News from the
|Mary in the Catholic Press||
Mary in the
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.
Mary in Books, Films and Music
Needed: A Marian Drama which could be staged as an outdoor religious play
First Frontier, professional theater company at the Greene County amphitheater is the producing organization of the historical outdoor drama Blue Jacket. Their mission is to preserve and promote the history of the Ohio territory through artistic presentation. They have produced Blue Jacket for twenty-six seasons and by recommendations from audiences have produced non-historical companion shows based on classic novels and short stories. Shane and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow are examples. These companion shows have been very popular and well-attended.
They are exploring a new historical drama based on the history of the Shawnee Nation. Also under consideration is a religious outdoor drama to be performed as a companion to our new production.
If anyone has written a play about the Blessed Mother [or would be interested in doing so] please contact Timothy A. Haney, Vice-President of First Frontier, Inc., by phone at 937-372-8217 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Radio Maria from the Marian Library
Francesca Franchina, MS. Ed., a long-time member of the Marianist Family, will be doing a series of Marian broadcasts through the local stations for Radio Maria WHJM (FM 88.7) in Anna, Ohio and WULM (AM 1600) in Springfield, Ohio. Called "Francesca and Friends: Why Mary?", the program airs every Wednesday from 11:30 AM-12:30 PM EST focusing on what is going on in the world about Mary, how to speak with others about Mary, and Mary in Scripture.
On Wednesday, July 30, 2008, Francesca Franchina talks with Father Antonio LaRocca, SMC and Father Xavier Alson, SMC, Founders of the new Venezuelan religious order of priests and brothers (Society of Mary Co-Redemptorix) focusing on The Blessed Mother and The New Evangelization as shared by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI focusing on spiritual renewal across the globe; spiritual formation involving personal and communal prayer; and utilizing gi fts of the Holy Spirit in the parish and diocese to bring forth transformation of lives and the world. To participate in the program call in (during the live show) with comments, experiences, questions 866-333-6279. Toll Free.
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 whichever 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. An encore of each show is broadcast Monday night from 8:30-9:30 pm EST one week after the original.
Her series, Through the Tummy to the Heart, airs every Tuesday except the first Tuesday from 5:00-5:45 PM on RADIO MARIA WHJM and also online. The series encores Saturdays from 3:00-3:45 pm. Tune in 88.7 FM (WHJM) in the northern Archdiocese of Cincinnati and on line at www.radiomaria.us from anywhere in the world. Send email to Francesca with questions, comments, suggestions at email@example.com. Send email while the programs are going on if you cannot get through or if you are listening outside of the USA. CALL IN TOLL FREE; PARTICIPATE IN THE PROGRAM (during the live show); 1-866-333-6279.
On Tuesday, July 29, 2008, Francesca Franchina continues talking about Evangelization, how to share faith in Jesus Christ, introducing the Blessed Mother into conversations and recapping the proceedings of the Marian Symposium held at the University of Dayton July 21-23 focusing on Mary in The Parish. Francesca shares a pasta recipe that is delicious, easy and quick to prepare with vegetables from your garden or farmer's market.
From the Marian Treasure Chest
Some Saints Comment on Mary (by Brother John M. Samaha, S.M.)
Irenaeus (+ 202): The knot tied by Mary's disobedience was untied by the obedience of Mary.
Bonaventure (+ 1274): As wax melts before fire, so do the devils lose their power against those souls who remember the name of Mary and devoutly invoke it.
Hildegard of Bingen (+ 1179): Dearest Mother, bless us in your heart, comfort us in our pains, stand by us in all distress, show us Jesus after our death.
The Art of Illustration
The Marian Library gallery will show works of Anne Simoneau from July 1 through September 5, 2008. The Marian Library will arrange the exhibit as a series of clusters, including Mary; the brown scapular, or the brown cloth made famous by Our Lady of Mount Carmel; the Eucharist; Jesus and the saints; and children and families at prayer. For more information, click, into the June 26 article from UD's Campus News Digest. Click here for virtual exhibit.
The Marian Library Gallery is located on the seventh floor of Roesch Library. Free and open to the public, hours are Mon-Fri, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm or by appointment. Call 937-229-4214 or 4254.
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, www.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 articles from The Mary Page. Please visit these sites in return. We expect continued collaboration with them in the future.
Radio Maria broadcasts from Milan Italy, heard in forty-nine countries; WHJM broadcasts out of Louisiana across USA [including FM 88.7, an affiliate station in Anna, Ohio (north of Dayton) and AM 1600, an affiliate in Springfield, Ohio, which air regular Marian talks from UD's Marian Library every Wednesday at 11:30 am EST.]
International Marian Research Institute Course ScheduleIMRI courses for the Summer 2008 semester will conclude on August 1, 2008. The course schedule is available online.
In relation to the season, we encourage you to review The Memorial of Saints Anna and Joachim (July 26). Also, we have updated Korean-language News through July 24.
Fifty-Thousand Walk a Week or More to Guadalupe
Mexico's oldest pilgrimage--and the one that attracts the most pilgrims, with fifty-thousand participants this year--concluded Sunday at the feet of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Reminiscent of pilgrimages of the Middle Ages, the group walked south from the state of Queretaro to Mexico City. The journey took anywhere from seven to eighteen days to complete.
The Diocese of Queretaro sponsors the pilgrimage each year. The men's pilgrimage has a one-hundred-eighteen-year history. The women's pilgrimage marked its fiftieth anniversary this year.
Bishop Mario de Gasperín Gasperín of Queretaro and Monsignor Diego Monroy, rector of the basilica, welcomed the pilgrims upon their arrival.
The prelate thanked the pilgrims for their participation: "For us it is a moment of grace and blessing to hear the Word of God, which makes us reflect on our lives."
"The people who come want the good of Mexico, our homeland and our Church," the bishop added. "I am very happy to head this pilgrimage; may the Virgin, whom we always keep present, bless all the pilgrims. We will offer the Mass for our migrant brothers, as many have pinned their hopes on this pilgrimage, entrusting themselves to God."
Hilda Garcia, vice president of the 2008 Association of Women Pilgrims to Tepeyac, explained to ZENIT that the participants sang and were joyful throughout the pilgrimage, though they met with three consecutive days of heavy rains. "Some of us left on July 12 and arrived in this shrine eighteen days later," she said.
Monsignor Monroy said in a press conference that "these pilgrimages give us all feedback, benefit us by their dedication and commitment, fifty years by women and one-hundred-eighteen years by men--a great motivation. I accompanied them on the walk and received them here, because it is the task of the rector of this shrine."
Monsignor Monroy affirmed that "our country must continue to walk, despite its afflictions, on the path of peace, justice, progress and truth, because the Virgin is in the lead for Jesus Christ, for she said to us 'do whatever my Son tells you.'"
He exhorted the baptized to be the leaven, "even if we see ourselves threatened by drug trafficking, alcoholism, injustice, corruption, famine, poverty and misery. This is the challenge faced by pilgrims who come to preach the Kingdom of God."
Brown Scapular: a "Silent Devotion"
On the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, we present here an article written by Discalced Carmelite Father Kieran Kavanaugh, on the devotion of the brown Carmelite scapular.
Father Kavanaugh is the English translator of the writings of both Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint John of the Cross. He is a member of the Institute of Carmelite Studies and was the vice postulator for the canonization of Saint Edith Stein.
* * *
During the Crusades in the twelfth century, a group of Westerners took up the life of hermits by the well of Saint Elijah on Mount Carmel. They built a chapel in honor of the Mother of Jesus, conscious that they were living in the area made holy by Jesus and his Mother (Nazareth is less than twenty miles away).
When Saracens toppled the Latin kingdom of the Crusaders, the hermits of Carmel had to flee the holy mountain and return to the West--to Cypress, Sicily, France, England, Ireland and other countries. They brought with them little more than their title of "Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel."
In Europe they were entering a hostile world cluttered with many new religious families. The arrival of strangers from Mount Carmel was inauspicious; they were frowned upon. Internally, they were divided as to whether they should cling to their background as hermits or adapt to a new status of begging friars.
According to tradition, as an important fact in the midst of these difficulties, Our Lady of Mount Carmel appeared to the prior general, Saint Simon Stock, at Aylesford, England. According to tradition, Our Lady appeared on July 16, 1251.
The Blessed Virgin promised St. Simon Stock, oppressed with worries, that whoever would wear the Carmelite habit devoutly would receive the gift of final perseverance. The habit was taken to mean the scapular in particular.
The scapular was a broad band of cloth over the shoulders, falling below the knees toward the feet front and back as an apron, worn still as part of the religious habit by a number of orders of monks and friars. As it was gradually adapted for use by the laity, it became two small panels of brown cloth joined by strings and worn over the shoulders as a familiar Marian sacramental.
From the sixteenth century until the Second Vatican Council the scapular received warm welcome from the faithful and enjoyed a singular approval by the Church magisterium. Part of the reason for this esteem was undoubtedly the constant stream of wonderful graces, spiritual and temporal, that were poured out on individuals through its devout use.
But another reason for its popularity was its strict connection with the last things, with the salvation of our soul, which takes priority over all our other duties here below.
After the Council, the scapular devotion suffered the same "crisis of rejection" that so many other practices and teachings within the Catholic Church underwent.
First, it was said that St. Simon Stock never even existed. As a consequence, his feast day, which had been celebrated on May 16, the date of his death, was expunged from the liturgical calendar.
Second, if he never existed, then we must do away with the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the scapular devotion. The effort was then made by a liturgical committee to expunge Our Lady of Mount Carmel from the liturgical calendar, but the Latin American bishops protested so vehemently that the feast was kept, however, on condition that nothing be mentioned about the scapular.
One of the internationally renowned Mariologists of our order, Father Nilo Geagea from Lebanon then set about doing a very thorough research into the whole history of devotion to Mary in our order.
The result of his years of study is a huge wonderfully researched and documented volume published by the Teresian Historical Institute in 1988; so it is a fairly recent study. The title of the book is Maria Madre e Decoro del Carmelo.
Through painstaking demonstration, Father Nilo shows how even the most intransigent critic could not put into reasonable doubt the historical existence of St. Simon Stock. Saint Simon Stock's feast day was, in fact, restored by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments in 1979.
Is it true?
As for the historicity of St. Simon Stock's vision of Our Lady, in which he is reported to have received the scapular promise, there are difficulties.
The earliest testimony comes at the end of the 1300s. That would place this testimony at an historical distance of over one-hundred years. Without taking away the validity of the testimony, the distance in time does lessen the power of the testimony to convince from a scholarly point of view.
Practically speaking, there are two attitudes we can take:
First, from a scholar's historical point of view, we must admit that there is a lack of documentary evidence that would demonstrate irrefutably the truth or historicity of the apparition. At the same time, there exists no cogent reason for denouncing the apparition as false and definitively denying its truth.
Second, on the pastoral level, one should not contradict those who may want to continue accepting the traditional data. We should not then oppose those who say that for centuries the Carmelite order has held that the Blessed Virgin appeared to the prior general, St. Simon Stock, and promised eternal salvation to him and to all those who like him wore the scapular.
Another point is that in the minds of many, devotion to the scapular is the equivalent of devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. This is understandable, but in reality the two are distinct in theory, and ought to be so in practice. The scapular is the means; the devotion is the end toward which the wearing of the scapular tends.
Yoke of Christ
If we look for the earliest references to the scapular, we find them in the Carmelite constitutions of 1281 in which it was prescribed that all Carmelite friars should wear their tunics and scapulars to bed under penalty of a serious fault. It was also prescribed that the white mantle be made in such a way that the scapular would not be hidden.
But the reason for these prescriptions was not a Marian one. At the time, the scapular was seen as signifying the "yoke of Christ." This yoke of Christ in turn pointed to obedience. And that explains the strictness of the legislation. Taking off the scapular was like taking off the yoke of Christ, or rebelling against authority.
Only gradually did the scapular take on a Marian tone and grow until it reached such a point that it became identified with Carmelite piety toward Our Lady. In fact the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel began to be called the scapular feast.
Devotion to Mary expressed by wearing the brown scapular seems to be resilient and resists the attempts made in various periods of history to diminish its value. The faithful keep coming back to it.
From the official teaching of the Church, we can gather that the scapular of Carmel is one of the most highly recommended Marian devotions. This is true through the centuries, and into our own times with popes Paul VI and John Paul II.
One of the early Carmelites in his enthusiasm went so far as to call the scapular a "sacrament." Actually the category into which the scapular fits is that of a sacramental.
Sacramentals are sacred signs. The scapular is not a natural sign in the sense that smoke is the sign of fire. Smoke is intrinsically connected with fire. Where there's smoke, there's fire, the saying goes.
The scapular is what is called a conventional sign. In the case of a conventional sign, the meaning is assigned to the object from outside. Thus a wedding ring is a sign or pledge of mutual love and enduring fidelity between two spouses. In this kind of sign, which is a conventional sign, there has to be an intervention from outside that establishes the connection between the object and what it represents. In the case of sacramentals, it is the Church that determines the connection.
Sacramentals also signify effects obtained through the intercession of the Church, especially spiritual graces. The sacramentals--as holy pictures or icons, statues, medals, holy water, blessed palm and the scapular--are means that dispose one to receive the chief effect of the sacraments themselves, and this is closer union with Jesus.
St. Teresa of Avila for example speaks in her life about holy water and the power she experienced that this sacramental has against the devil. She mentions as well how this power comes not through the object in itself but through the prayer of the Church.
Along with the sacraments, sacramentals sanctify almost every aspect of human life with divine grace. The passion, death, and resurrection of Christ are the source of the power of the sacramentals as it is of the sacraments themselves.
Such everyday things as water and words, oil and anointing, cloth and beeswax, paintings and songs are ingredients of the sacraments and sacramentals. The Son of God became the Son of Mary. What could be more down-to-earth, more human, indeed more unpretentious, plain, and simple?
With regard to the scapular as a conventional and sacred sign, the Church has intervened at various times in history to clarify its meaning, defend it, and confirm the privileges.
From these Church documents there emerges with sufficient clarity the nature and meaning of the Carmelite scapular.
1. The scapular is a Marian habit or garment. It is both a sign and pledge. A sign of belonging to Mary; a pledge of her motherly protection, not only in this life but after death.
2. As a sign, it is a conventional sign signifying three elements strictly joined: first, belonging to a religious family particularly devoted to Mary, especially dear to Mary, the Carmelite Order; second, consecration to Mary, devotion to and trust in her Immaculate Heart; third an incitement to become like Mary by imitating her virtues, above all her humility, chastity, and spirit of prayer.
This is the Church's officially established connection between the sign and that which is signified by the sign.
No mention is made of the vision of St. Simon Stock or of that of Pope John XXII in relation to the Sabbatine privilege, which promises that one will be released from Purgatory on the first Saturday after death.
Nonetheless, the Carmelites have also been authorized to freely preach to the faithful that they can piously believe in the powerful intercession, merits, and suffrages of the Blessed Virgin, that she will help them even after their death, especially on Saturday, which is the day of the week particularly dedicated to Mary, if they have died in the grace of God and devoutly worn the scapular. But no mention is made of the "first" Saturday after their death.
Even the Sabbatine privilege, then, is not so unconnected with the rest of our Catholic faith and practice. The Second Vatican Council has also insisted on Mary's solicitude toward those who seek her protection. "From the earliest times the Blessed Virgin is honored under the title of Mother of God, under whose protection the faithful take refuge together in prayer in all their perils and needs (Lumen Gentium, No. 66).
If some day a historian were to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that there are no grounds to the Marian apparition to St. Simon Stock or the scapular promise, the scapular devotion would still maintain its value. The Church's esteem of it as a sacramental, her appreciation of its meaning and of the good that has come about through its pious use on the part of the faithful is all that is needed.
St. John of the Cross teaches that we ought not waste a lot of time and energy trying to discern whether or not a vision is authentic, but that we accept and follow it only insofar as the message is in accord with the Gospels and with what has already been revealed in Jesus Christ. Faith requires us to live with complete trust in God and in darkness with respect to seeing God or his saints.
The scapular as a sign is rich in meaning. I think that after we consider the official interpretations of the scapular, we can discover in it our own personal meaning. I like to think of it as a sign of Mary's quiet presence, for the scapular is a silent devotion.
There are no prayers to be said. It reminds us of the contemplative aspect of our Christian life. Contemplation is what our saints wrote so much about. Contemplation is an ever-deepening silence in loving presence to God. It is in this silence that God best speaks to us.
Mary is the Church's greatest contemplative. In her silence she heard those extraordinary words spoken to her by the Lord--"Blessed are you among women." And so Elizabeth could add: "Blessed are you who believed."
The director and editors of The 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.
Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary Holds Historic International Ecumenical Conference
The Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary, USA [ESBVM-USA] will hold an historic international, ecumenical congress in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, August 11 to 13. The Congress will be held at the Newman Library and Oratory, 211 North Dithridge Street, and 4450 Bayard Street in Pittsburgh, PA.
This will be the first such Marian, ecumenical and international congress held in the USA. The congress will bring together scholars from traditional Christian traditions to address the theme: Virgin Mary as "Daughter of Zion: Mother of the New Creation." Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant scholars will consider Mary's mediation--her motherly care of the faithful which is an inspiring spiritual source for unity among Christians today.
The scholars include representatives of Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Methodist, Lutheran, Syrian, Byzantine Catholic, Anglican, and UCC backgrounds. The Most Rev. David A. Zubik, Roman Catholic Bishop of Pittsburgh, will serve as a patron of the Congress and will lend an introduction to the published collection of papers that will be presented.
ESBVM-USA hopes that this congress will contribute deep appreciation of the mystery of God and the possibility of finding union in Christ through mutual reflection on His mother. The ESBVM-USA formed approximately twenty years ago and is patterned after the ESBVM of the United Kingdom. Four years ago, at an ESBVM-UK international congress in Bath, England, the idea of an international congress in the USA was born. Encouraged by the Society in England, the American Society began planning this ambitious event. The ESBVM expects that those who are involved in ecumenical dialogue in other sectors will attend this inaugural Marian event. The proceedings of the congress will be published in the future. Media coverage of this congress event will precede the book’s publication and can inform the many interested Christians of various traditions of the progress made in the Marian ecumenical field.
The Very Rev. Dr. John Behr, Dean of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, NY, and Dr. Mark I. Miravalle, Roman Catholic renowned International Mariologist and professor of Theology and Mariology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, in Steubenville, Ohio are keynote speakers.
Other speakers at the congress include:
Special arrangements have been made for participants at the Holiday Inn Select Hotel at University Center, Oakland, near the congress location. Commuters are welcome. Registration information is available on the Society's website: www.esbvm.org. Anyone who is interested in welcomed. The organizers ask for prayers for the important task this congress will undertake.
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!
Marian Commemoration Days
To celebrate the month of July with Mary:
The 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 July.
National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon
Title: Annual Assumption Pilgrimage
Date: August 8-10, 2008
Location: 2759 North Lipkey Road, North Jackson, Ohio 44451
The Mary Page web site is updated frequently. Please stop in again and see What's New.