In the News: August 17, 2015

ML/IMRI Features

Marian Events

Mary in the Catholic Press

Mary in the Secular Press

Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute Features

Dear Members of the Mariological Society of America,

The Mariological Society of America is pleased to announce its Annual Meeting of 2016 which will take place May 17–20, 2016 at the Franciscan Retreat Center, Colorado Springs, Colorado (see franciscanretreatcenter.org).
The theme of the 2016 meeting will be Devotion to the Heart of Mary: Theological Foundations, which was chosen in light of the 100th anniversary of the apparitions at Fatima.

Please click here to find the Call for Papers for this conference. We would be grateful if you would inform students and scholars who might have a particular interest in submitting a proposal. We would also be grateful if you could print and display the Call for Papers at your respective college, university, seminary, parish, residence, or pastoral center.
For more information about the Mariological Society of America, please visit the website at www.mariologicalsociety.com.
Thank you so much. May God bless you for your assistance. We hope to see you in Colorado next May!
Sincerely in Christ,
Robert Fastiggi, Ph.D.
President of the Mariological Society of America
Professor of Systematic Theology
Sacred Heart Major Seminary
Mary in Media: Books, Films, Music, etc.

On August 15, Catholics around the world celebrated the Feast of the Assumption, when the Blessed Mother was carried body and soul into the waiting arms of God. Mary's name for this feast is Queen Assumed into Heaven, one of the 54 titles she carries in the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Within this old and sacred prayer, Mary is honored as Virgin, Mother and Queen. The Queen Assumed into Heaven card from a mobile app, Blessed Virgin Mary Holy Cards, which celebrates this feast. The 53 other holy cards in the card deck explore the Christian lineage of the sacred feminine.

Using the holy cards app is very similar to picking a Bible verse at random for prayer and meditation. With intention, you select a single card from the deck, or browse the cards and pick one of your choosing. Each card is an icon, with ancient symbols that artistically evoke the many faces of Mary. The back of each card carries the history and significance of the Marian title and a simple prayer invocation to Mother Mary, with short suggestions for applying her gentleness, compassion and unconditional love to daily life.

"I created the Mary cards as a way to access the Blessed Mother throughout the day," says Elie Calhoun, founder of Radiant Heart Media, who created the art and the writing for the project. "I always have my phone with me, so I wanted to transform in-between moments into a pathway for prayer."

Since being released last July, the Mary cards have reached over a dozen countries and been translated for Apple devices into Spanish and French. Elie has been reaching a wide audience of Catholics and non-Catholics with her exploration and honoring of the Blessed Mother. As we share these symbols of the sacred feminine and recreate Marian devotion, we call on Mary's wisdom and are more fully able to create the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.

Radiant Heart Media is a division of Group Velocity Ltd., a publishing company proudly located in New Zealand. They celebrate and explore traditional Catholic devotions using mobile technology. Their apps include Blessed Virgin Mary Holy Cards and Catholic Saints Holy Cards. They are also crowd-funding physical decks of the Mary cards in early 2016. Follow them on Facebook or visit the website for Radiant Heart Media.

Artist Bio

When Elie Calhoun graduated from high school, she spent a year living in a Catholic contemplative religious community modeled on the messages of Medjugorje from Our Lady, Queen of Peace. Although she decided not to become a nun, she has held on to the spiritual practices she learned there and uses them as powerful tools to connect to God in her daily life.

Elie received her Masters in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University and after working at the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) for many years, she started to use technology for impact in Africa, where she was raised. Her work in sustainable leadership with the Women Living Under Muslims Laws (WLUML) network and at Singularity University have emphasized the importance of sharing symbols of stories of archetypal feminine leadership.

Elie is currently working on a book about her journey with Mary as she shares her unique flavor of spiritual guidance in service to the Blessed Mother and the Queen of Peace. She lives in Bali. For further information, please contact Elie Calhoun, Founder, Radiant Heart Media, elie@radiantheartmedia.com.


From the Marian Treasure Chest

Brother John M. Samaha, S.M., sent us the article below which he wrote.

A Modern Martyr Championed the Catholic Press

Blessed Jacob Gapp, S.M., may well be considered another patron of the Catholic press as well as a patron of justice and peace advocates. Because the Gestapo condemned him for his unwavering adherence to the Catholic faith and his unabashed denunciation of National Socialism (Nazism), Father Jacob Gapp was guillotined by the Nazis in Berlin at the Ploetzensee Prison on August 13, 1943. Pope John Paul II beatified him in 1996.

Before entering the Society of Mary in his native Austria, this intrepid Marianist priest had served in the Austrian army in World War I, was wounded and decorated for valor, and suffered as a prisoner of war in northern Italy. This experience taught him to loathe war, selfishness and greed, arrogant pride, political and social injustice. As a young Marianist religious and teacher of religion he was unstinting as a militant advocate for the poor, the needy, and the oppressed.

This action made Father Gapp a serious irritant to the Nazis after they annexed Austria in 1938. For his own safety and for the welfare of the Marianist school where he was teaching in Graz, his superiors moved him from place to place for parish work. The Nazi regime forbade him to teach. Some pupils in the Tyrol told a school inspector in October 1938 that Father Gapp explained to them the Gospel message of brotherly love and their obligation to love and respect "Frenchmen, Czechs, Jews, and communists alike, as they were all human beings." He insisted, "God is your God, not Adolf Hitler."

Realizing that the spoken word and the printed word clearly possessed a power lacking in the sword of militarism, he employed the Catholic press as a weapon of choice. And he read avidly to study the thorny problem of National Socialism and all its ramifications.

Imbued with the message of Pope Pius XI's encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge and the statements of the Austrian bishops, Jacob Gapp had formed a lucid and sound judgment about the utter incompatibility of National Socialism and Christianity. In his preaching he emphasized this truth fearlessly, and he taught the uncompromising law of love for all people without reference to nationality or religion. 

In a fateful sermon in his home parish of St. Lawrence at Wattens in the Tyrol on December 11, 1938, this seasoned Marianist priest staunchly defended Pope Pius XI against the attacks of the Nazis, knowing that his words were being monitored by the Gestapo. He urged the faithful to read Catholic literature rather than Nazi propaganda, and to follow the lead of the Catholic press. This bold move forced him to leave his native country and escape to France. A few months later his anti-Nazi audacity required that he flee Bordeaux and enter Spain, where he assisted in several  schools and parishes served by the Marianists. But in Spain, which had Nazi sympathies engendered during its Civil War, even among his fellow Marianists he stood alone and was misunderstood because of his rejection of the Nazi diatribe. Yet his zeal for the cause he so fervently espoused was not diminished.

In the summer of 1942 the beleaguered Father Jacob Gapp visited the British consulate in Valencia to inquire about a visa to England. He also wanted to learn what was really happening in Germany and in Nazi-occupied Europe, especially concerning the Church. The consulate staff gave him a stack of newspapers and magazines. Among them were copies of The Tablet, a weekly journal edited by Catholic laity in London. The Tablet provided reports about the persecution of the Church, internment camps, pastoral letters like that of the Bishop of Calahorra in Spain criticizing the Nazi ideology, and objective reports from the war fronts. Shunning the biased propaganda material, Father Jacob began to distribute The Tablet, returning regularly to the consulate for new copies.

Shadowed by the Nazis over the years, he was arrested through a deceptive trap that lured him across the border into occupied France, where the Gestapo arrested him and hustled him to prison in Berlin. In January 1943, for two long and intense days he was interrogated nonstop by the Gestapo. Jacob Gapp welcomed the opportunity to present his case. The Gestapo interrogators were particularly interested in his visits to the British consulate in Valencia, and in the "subversive propaganda against the Fatherland" he had repeatedly collected there and distributed. Calmly and firmly the prisoner explained that The Tablet was not propaganda: "It is a good, Catholic journal. The writing is sound, and I even intended to subscribe."

Willingly and vigorously the martyr-to-be not only admitted he consistently opposed the Nazi regime and all it represented, but explained when and why he had done so. He virtually flew in the face of the interrogators. His reasoning and candor stunned the Nazi agents. First and foremost he was a Marianist religious and Catholic priest, conscience-bound to place God before Caesar. Since the Nazis were bent on destroying the Church, he was convinced it was his duty to blaze a trail of resistance and opposition, to educate with truth, and to be a role model of fidelity.

For his honesty and integrity Father Jacob Gapp was sentenced to death for treason and guillotined. His body was destroyed because the Gestapo feared the people would revere him as a martyr. Reportedly Heinrich Himmler, the cunning manipulator of the Nazi leadership, expressed the opinion that Germany would win World War II without difficulty if there were a million party members as committed as Jacob Gapp. Even the enemy admired his tenacious and unstinting adherence to conviction.

Today we honor Blessed Jacob Gapp as a modern-day champion of the Catholic press, which strives to be a source of truthful reporting. Because he respected the Catholic press as the vehicle the Church employs to reveal the Good News for our day, we are invited to call on him to help us to appreciate and promote a more effective Catholic press--print and electronic--with a wider readership, and to use the Catholic press as he did for the cause of truth and justice. 

As the Church regards St. Francis de Sales as patron of the Catholic press, who intercedes for writers and publishers, we can call on Blessed Jacob Gapp as a patron for readers of the Catholic press. We can request him to assist all who turn to the Catholic press for a reliable source of information.  

Marian Events

The Centre for Marian Studies and the Orthodox Network will present Unwedded Bride: Marian Hymns in the Eastern Churches, a conference on the Mother of God in the Orthodox and Oriental churches at the University of Winchester from August 18-20, 2015. Click here for more information.


Mary in the Catholic Press

Bells Around the Globe to Ring Aug. 15 in Solidarity With Mideast Christians from Zenit (Ireland) August 14, 2015

Catholic bishops across the world will be ringing church bells in their dioceses at noon tomorrow on the Feast of the Assumption, in solidarity with persecuted Christians in the Middle East. For example, Bishop John McAreavey of Dromore, Ireland, chair of the Council for Justice and Peace of the Irish Bishops' Conference, has invited parishes to support this important symbolic moment of solidarity and reflection.

Bishop McAreavey said, "Christians are now the world's most oppressed religious group, facing religious discrimination and persecution in over a hundred countries. Each year, thousands of Christians are being tortured and killed because of their faith. Yet the international community has been slow to recognize Christians as victims of religious persecution. The lack of protest at their treatment is truly shocking. In parts of the Middle East ravaged by conflict Christians have lost everything for their faith. Many have lost their lives. Those who remain face a terrifying and uncertain future.

"Tomorrow, on the Feast of the Assumption, the global silence on the persecution of Christians will be broken by the sound of church bells at midday. As Christians throughout the world gather to celebrate Mass on a Holy Day dedicated to Our Lady, it is appropriate that we pause to remember those who are suffering because of their faith. Our fellow bishops in Iraq have told Irish bishops how important spiritual solidarity and prayer are to them in their suffering.  As Archbishop Petros Mouche of Mosul told us during his visit to Maynooth in June: "With so many people praying for us, it reminds us that God cannot forget us...."

Click here to see the complete article from Zenit.


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.

Mary was a true tabernacle within which the Divinity did continually reside (Our Sunday Visitor) July 1, 2015

For most of my life, the assumption of Mary existed as little more, for me, than a head-scratcher of a dogma. I understood that Elijah and Enoch had been assumed into heaven, so if I considered Mary's assumption at all, it was simply to shrug it off: "Mary was assumed into heaven. Sure, why not?" The whys and wherefores of the matter were so far above my pay grade that they didn't seem worth pondering.

All of that changed for me when I took a class in anatomy and physiology. As marvelous as it was to learn about how "wonderfully and fearfully" we are made--what with blood cells forming and fading, and bones and tissue becoming oxygenated and cleansed via blood and breath--nothing presented in the class coaxed an audible reaction from me until we studied the process of microchimerism. As soon as the professor introduced the process, my Catholic bell was rung: "But that completely explains the Assumption!" I said aloud in the midst of my startled classmates. The professor stared at me for a moment with a puzzled expression and said, "Oka-a-ay, anyway, the thing about microchimerism..."

The thing about microchimerism is that it so profoundly explains and justifies our dogma that it should be included in our Mariological catechesis, where people can both appreciate a demonstration of how science and religion can complement and complete each other, and marvel in awestruck wonder that our Church had reasoned out this reality long ago and without the aid of microscopes. In the simplest of terms, microchimerism is the process by which a smattering of cells live within a host body but are completely distinct from it. In human fetomaternal microchimerism (or "fetal cell microchimerism"), every child leaves within his mother a microscopic bit of himself--every pregnancy, brought to delivery or not, leaves a small amount of its own cells within the body of the mother--and those cells remain within her forever....

Click here to read the complete article.


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Weekly Features: August 17, 2015

Included this week are features on Mary's Queenship, Marian Thoughts of Pope Francis and more.

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Weekly Features: August 17, 2015

Included this week are features on Mary's Queenship, Marian Thoughts of Pope Francis and more.

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