In the News: Posted March 23, 2015

By Michael Duricy

ML/IMRI Features

Marian Events

Mary in the Catholic Press

Mary in the Secular Press

Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute Features

Reader Comments

We have received a number of emails from readers commending our institute and its website, The Mary Page. Thank you all for your encouragement and support. The following is a typical example.

I can't thank you enough for your help with these images. They are always so difficult, not only to track down, but to use without infringement of rights.



Greetings in Christ and our Blessed Mother! I am happy to invite you to the May 19–22, 2015 Conference of the Mariological Society of America to be held at the Catholic Conference Center in Hickory, NC. The theme of this year's program is "Mary and Holy Families Living Today.”  This theme was chosen because of the World Meeting of Families to be held September 22–27 in Philadelphia and the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops to be Held in Rome in October, 2015. This year's conference will explore Mary as a member of the Holy Family and her special ministry to families today as exemplar and Mother of the Church.

Click into the MSA website to find the program brochure and registration information. As you will see, the schedule includes a guided tour of Belmont Abbey Basilica and Monastery, a keynote address by Father Johann Roten, S.M., on Mary as Mater Ecclesiae, a showing of the film, Mary of Nazareth, and a concert in honor of the Holy Family. We hope you will be able to join us for this year's MSA conference. We would also be most grateful if you could share this information with others, who might be in interested in the conference and the Mariological Society of America.

Thank you very much for your consideration. We hope to see you in Hickory, NC.

Sincerely in Christ,

Robert Fastiggi, Ph.D.
President of the Mariological Society of America
Mary in Books, Films, and Music

Progress report from the coordinator of the oratorio, Rosary for World Peace

We are working steadily on the Rosary for World Peace: An Oratorio in Four Acts. The current development goal is to premiere an Abbreviated-Version of the Rosary for Word Peace: Act I, The Joyful Mysteries, in New York City, in September, during the time of Pope Francis's visit, ideally at St. Patrick's Cathedral. Original sacred music works will include:

Signum Crucis
Symbolum Apostolorum
Oratio Dominica
Ave Maria
Doxologia Minor
Litaniae Ad Pacem

The music will be composed by Eric Genuis, www.ericgenuis.com, and orchestrated by Londoner Allan Wilson. The Orchestra of St. Luke's, http://www.oslmusic.org, and Musica Sacra, www.musicasacrany.com, have expressed interest in performing, with a sixty-piece orchestra and sixty-voice choir.

A professional narrator will speak the New Testament Scripture verses for each of the five decades/movements. Five representative world languages will be integrated in the Ave Maria prayers, throughout the work. Ideally, an interfaith delegation will attend.

To keep to the development schedule for the first phase of an original composition, orchestration, and associated contractual legal expenses for the seven, new sacred music works, we are in immediate need of about $75,000. Budgets are being prepared for the performance.

Ideally, a couple of strategic partners will work with us long-term to bring the entire work to fruition, both in live and recorded versions. Our next goal is to perform the full version of The Joyful Mysteries in Rome for the 100th Anniversary of Fatima, May 2017. The New York Foundation for the Arts will accept tax-deductible donations, through its Artspire program. Visit: www.therosaryforworldpeace.com

The website is continuing to attract a following worldwide, attracting over 150,000 visitors from over 120 countries. For example, last fall, we were contacted by Father Illyas, an Anglican-Catholic priest, from Pakistan who takes care of orphans and ministers to the Christians in the area. We sent about 600 rosaries and a beautiful statue of the Blessed Mother, all donated by prayer groups and individuals. Father Ilyas has now established a new rosary center and has requested more rosaries and a second-hand Mass kit for his ministry. We believe, eventually, we will be able to reach millions of people worldwide through this evangelical work.

If you know of anyone who you think may be interested in assisting, please feel free to pass this information along.

We will continue to work and pray that God's will be done - ora et labora!


From the Marian Treasure Chest
The Easter Vigil Proclaims the Light of Christ by Brother John M. Samaha, S.M.

Knowing more about the Easter Vigil helps us to understand it, appreciate it, and live the Paschal Mystery on a deeper level.


From the outset the Easter Vigil, originally and more appropriately called the Paschal Vigil, has been celebrated at night. In the beginning it was a very plain ceremony--an assembly that ended with the breaking of the bread and an agape. One or more days of fasting preceded the Easter Vigil.

Later, as the Easter vigil developed in Rome and in places where the Roman rite was followed, this tradition added a baptismal rite, the ceremony of the lucernarium, blessing of the new fire, and a candlelight procession.

As it developed the Easter Vigil became more and more meaningful and focused. From the very first, the celebration took place at night like the weekly Eucharist, because most of the faithful could not assemble during the day. 

The evangelists already situated the discovery of the tomb "as the first day of the week was dawning" (Mt 28:1), "very early" (Mk 16:2; Jn 20:1), "at dawn." (Lk 24:1) The thrust is that Jesus is the "light of the world" that came into the world as a "revelation to the Gentiles." (Lk 2:32)

 Significance of the ceremony

In Baptism the believer passes from death to life (Col 2:12). Ritually and really the neophyte, the newly baptized person, is plunged with Christ into death so as to come to new life with the one who "was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father." (Rom 6:4) For this reason Baptism is called "illumination" (in Biblical Greek, photismos) and the baptized, "illuminated." Light is the dominant theme.

In our day, thanks to electricity, we can have as much light as we want whenever we want it. This was not the case in the past, when lighting the lamps in the evening was a rite. This was generally a happy occasion, when many lamps were lit as for a banquet at the beginning of the Sabbath on a Friday evening. Christians understood that this light which drives away the darkness is a symbol of the Christ-light. 

The procession led by the Paschal Candle represents the journey of God's people no longer led by a bright cloud but by the glorious light that shines on every person coming into the world (Jn 1:9). This rite is most solemn in the context of the great night illuminated by the resurrected Christ. This is eloquently explained in the solemn proclamation of the Lord's resurrection that we now call the Exsultet.

Because all lights were extinguished on Holy Thursday evening, it is necessary to light a new flame in order to celebrate a liturgy at night. And so the ritual developed: the blessing of a new fire and the procession into the church led by the Paschal Candle as the celebrant intoned "Light of Christ!" and the faithful responded "Thanks be to God!"

Recession, then development

Over the centuries this celebration underwent some problems and waned in significance. As late as the thirteenth century the liturgy was still not entirely structured. Since the seventh century there had been a general decline, and this event was celebrated early in the day on Holy Saturday. When Pope St. Pius V reformed the Missal in the sixteenth century following the Council of Trent, he forbade the celebration of the Eucharist after midday. Consequently on Holy Saturday morning in churches brightened with sunlight and a barely perceptible flame on the Easter Candle, the celebrant sang, "O night truly blessed!" In addition very few people were able to attend this long liturgy on Holy Saturday morning. This added to its diminished appreciation.

The Biblical, patristic, theological, and liturgical renewal that began to swell in the 1920's indicated the unacceptability of this condition and the impoverishment of the Easter celebration. In 1951 Pope Pius XII authorized the celebration of the Easter vigil during the evening hours of Holy Saturday, and revised the rites to foster greater congregational participation. Then in 1955 he decreed that the Easter Vigil must take place at night. In our day we follow the "Missal of Pope Paul VI" promulgated in 1969 following the Second Vatican Council. 

Today the Easter vigil has four parts: 1) the blessing of the fire, procession of the Easter Candle, and the chanting of the Exsultet; 2) the Liturgy of the Word; 3) the Baptismal liturgy, which includes at least the blessing of the water and the renewal of baptismal vows; 4) culminates in the Eucharistic liturgy.

This solemn celebration of the Lord’s resurrection is the zenith of the liturgical year, “the solemnity of solemnities.”

The challenge

While the spoken word is very important in the liturgy, we are called to be more alert to the symbolism, both in things and in actions. We are asked to approach with a receptive attitude, ready to be engaged in a way that appeals both to the mind and to the heart, to one's whole being. We are invited to look attentively on the realities present in signs that cannot be fully captured in words. This is how we are called to participate fully in the Easter Vigil.

The Easter Vigil invites us to action--to go forth and reflect the light of the resurrected Christ to the world around us.


Marian Events

Holy Angels Parish and One More Soul invite you to a celebration of Jesus taking human nature in Mary's womb. The Solemnity Mass for the Annunciation will take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at Holy Angels Catholic Church [1322 Brown St. in Dayton, Ohio]. Father Greg Konerman will be the Celebrant, Homilist and Speaker. There will be a special blessing for mothers (and families) awaiting the birth of a child. Following Mass, Father Konerman will give a presentation on "How to strengthen our domestic church, evangelize our children, and persevere as a Catholic family in a pagan culture." Light refreshments will be made available. Click here for more information.


Mary in the Catholic Press

Letter From Iraqi Refugees to Pope Francis from Zenit (Rome) March 6, 2015

Here is the letter to Pope Francis from Iraqi Christians living in Jordan who have escaped violence and persecution from the Islamic State.

The letter was given to the Holy Father yesterday by Father Rif'at Bader, director of the Catholic Center for Media and Studies of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem (www.abouna.org). Father Bader kindly shared their letter with ZENIT.

We, Iraqi Christians, now present in Jordan were constrained to emigrate from our lands because of the power of the devil, of darkness and of slavery, despite the fact that we have not committed any evil that justifies our flight.

Our only fault is that of bearing the name of Our Lord Jesus Savior and our good works of love and peace to all creatures.

And after they placed before us the choice of giving up being Christians or being killed, we had to flee from our lands with our Christ, with our faith and with our principles.

We chose to go far away from our homes and our country that we love, preferring to become strangers in a foreign land, with all the pain and suffering this entails, rather than become part of that evil and inhuman violence against the innocent.

We chose to escape, leaving behind everything that was dear to us, homes, lands, properties, to become part of the holy flock of Christ, following with conviction and joy the stages of the Via Crucis with the Crucified Christ, to be worthy of being among his sheep, members of His holy flock.

O Father, know that our faith today is much stronger than before. We are not afraid of anything because we are convinced that God is with us, and the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Savior hears our prayers and requests and resolves the problems we face every day....

Click here to see the complete article.


Mary in the Secular Press

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.

In the Annals of Life's Mysteries is that of an ancient stone invoking the help of the Virgin Mary (spiritdaily.com) March 17, 2015

You hear about how Christopher Columbus had such a devotion to the Blessed Mother.

You hear about her huge role in the founding of the first permanent settlement--St. Augustine, Florida (which has the nation's oldest Marian shrine; it was founded on her birthday).

You hear about how the Mississippi River was originally known by European settlers as the "River of the Immaculate Conception" (wouldn't it be great to return to those times?). Look at all the missions. Look at all the names of various cities. Lake George was once the "Lake of the Blessed Sacrament" and the Chesapeake Bay was once the "Bay of Saint Mary." Ditto for places in Canada, particularly Quebec.

But what if she had been invoked more than a century before Columbus (and his Santa Maria), before Ponce de Leon in Florida? …

Scholars agree that the inscription reads: "Eight Goths and twenty-two Norwegians on an exploring journey from Vinland very far west. We had camp by two skerries, one day's journey north from this stone. We were fishing one day when we returned home and found ten men red with blood and dead. AVM [Ave Virgin Mary] save us from this evil. We have ten men by the sea to look after our vessel forty-one days' journey from this."

Ave Maria!

Bless you mother, for all your blessings, through the centuries upon us.

Click here to see the complete article.


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Weekly Features: Week of March 23, 2015

Featured content for this week highlights Lent and the Annunciation. Marian commemoration days for the month of March are included.

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Weekly Features: Week of March 23, 2015

Featured content for this week highlights Lent and the Annunciation. Marian commemoration days for the month of March are included.

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