Monday December 21, 2015

In the News: December 21, 2015

By Michael Duricy

Read recent items about Mary in both Catholic and secular news. Also see International Marian Research Institute news and updates.

ML/IMRI Features

Marian Events

Mary in the Catholic Press

Mary in the Secular Press

Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute Features


Christmas Crèches = Love

Advent is underway and crèches from The Marian Library's collection are an inspiration on and far off campus.

Dear Friends,

Advent is a special time and this liturgical year has started off in new ways for me.

On Sunday we drove up to the University of Notre Dame to participate in the pilgrimage of our crèches. There were about 150 people and we processed to four buildings with song, prayer, and a decade of the rosary at each location. Our sets looked really beautiful in the buildings on Notre Dame's campus and I heard many wonderful comments. A good variety of crèches were sent and one comment I heard several times is “how amazing it is that crèches are made so differently even when the nativity event is the same.” All of our hard work with the crèches allowed Notre Dame to shine!

On a side note, the feast of the Immaculate Conception was celebrated at 12:30 mass in our newly renovated UD Immaculate Conception chapel. It was really well-attended by many students, always refreshing to see the faith practiced even when they are away from home.

More good news! Mepkin Abbey displayed thirty of our nativity sets and in two weeks had 8,209 visitors! They are only open for those two weeks, give tours of twenty people at a time and have reservations booked for months in advance. Our sets came back yesterday, because now, the Trappist monks prayerfully, and in silence, prepare for Christmas.

And, at home, the At the Manger exhibit is continuing to draw in visitors. A third grade Brownie troop and second graders from Bishop Leibold school visited last week, as well as fourth graders from Holy Angels school. Tuesday's tour of 115 students from Incarnation school went very well. The sixth graders were well behaved, enthusiastic, and attentive to our presentations. Yesterday sixty kindergarten students came from Holy Angels while an adult tour of fifty was going on. There has been a consistent flow of tours as well as walk-ins. We definitely are having many visitors and I'm glad word is getting out!

Heartfelt thanks and many prayers to all of our volunteers and staff who make this wonderful ministry of sharing the crèches with thousands of people happen every year. I know what we do touches many hearts and rekindles the faith of God's people.

Merry Christmas and love, Michele

– Michele Devitt, Curatorial Assistant and Volunteer Coordinator


Mary in Media: Books, Films, Music, etc.

In honor of the Year of Mercy, Saint Luke Productions produced a new and beautiful audio Year of Mercy Rosary. You'll love the simple, inspiring rosary reflections, specially focusing on God's healing forgiveness for every soul. Click here for more information.

From the Marian Treasure Chest

Brother John M. Samaha, S.M., sent us the text below along with the following comments: "The article below about the three Masses of Christmas was published in Catholic San Francisco, December 17, 2015."

The Three Masses of Christmas by Brother John M. Samaha, S.M.

Our feast of Christmas came from a pagan observance which was Christianized. It is a pagan festival revisited. The first mention of the celebration of the Lord's nativity in a liturgical calendar appears in the fourth century. This was the baptism of the pagan festival of the invincible sun (sol invictus), an observance introduced in 274 by the Emperor Aurelius (270-275), and celebrated in Rome on December 25, the winter solstice. The "Sun of Justice" (Mal 3:20) came as "the light of the world" (Jn 8:12) to vanquish darkness and to triumph over sin and death.

As the Christianization of the winter solstice, observed in Egypt and in Arabia on January 6, developed into the feast of the Epiphany, it became a major feast of the East. To counteract certain pagan myths, Epiphany, which means "showing forth" or "manifestation," placed emphasis on the baptism of Jesus and his mission, and on the revelation of his glory at Cana. Gradually the feast of Epiphany spread to the entire West in the fourth century, and the East adopted the feast of Christmas about the same time.

In the fourth century at Rome the celebration of Christmas was a rather ordinary Mass celebrated by the pope. The Mass was similar to our present Mass at Dawn, and proclaimed the prologue of John's Gospel. To refute and oppose the Arian heresy rampant at that time, the Mass affirmed and celebrated the Word made flesh. This Christmas Mass was clearly Christ-centered and dogmatic in character, and in 360 mentioned the adoration of the magi and the massacre of the innocent children of Bethlehem.

At Bethlehem a night Mass was celebrated for Epiphany in the grotto of the Lord's birth. Beginning in the fifth century, a night Mass was celebrated in Rome also, but it was the Mass of Christmas and not that of Epiphany. The pope celebrated the night Mass at the Church of St. Mary Major, built after the Council of Ephesus. Wood from a crèche was displayed in one of the basilica's chapels, and the Mass celebrated there became known as the Mass ad praesepe, that is, near the crèche. Since the account of Jesus' birth at Bethlehem was read from the Gospel of Luke, the theme of this celebration was historical.

The Greek (Byzantine) colony in Rome celebrated December 25 too. They assembled at the Church of St. Anastasia (Holy Resurrection). To respect the Byzantines, the pope celebrated Mass with them in the morning before going to St. Peter's Basilica. In that Mass the gospel reading was the announcement of the good news to the shepherds found in Luke's Gospel.

This is how the three Masses of Christmas originated. The pope and the faithful celebrated Mass at night at St. Mary Major, at dawn at St. Anastasia, and during the day at St. Peter.


Marian Events

Mercy and Mary Retreat--January 8-10, 2016--St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church, Plantation, Florida

Join the Marian Missionaries of Divine Mercy for this Mercy and Mary Weekend Retreat featuring speaker Father Michael Gaitley, M.I.C. Click here for more details, including other retreat dates and locations, or to register.


Mary in the Catholic Press

Mary in the Mystery of Christ and of the Church from Zenit (Vatican City) December 18, 2015

The topic of this last Advent meditation is Chapter 8 of Lumen gentium called "The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God in the Mystery of Christ and the Church." Let us listen to what the Council says on this issue:

The predestination of the Blessed Virgin as Mother of God was associated with the incarnation of the divine word: in the designs of divine Providence she was the gracious mother of the divine Redeemer here on earth, and above all others and in a singular way the generous associate and humble handmaid of the Lord. She conceived, gave birth to, and nourished Christ, she presented Him to the Father in the temple, shared his sufferings as He died on the Cross. Thus, in a very special way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope, and burning charity in the work of the Savior in restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason she is a mother to us in the order of grace.

Alongside the title of Mother of God and of believers, the other fundamental category that the Council uses to illustrate Mary's role is that of a model or a type:

By reason of the gift and role of her divine motherhood, by which she is united with her Son, the Redeemer, and with her unique graces and functions, the Blessed Virgin is also intimately united to the church. As St. Ambrose taught, the Mother of God is a type of the church in the order of faith, charity, and perfect union with Christ....

Click here to read the complete article.


Mary in the Secular Press

The director and editors of All About Mary 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.

Posters on walls in Baghdad to ask Christian women to wear the veil (Fides News Agency) December 15, 2015

There are posters on the walls of Baghdad, near the churches and in neighborhoods where there are still Christian communities asking women to wear the veil. The message is addressed directly to Christian women, since the poster portrays the image of the Virgin Mary and a text in which it is emphasized that even the Virgin Mary, docile to the teaching received, wore the veil. The same posters had appeared in some areas of the city in the month of November.

The Iraqi press reports that the posting of pro-veil posters in the streets adjacent to churches and monasteries was for Christians in Baghdad a further sign of intimidation, in addition to kidnappings and targeted to the expropriation of houses and real estate also suffered in recent months by Christians who live in the Iraqi capital (see Fides 8/31/2015).

Click here to read the complete article.


Previous Post

Next Post

Suggested Links

Social Media