January 14, 1997
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Writings and Messages of Mrs. Vassula Ryden
The Holy Family
Marian Anniversaries: One Hundred and Fifty Years Ago
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a statement in Rome on November 29, 1996 concerning the writings and messages of Mrs. Vassula Ryden. The statement is available on the internet at: Christus Rex Information Service
Christus Rex [Christ the King] provides information on papal and congregational decrees as well as information of universal catholic interest.
The Marian Library recently received a book titled, The Holy
Family as Prototype of the
Civilization of Love: Images from the Viceregal Americas
edited by Joseph F.
Chorpenning, O.S.F.S. The volume is published by Saint Joseph's
University Press in
Philadelphia, 1996. The book is devoted to the history of
devotion to the Holy Family as it has
been represented in art in the Americas.|
The book was inspired by Pope John Paul II's letter to families, issued on the feast of the Lord's Presentation in the Temple, February 2, 1994. The letter encourages families to imitate Mary and Joseph's pilgrimage of faith.
|The Marian Library acquired a publication titled, Mexican Devotional Retablos. The works are from The Peters Collection and depict the folkart of Mexican popular devotion. The book is published by Saint Joseph's University Press in Philadelphia and edited by Joseph F. Chorpenning, O.S.F.S.|
Immaculate Conception as Patroness of the United States
In 1846, the American bishops--one Archbishop and twenty-two bishops, at the Sixth Provincial Council of Baltimore, 1846--placed the United States "under the special patronage of the holy Mother of God, whose immaculate conception is venerated by the piety of the faithful throughout the Catholic Church." Already in 1791, Bishop John Carroll's Baltimore Synod had named the Virgin Mary as patroness of the Diocese of Baltimore, which then embraced the whole United States.
Nine years after the American bishops chose Mary in her Immaculate Conception as patroness of the United States, Pius IX defined the Immaculate Conception. For more than four centuries before the definition of the doctrine in 1854, Catholic people pledged themselves to honor and defend the conception of Mary as sinless.
Anniversary of La Salette
Among the few apparitions which have received ecclesiastical approval in the last century is the event which occurred in La Salette, France, on September 19, 1846. Two shepherds, Melanie, fourteen years old, and Maximim, eleven years old, saw an image of a Beautiful Lady seated, apparently weeping, with her head in her hands. Mary was weeping because the world was unmindful of the cross of Christ. Two sins were specifically mentioned--blaspheming the divine name and disregarding Sunday as the day of rest and worship. She asked the children to pray and make known her message.
The report of the apparitions drew crowds, and within the year two healings occurred which were later recognized as miracles. Five years later, the Bishop of Grenoble stated that the apparition was trustworthy and certain. A positive sign, he said, was the "immense and spontaneous" gathering at the place of the apparitions as well as the miracles which had occurred. The year after the approval the first stone of the church was placed.
The heart of the message was one of reconciliation: Mary was the "reconciler of sinners." The text of the mass "Mary, Mother of Reconciliation" (Collection of Masses of the Blessed Virgin Mary, #14), was taken from the proper at the shrine of LaSalette. The texts of the mass speak of the "mercies" of God "to every creature," and the Virgin Mary is described as having the "heart of compassion for sinners." The congregations of the Missionaries and the Sisters of Our Lady of La Salette are dedicated to spreading the message of reconciliation.
Crowds continued to gather at La Salette, an almost inaccessible village in the Alps. It was not until 1867 that road was opened; before that, all pilgrims arrived on foot or by donkey. In 1872, the Assumptionists organized the first national pilgrimage to La Salette. The shrine is largely responsible for reviving the notion of Marian pilgrimage in the 19th century.
In his message to the Diocese of Grenoble and the Missionaries of LaSalette, Pope John Paul II wrote, "In this place, Mary, the mother ever loving, showed her sorrow over moral evil done by humanity. Her tears help us to understand the gravity of sin and of the rejection of God, while manifesting at the same time the passionate fidelity that her son maintains for every person, even though his redeeming love is marked by the wounds of humanity's betrayal and abandonment."
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