Mary of Nazareth

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Parish Dedication and Blessing , September 8, 1991 - Background

The Annapolis Mary Garden, developed from an original plan by renowned horticulturalist Tony Dove, then Curator of the London Tower Public Gardens in Edgewater, Maryland, was originally dedicated and blest on the Vigil of the Assumption, 1988.

Today's dedication of the newly installed focal Garden sculpture of Mary of Nazareth - a major work especially designed for this garden by renowned sculptor, Leo Irrera, in residence at the Pius VI Religious Art Center in Washington, D.C. - is a fulfillment of the hopes and prayers of the parishioners who have founded the Mary Garden, and brings it to a national and international stature.

Bringing the visitor to reflection on Mary and Jesus, as they were in the Nazareth countryside, the statue quickens hearts and minds to meditation on the rich symbolism of the Flowers of Our Lady in the beds around it - as we pray in the words of the Blessing of Images from the Roman Rite:

"Almighty and eternal God . . . as often as we look on this image with our bodily eyes, so often do we consider the actions of your saints with our mind's eye, and ponder their sanctity for our imitation. Be so good, we beg of you, to bless and sanctify this statue . . . that whoever in the presence of this image humbly pays devout reverence and honor to your only-begotten Son and his Blessed Mother, may through their merits and intercession win grace in this life, and everlasting glory in the world to come. . . ."

Today, the Feast of Mary's Birth, is the traditional day also for the Roman Rite Blessing of Seeds, Flowers and Crops for the coming year. Through it we renew the blessing of the entire Garden as a holy place:

"Almighty, everlasting God, sower and nourisher of the heavenly Word, you till the ground of our hearts with spiritual tools. Hear our prayers, please, and pour your blessings upon the fields that have been sown . . ."

Through these blessings of the Church we are assisted in re-entering the piety of the medieval Christians, for whom all areas of life were transformed for the sanctification of souls and the building of God's Kingdom.

With the installation of Mary of Nazareth, the Mary Garden and the work of its tending have been especially dedicated to peace in the Holy Land, in our own country and throughout the entire world.

The turning of our thoughts to Nazareth reminds us that rural Nazareth, in which Mary and Jesus lived as the New Eve and the New Adam, became in effect the New Garden of Eden, according to the lines from the liturgy for today's feast of the Nativity of Mary:

"When the most holy Virgin was born,
the whole world was made radiant."

It is this illuminative view of nature which is the basis for the transforming symbolism of the Flowers of Our Lady of the Mary Garden.

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