In the News: June 22, 2016

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


Dear Members of the Mariological Society of America,
As we celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I would like to take this memorial to share with you a brief summary of the talks presented at the recent annual conference of the MSA, held from May 17-20, 2016 in Colorado Springs. In addition to the talks exploring the theological foundations of devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we were privileged to meet the local ordinary, the Most Rev. Michael J. Sheridan, S.Th.D. He welcomed us after our liturgy on the first day, and on the following day we met him at the Door of Mercy of St. Mary's Cathedral. Furthermore, we were treated to a talk by the Directors of the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado, Dr. John Jackson and his wife, Rebecca, on Mary's Apparition in Zeitoun, Egypt. Last but not least, Father Thomas Thompson, S.M. shared with us an "International Marian Bibliography, 2015-2016" with a discussion of recent publications.

During the business meeting we held elections for the offices of president, vice president and three members of the administrative council. The officers and councilors are:

President: Danielle M. Peters, S.T.D. (2016-2018)
Vice President: Father Dwight Campbell, S.T.D. (2016-2018)
Secretary: Father Thomas A. Thompson, S.M., Ph.D.
Executive Assistant: Cecilia Mushenheim
Communications: Sister Donna Maria Moses, O.P., Ed.D.

Councilors: (elected for 4-year terms)
Program: Robert Fastiggi, Ph.D. (2016-2020) and Father Frederick L. Miller, S.T.D. (2014-2018)
Planning: Sister Jean Frisk, S.T.L. (2014-2018) and Father Edward Looney (2016-2010)
Promotion: Gloria Dodd S.T.D. (2016-2020) and Father James Phalan (2014-2018).

The MSA is grateful to Father Thomas Buffer S.T.D. and Deyanira Flores S.T.D. for their many years of dedicated service as councilors to the MSA.

After the elections, fourteen new members and five new associates were admitted to the MSA. It was announced that the theme for next year's annual conference will be Mary and the Sacraments of Initiation. The conference will take place May 16-19, 2017 at the Schoenstatt Center in Lamar TX. Please be on the lookout for the the Call for Papers during the second half of August.

The Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary USA would like to extend an invitation to all MSA members and friends to attend their August 2016 conference at Mt. St. Mary College in Newburgh, N.Y.

One final bit of news: From September, 2016, the 24th Mariological Marian International Congress will take place at the Shrine in Fatima, Portugal. Eleven MSA members will participate and present papers during the afternoon sessions.

United in our mission to studying and making known the Blessed Virgin Mary, many greetings and best wishes for all your undertakings,

Danielle M. Peters


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

We would like to bring to your attention several new digital collections that have been added to our page on eCommons. We hope that you will find these resources helpful with your research.

Our Lady of Fatima collection: http://ecommons.udayton.edu/fatima/
In anticipation of next year's anniversary of Mary's appearances in Fatima, this multi-format collection includes photographs, postcards, holy cards, and more related to the apparition and devotion to Our Lady during the twentieth century. We plan to add additional materials to this collection.

Marian Library Study: http://ecommons.udayton.edu/ml_study/
Marian Library Study was a series published by the ML between 1953 and 1960. The entire series has been scanned and added to eCommons.

Marian Reprints: http://ecommons.udayton.edu/marian_reprints/
The predecessor to Marian Library Studies, Marian Reprints began publication in 1952. So far three issues have been added to the web collection, but work on this collection will be ongoing over the next few weeks.

New materials have also been added to the Marian Library Photographs collection to commemorate the bicentennial of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate (http://ecommons.udayton.edu/imri_photos/).


From the Marian Treasure Chest

Brother John M. Samaha, S.M., sent us the article below with the following comments: "Here is some information about Our Lady of the Pillar. It was at this shrine that Blessed William Joseph Chaminade was inspired to found the Marianist Family."

Our Lady of the Pillar, Patroness of All Hispanic Peoples, Woman for All Peoples by Brother John M. Samaha, S.M.

What do you know about Our Lady of the Pillar? Have you heard of her? Except for Hispanic peoples, especially Spaniards, and lovers of Hispanidad, she is most likely not as widely known as the Blessed Virgin Mary of other famous shrines. Yet her story pre-dates the gospels and was told long before the gospels were written. This is an interesting story, seemingly unbelievable, about Mary's first apparition in history.


The tradition tells us that seven years after the death of Jesus, on January 2, 40 A.D., the Apostle St. James the Elder, brother of St. John, sat tired and disappointed by the bank of the Ebro River in what is now Zaragoza, Spain. The people of the Roman province of Hispania (Spain/Iberian Peninsula) were not open and receptive to the Good News of Jesus and St. James was ready to give up his efforts to evangelize them. On that January day the Blessed Virgin Mary, still living in Palestine, appeared to James atop a column or pillar of stone. With encouraging words, she assured him that the people of Hispania would become Christians and that their faith would be as strong and durable as the pillar on which she stood. 

To remember the visit and promise of the Virgin Mary, the first Marian shrine was built around the pillar. And James began to convert the pagans of early Spain.


Many will automatically think this is just another pious myth among many Catholic legends and an interesting story for tourist guide books, or another excuse for celebrating a weeklong fiesta around the time of the feast of Our Lady of the Pillar, which is celebrated on October 12. Some will suspect this is simply one more occasion for selling glitzy, chintzy Marian souvenirs. Why would an enlightened person of this modern era believe such a story? Yet neither natural nor religious reasoning have been able to discredit and discard the story of Mary of the Pillar and relegate her to unbelief and something unworthy of genuine devotion.

On the positive side, it is interesting to note that the German Augustinian stigmatist and visionary of the early nineteenth century, Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, comments on Mary of the Pillar's appearance to James. With rich detail she describes the Zaragoza event in chapter 14 of The Life of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

Some, even with scientific reasoning, might dismiss any claims of sincere devotion of Marian devotees. The story of Our Lady of the Pillar does seem unbelievable, unless you grew up with it or have an unshakeable faith. Anyone who was raised in Zaragoza or somewhere in Spain, anyone who has grown up knowing Our Lady of the Pillar, is intimately linked to her as any Mexican person is to Our Lady of Guadalupe, or any Irish Catholic is to Our Lady of Knock. The same is true of Lourdes and the French, or Fatima and the Portuguese, or Czestochowa and the Polish.

The reality

For devotees of these and other Marian apparitions, Mary is not only the Mother of Jesus and of the Church; she is above all their mother--and our mother. Some might even be lapsed Catholics, but they will at least once a year on her feast day visit her church or pray to her.

Our Lady of the Pillar has a special place in the lives of many, not the least of which are those who bear her name. In Spain and in Latin America the name Pilar is commonly given to girls at baptism. At one time in Spain almost everyone wore a medal of Nuestra Senora del Pilar. Our Lady of the Pillar is also immensely important in the history and mission of several religious congregations and movements, especially the Marianist Family founded by Blessed William Joseph Chaminade in the nineteenth century. Her special relation with Hispanic America results from Columbus' discovery of America on October 12.

Devotion to Mary is something that cannot be dismissed simply with psychological and sociological explanations. This devotion goes beyond collective pride, national identity, and the need to belong. It is something more mysterious, something that transcends time, cultures, and even reason itself.

We learn to live with the seeming contradiction between reason and faith, between believing Mary is our mother and thinking all this is unbelievable. After all, faith is about love, mystery, and life. And those are real, even if we cannot understand them. Just because we do not fully comprehend all this and cannot fully explain it, does not mean it does not exist.

Let the thought and the image of Our Lady of the Pillar be a forceful reminder that we walk in the footsteps of St. James and the early Christians of Hispania in following Christ. May she be for us a pillar of faith.

 Perhaps the conclusion penned by Franz Werfel in his popular novel, Song of Bernadette, says it best: "For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible. For those who believe, no explanation is necessary."

 Our Lady of the Pillar, pray for us!


Marian Events

The Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary USA August 2016 Conference on Mary in Scripture

Date: August 4-6, 2016

Location: Mount St. Mary College in Newburgh, NY

Come and join us for three full days of thought-provoking, scholarly presentations and lively dialogue!

This year's presenters include Dr. Mary Frances McKenna, Chair of the Dublin branch of the Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as well as scholars from Oxford, Cambridge, the International Marian Research Institute, St. Tikon's Orthodox Theological Seminary, and Mount St. Mary College. A special panel of local clergy from Reformation traditions and a performance by the choir of Christ Lutheran Church round out the program.

For more information and to register, email esbvmeditor@hotmail.com.

(Please write "2016 Conference" in the subject line.) Registration deadline is July 15, 2016.

The Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary USA (ESBVM USA) exists to advance the study of Mary, the Mother of Christ, in Christian biblical and spiritual perspectives, and in the light of such study, to promote ecumenical interchange and prayer. Its aim is to show that in Mary, Christians of many traditions may find a focus in their search for unity.

Keynote speaker, Dr. Adam DeVille, is associate professor and chairman of the Department of Theology at the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, IN. His long list of publications includes Orthodoxy and the Roman Papacy: Ut Unum Sint and the Prospects of East-West Unity. Dr. DeVille's keynote address will shed light on the ecumenically controversial topic, "East-West Agreement on the Ecclesiological and Ecumenical Impact of the Dogmatic Definition of the Immaculate Conception."


Mary in the Catholic Press

INTERVIEW: The Voice of the Soul: Andrea Bocelli (Part 2) from Zenit May 19, 2016

Andrea Bocelli spoke with Włodzimierz Redzioch of the Polish weekly Niedziela. The musician spoke of his childhood, career, music, faith, and his relationships with the Popes, especially with John Paul II.

Włodzimierz Rędzioch- For several centuries, the West has been trying to separate reason from faith.  What is worse, it is believed that faith is incompatible with reason. You say you are a believer. Where is your faith coming from?

Andrea Bocelli- My faith was born in adulthood, when some existential questions became urgent.  I realized that making any choice, we stand at a fork in the road--one path is leading toward the good, the second--in the direction of evil. To live in belief that a fate directs it is not only not appropriate, but also not very logical and reasonable. This is elementary reasoning which allows a person to make the right decision, and the first fundamental choice that we must make is: to believe or not to believe. I chose the path that seemed more logical, which my intelligence, though limited, identified as a path without alternative. Faith is truly a priceless gift that I try to maintain and deepen, and it supports me day after day. I don't think that faith is contrary to reason.

Włodzimierz Rędzioch- As an artist and as a believer, you are very devoted to Our Lady. Why this predilection for Mary?

Andrea Bocelli- Mary is the road that leads to the Father, our Heavenly Mother, Comforter and Mediatrix. It is no coincidence that over the centuries music was able to sing, to pray and call Her through the extraordinary work....

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.

Faith in the Age of "Hyper-Reality (Aleteia) June 10, 2016

Depending on who you ask, the future looks grim--or awesome.

In the short film, Hyper-Reality, designer Keiichi Matusda imagines a world in which gamification, social media, and digital ad campaigns have all converged into a single visual field superimposed on your surroundings, officially blurring the line between the technological world and the actual world.

If this seems like science fiction, it’s not--at least, not for long. Augmented reality products like Microsoft's HoloLens and the Google's discontinued Google Glass promise to blend the virtual and the real in the coming years.

But Matsuda takes this concept and pushes it into something like dystopian horror. Click here to watch the 6-minute video on YouTube....

When she comes back online, she's told she needs to follow a blue line to a service station to verify her "biometric" information. But there, a knife attack in her palm sends her into a tailspin and loss of identity. She turns to face a statue of Mary in a doorway. "A new life has begun!" a sign above the statue reads. Juliana rushes to the statue to "start again," her visual field once again filled with vivid 3-D images and colors. She asks to join Catholicism by swiping the shape of a cross, and receives a completely different sort of punch list: confess your sins, attend Mass, be baptized, alms for the poor, charity work, spread the word of God....
Click here to read the complete article.

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