty-first century Christians have lost the idea of story," says David McFadzean, a Christian who executive produced the film "What Women Want" and the TV series "Home Improvement." "All the major religions, down through the ages, are communicated through story. We should be right at home in Hollywood." Televangelism aside, the religious right has historically failed to embrace mass media or harness the power of film to its own advantage. "It was almost as if people of faith had taken sanctuary inside the four walls of the church, hiding from the culture," says Crouch, whose company, Gener8Xion Entertainment, also produced the end-of-days films "The Omega Code" and "Megiddo: The Omega Code 2." "Now, I feel like our generation is no longer hiding, but is squarely at the crossroads where faith and culture meet. It’s such a new day."
In part. One of the biggest challenges still facing Christian filmmaking is the perception that it is dour, proselytizing, direct-to-video schlock. “Godsploitation films,” Bock calls them, and they’re so predictable that some jokesters have compared them to porn movies—they’re shot on a shoestring, the acting is terrible and you always know how they’re going to end. "But most moviegoing Christians don’t want more preaching," says Bock, who also produced "Thou Shalt Laugh." "They want great movies with big stars that are respectful and reverent to their faith. The goal is the creation of another renaissance where Christian artists aren’t just making art, they’re making what everyone can regard as great art." Almost everyone seems to agree that the next step for religious filmmaking is to move beyond literal or allegorical adaptations of Bible stories and to instead incorporate the lessons and values of Christianity into films on almost any subject. Crouch's company motto could easily become the mantra for this entire genre of filmmaking: "We don’t produce movies about faith," he says. "We produce movies that don’t violate people’s faith."
The Christian leadership is eager to embrace it. Studios with faith-friendly films routinely take their faith-friendly films on pastor-screening tours. Last December, Disney’s "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe"--an allusion, in part, to the Resurrection--was marketed from the pulpit, and racked up $744 million worldwide. "A senior pastor playing a trailer for a movie or telling a congregation to support a movie is the single most important thing in any marketing plan," Crouch says. In the case of both "Passion" and "Narnia," many churches even bought out entire theaters and gave tickets to their members. Lotz says her church has already rented a 275-seat theater for the opening night of "Nativity." From the beginning, New Line and the filmmakers have taken extraordinary measures to ensure that the film is biblically faithful and historically accurate, and it has paid off even bigger than they could have hoped. On Nov. 26, "The Nativity Story" will be the first film in history to have its premiere at the Vatican. Now that’s an endorsement.
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