Mary Page News
February 1996

International Mariological Congress and Marian Congress in Poland

August 1996 marks another significant international gathering at our Lady's shrine in Czestochowa. Actually, two events will take place. Sunday, August 18, 1996, the 12th International Mariological Congress begins. The Mariological Congress is a gathering of scholars from around the world who present papers on marian theology. The International Mariological Congress is differentiated from the Marian Congress which begins a week later on Saturday, August 24. The Marian Congress can be compared to a convention and a great celebration of Mary, specially prepared by the people of the country where the congress takes place. The Marian Congress ends on Monday, August 26.

We thought you might be interested in the theme of the congresses and in knowing the schedule. Last year, four million pilgrims came to Czestochowa, approximately twenty buses per day. Perhaps this year you will be among the pilgrims who gather for the Marian Congress. The theme for the congresses was announced by the Council of the International Pontifical Marian Academy:

Mary, the Mother of the Lord, in the mystery of salvation, celebrated in the Holy Spirit by the Churches of the East and West.

Each day, a phrase from the above theme is selected as a subtopic. Scholars from around the world meet in general assemblies and language groups to present papers on this theme. We list the information here as it was published by the Secretariat of the Mariological Society of America.

We look forward to seeing Americans gather for this historic conference.

Precious Gift from Japanese Carmel

The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute recently received a collection of 22 exquisite Christmas cards printed on fine quality rice paper and a set of 11 holy cards from Carmel of the Trinity in Tokyo, Japan. The cards are handpainted Madonna and Child masterpieces set in Japanese detail and are excellent for framing. Mother Prioress tells us that the Christmas scenes were painted by Sisters in order to raise funds for the construction of their chapel which had been badly damaged during the war. The work was continued as a line of income until a couple of years ago. The sisters have a large remnant stock of these beautiful cards. We give you a sample of the work below. If anyone is interested in obtaining the address of the sisters, please request it of us here at Mary Page news.

Statue of Mary in Lourdes Restored

For the first time in 132 years the statue of the Virgin Mary was taken down from its niche in the Lourdes grotto in southern France. The statue will be thoroughly cleaned and restored. Due to damp weather conditions and the smoke of thousands of candles, the face and hands of the marble statue have corroded. [IDU 3 (Jan 17, 1996):4]

Pastoral Marian Organizations in the United States

Rev. Robert Hogan, S.M. has just compiled his year's research. He writes,

Pastoral organizations in the Catholic Church are those associations which care for spiritual needs of the people. Each pastoral marian organization in some way provides suggestions or devotions which foster the spiritual life of the people. We are now making this list available to you via the Mary Page. We ask you to kindly note that not every marian organization in the United States responded to Fr. Hogan's request. If you are among the organizations, please send us information, and we will gladly include you.

To access this information please click on Pastoral Marian Organizations in the United States

Church: God's People on Pilgrimage from the Beginning

The following article is an extract of a book on Christian pilgrimages with a contribution by Fr. Robert Bösner, OSB, titled, "We Travel in God's Name: Guidelines for Leaders of Pilgrimages and Pilgrims." The guidelines were published by the Austrian committee for the care of pilgrims.

In the 4th century, the so-called "Constantinian Change" gave the Church freedom to become a public institution. After the persecutions of his predecessors, Emperor Constantine the Great gave Christians freedom of religion via the edict of Milan in 313. The Roman Church received many gifts, including the holy places in Jerusalem. But even before 313 it was a Christian custom to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land and to Jerusalem to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and the apostles.

Early Christian Pilgrimages

The uncertainty and hardships of travel were taken in stride on a pilgrimage. The pilgrims traveled to the holy places in order to be able to read the "5th Gospel," as they called it. The "5th Gospel" was not a book; it was knowledge of the land and people where Jesus had lived. Pilgrimages like this led to a deepening of the feeling of belonging to the whole church community. When one experienced how "church" was practiced in totally different circumstances and at an entirely different place, the sense of identity and universality grew. In the Holy Land one learned to cherish the liturgical tradition of "the church of origin." At the same time, one learned to treasure one's own rich heritage. Hence, pilgrimage were times of encounter, of grace, and of enrichment.

An article recently reached us with the title, Pilgrimages Conquer Borders.The article listed a wide variety of pilgrimages taking place all over the Christian world. In Europe in 1995 the holy house of Loreto in Italy was the center of international interest as a place of pilgrimage and devotion to Mary. Americans yearly travel in large numbers to Fatima and to Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico. The Information Service in Honor of the Immaculate Mother of God Mary, 49 (6.12.1995):3) indicates that pilgrimages are in, and that there is a growing cooperation and exchange between pilgrimage places. The common interest in love for Mary and her Divine Son break down boundaries quickly. This is particularly noted in countries that were formerly behind the iron curtain. Last year, four million pilgrims visited the marian shrine of Czestochowa in Poland, many of them from the West who had never before had the opportunity to travel to Poland.

From the Early Christian Church until today, pilgrimages remain a way dto grow in the spiritual life, to go away for a little while in order to come back enriched and strengthened in the faith. If you are interested in discovering American pilgrimage places, we recommend the following two books:

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