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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.
Father Thomas Thompson, Father Bert Buby, Sister Danielle Peters, Sister Jean Frisk, and Dr. Virginia Kimball will each give a presentation at a Marian Conference held January 5-8, 2009, during a conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan, of the Catholic Bishops for the region. For details click into: dioceseoflansing.org/formation/2009_Region_VI_brochure_1.pdf and http://www.dioceseoflansing.org/formation/2009_Region_VI_brochure_2.pdf. Please remember everyone there in your prayers.
Mary in Books, Films and Music
How do we solve a problem like Maria? (Advent Reflection by Father Thomas Rosica published in Zenit on 12/17/2008)
The Sound of Music stage play and I are the same age--both from that vintage year of 1959--and the film version was the first "motion picture" I saw as child in the mid 1960's with my family. God alone knows how many times I have seen it since on stage, at the theater and on television!
Since mid-October, the Rodgers and Hammerstein famed musical The Sound of Music has been delighting audiences in Toronto's Princess of Wales Theatre in the downtown theater district. The city is "alive" with the sound of music. This magnificent production first opened in England under the direction of Andrew Lloyd Weber. The Toronto version of the show does justice to the musical that arguably contains the best-loved songs of all time.
Solving the problem of Maria von Trapp
One of the memorable songs of the play is "Maria," sometimes known as "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?" It is sung brilliantly by Sister Berthe, Sister Sophia, Sister Margaretta and the Mother Abbess at the Benedictine Nonnberg Abbey in Salzburg, Austria. The nuns are exasperated with Maria for being too frivolous, flighty and frolicsome for the decorous and austere life at the abbey. It is said that when Oscar Hammerstein II wrote the lyrics for this song, he was taken by the detail of her wearing curlers in her hair under her wimple!
When older Austrians in Salzburg speak of Maria, it is the Gottesmutter, the Mother of the Lord! When the foreigners, especially North Americans, arrive in Salzburg and speak about Maria, it is usually the other one: Maria Augusta Kutschera, later Maria Augusta von Trapp, who was a teacher in the abbey school after World War I and whose life was the basis for the film The Sound of Music.
Because of this Maria, the abbey acquired international fame, to the consternation of some of the sisters! Having visited Nonnberg Abbey on several occasions while I was studying German in nearby Bavaria, I spoke with a few of the elderly sisters about the impact of The Sound of Music on their life. The prioress told me that they have no plaques up about Maria von Trapp and her escapades at the abbey nor in Salzburg! One elderly sister said to me, with a smile, "Das ist nur Hollywood!" (That is only Hollywood!)
Solving the problem of Maria von Nazareth
The Gospel story of the Annunciation presents another Maria, the great heroine of the Christmas stories--Mary of Nazareth--the willing link between humanity and God. She is the disciple par excellence who introduces us to the goodness and humanity of God. She received and welcomed God's word in the fullest sense, not knowing how the story would finally end. She did not always understand that word throughout Jesus' life but she trusted and constantly recaptured the initial response she had given the angel and literally "kept it alive," "tossed it around," "pondered it" in her heart (Luke 2:19). At Calvary she experienced the full responsibility of her "yes." We have discovered in the few Scripture passages relating to her that she was a woman of deep faith, compassion, and she was very attentive to the needs of others.
Maria von Trapp followed the captain and his little musical family through the Alpine mountain passes of Austria, fleeing a neo-pagan, evil regime that tried to deny the existence of God and God's chosen people. Some would say that they lived happily ever after in Vermont in the United States, and that their musical reputation lives on through the stage production enchanting Toronto audiences at present. The hills are still alive with their music!
The "problem" of Maria of Nazareth began when she entertained a strange, heavenly visitor named Gabriel. The young woman of Nazareth was greatly troubled as she discovered that she would bear a son who would be Savior and Son of the Most High.
"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"
The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God."
"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." The angel left her and then the music began: Magnificat anima mea Dominum. It would become a refrain filling the world with the sound of its powerful music down through the ages.
The message Mary received catapulted her on a trajectory far beyond tiny, sleepy Nazareth and that little strip of land called Israel and Palestine in the Middle East. Mary's "yes" would impact the entire world, and change human history.
Mary of Nazareth accepted her "problem" and resolved it through her obedience, fidelity, trust, hope and quiet joy. At that first moment in Nazareth, she could not foresee the brutal ending of the story of this child within her. Only on a hillside in Calvary, years later, would she experience the full responsibility of her "yes" that forever changed the history of humanity.
If there are no plaques commemorating Maria von Trapp's encounter with destiny at Nonnberg Abbey, there is one small plaque commemorating Mary of Nazareth's life-changing meeting in her hometown. Standing in the middle of the present day city of Nazareth in Galilee is the mammoth basilica of the Annunciation, built around what is believed to be the cave and dwelling of Mary. A small inscription is found on the altar in this grotto-like room that commemorates the place where Mary received the message from the angel Gabriel that she would "conceive and bear a son and give him the name Jesus" (Luke 1:31). The Latin inscription reads Verbum caro hic factum est (Here the word became flesh).
I can still remember the sensation I had when I knelt before that altar for the first time in 1988. That inscription in the grotto of the Annunciation is profound, otherworldly, earth shaking, life changing, dizzying and awesome. The words Verbum caro hic factum est are not found on an ex-voto plaque in the cave of the Nativity in Bethlehem, nor engraved on the outer walls of the Temple ruins or on governmental tourist offices in Jerusalem. They are affixed to an altar deep within the imposing structure of Nazareth's centerpiece of the Annunciation. "This is where the word became flesh." This is where history was changed because Mary said "yes."
Could such words be applied to our own lives, to our families, communities, and churches--"Here the word becomes flesh"? Do we know how to listen to God's Word, meditate upon it and live it each day? Do we put that word into action in our daily lives? Are we faithful, hopeful, loving, and inviting in our discourse and living? What powerful words to be said about Christians--that their words become flesh!
More than happy ever after
If we were to speak of Mary of Nazareth in the language of theater and musicals, there are those who might (wrongly) portray the life of the Virgin Daughter of Zion as one grand and glorious, joy-filled operetta with the musical score written by Bach, Mozart, Vivaldi, or even the more contemporary masters such as Michael Joncas, David Haas or Jacques Berthier and their magnificent Magnificats. I recall one elderly Irish woman speaking about Mary of Nazareth: "She and Joseph were the Camelot of the New Testament. They were royalty and their one and only was perfect and divine!"
What a difference between the lyrics of the song "Camelot" and the lyrics of the Magnificat. Camelot speaks of an imaginary place where "July and August cannot be too hot ... where winter is forbidden until December and exits March the second on the dot ... where the rain may never fall until after sundown and by eight in the morning fog must disappear." In a repeated refrain, the song tells us: "In short, there's simply not a more congenial spot for happy ever-aftering than here in Camelot!"
The Magnificat, on the other hand, speaks not of "ever-aftering" but of a God who has become flesh and blood, who helps the lowly here and now, a God of mercy and who fills the hungry with good things, while he sends the rich away empty. Here is a God who is acting not in some sweet, bucolic galaxy long ago, in the city of Bethlehem, nor in a perfectly staged setting of a recreated Nazareth village where things were picture perfect! Rather, we have a God who decisively enters world history and accepts it as it is. The incarnation means that we enter history and deal with the world as it is, and not as we would wish it to be.
It would seem so much easier if God had never done this and instead had established his kingdom somewhere else, like Camelot, and God could have simply promised us a place in it after the present world was destroyed. Death would be conquered and there would be no more night. But that is not how the story turned out.
However beautiful and catchy are the tunes of Maria of Salzburg, the music of the other Maria, the one from Nazareth, surpasses anything I have ever heard.
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, January 7, 2008, Francesca Franchina speaks with Lucille Nagy Carroll and friends about "Unleashing Your Creative Spirit" the seven-week Red Paper Lecture Series geared toward people with life-altering illnesses. This fun, hands on instructive series encourages utilization of God given talents to help manage health related difficulties by experimenting with pastel, acrylic and oil painting, watercolor, beading, calligraphy, card making and other means. CALL IN TOLL FREE; PARTICIPATE IN THE PROGRAM (during the live show); 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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
From the Marian Treasure Chest
Points to Ponder About Mary (by Brother John Samaha, S.M.)
Ponder these propositions about Mary by some saints.
Glory Offering: An Artist's Prayer
The Marian Library gallery will show works of Margaret Werlinger [photo at left] from November 18, 2008 through January 15, 2008. For more information, click into the article from UD's Campus Report or click here for virtual exhibit.
The artist has brought some packets of Christmas cards showing her award-winning renderings of the nativity scene. These are available for purchase at The Marian Library for $8.50 for each set of ten with proceeds going entirely to pro-life work.
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.
The Marian Library will also be displaying Nativity scenes in our Gallery, as well as off-campus at Gallery Saint John, and around the state in Ludlow Falls and Akron. Our creches will also be shown in a Christmas Eve greeting on a billboard in the Cincinnati area. Click here for details.
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.]
Synod Proposition Fifty-Five
Translation of synodal proposition fifty-five, submitted to Benedict XVI at the end of the world Synod of Bishops on the "Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church," held in October at the Vatican.
Mary Mater Dei and Mater Fidei
The synod, whose intention is above all to renew the faith of the Church in the Word of God, looks at Mary, the Virgin Mother of the Word Incarnate, who with her yes to the Word of the Covenant and to its mission, perfectly fulfills humanity's divine vocation. The Synodal Fathers suggests the dissemination of the Angelus prayer among the faithful, daily memorial of the Word Incarnate and of the Rosary.
The Church of the New Testament lives where the Word Incarnate is received, loved and served in full availability to the Holy Spirit. Mary's faith then develops in the love with which it accompanies the Incarnate Word's growth and mission. Under the Son's cross, faith and love become the hope with which Mary accepts to become the Mother of the beloved disciple and of redeemed humanity.
Devout and loving attention to Mary's figure, as model and archetype of the Church's faith, is of capital importance to realize also today a concrete change of paradigm in the relation of the Church with the Word, both in the posture of prayerful listening as well as generosity in the commitment to the mission and the proclamation. The synodal fathers, united to the Holy Father in prayer so that the synod "will carry fruits of genuine renewal to each Christian community" (Benedict XVI, Angelus in Pompeii, Oct. 19, 2008), invite pastors and faithful to look at Mary and ask the Holy Spirit for the grace of a lively faith in the Word of God made flesh.
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.
One-Hundredth Anniversary of the Birth of Father
Patrick Peyton, CSC
Celebrated with a Novena of Family Rosaries, January 1-9 2009.
Pray a Rosary Day for peace in the world and your particular family intentions.
Begin the observance of this centenary year of 2009 with a novena of rosaries in your home with your family. If some members of the family will not join you, include them in the Rosary by praying for them. If no other members of the family join you, pray it yourself in their name and let the blessings of God come upon them and you by Mary’s and Father Peyton’s intercession. Make your rosary for the intention of world peace and any particular petitions dear to the hearts of your family members. ...
Click here to see the entire article.
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 January 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 January.
Knights to Honor Our Lady in Phoenix
Title: First Annual Marian Conference on Our Lady of Guadalupe
Date: August 6-9, 2009
Location: Knights of Columbus Annual Convention in Phoenix, Arizona
The Knights of Columbus plan to conclude their annual convention this August with a First International Marian Congress on Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The events--including a congress and a festival--are expected to draw twenty-thousand people from the United States and Mexico. The event is co-sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, the Diocese of Phoenix, the Archdiocese of Mexico City and the Center for Guadalupan Studies.
"The centrality of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the Americas as 'the Christian Hemisphere' is clearly evident throughout North and South America," said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, who will speak both at the Marian Congress and at the Guadalupe Festival. "Her message today is one that has as much importance and meaning today as it did nearly five-hundred years ago."
Our Lady of Guadalupe is honored as the Empress of the Americas and devotion to her is widespread throughout the hemisphere, and in a particular way throughout Mexico and the Southwestern United States.
The lectures will focus on the meaning of the message, some of the scientifically inexplicable aspects of the image, and the relevance of Our Lady of Guadalupe in today's world. Speakers include José Aste Tonsmann from Peru, who has done extensive studies of the reflections in the image's eyes; Monsignor Eduardo Chávez, who oversaw the cause for canonization of St. Juan Diego--the visionary who saw Our Lady in 1531; and other experts on key elements of Our Lady of Guadalupe and her message.
The Guadalupe Festival will feature an afternoon of music, prayer and speeches by notables including actor Eduardo Verastegui, best-selling author Imaculee Ilibagiza, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico City and Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix. Performers at the festival will include Irish singer Dana, a mariachi band and matachina dancers.
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