In the News: Jan. 3, 2017

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


ESBVM-USA July 2017 Conference Call for Papers Has Extended The Due Date!

Good news! For those who are interested in presenting at the ESBVM USA July 2017 conference, but have not had the time to put a proposal together, the submission deadline has been extended.

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.  The ESBVM was formed by Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Orthodox, and Presbyterian Scholars and is open to all Christians.

PROPOSAL DUE DATE: January 31, 2017

Conference Theme: Mary, Disciple of the Lord: Prayer and Holiness

Conference Dates: July 12–15, 2017 (Wed. evening through Sat. morning).

Conference Location: Misericordia University in Dallas, PA (near Scranton)

Submission Guidelines and Requirements:

The paper proposal should be in .DOC or .DOCX format and must include:

1.     Presentation Title

2.     Presenter's name, professional affiliation (e.g., university or church name), and status (undergrad, grad. student, Ph.D. candidate, faculty, pastor, etc.)

3.     Contact information (e-mail address, daytime telephone)

4.     Abstract (350-500 words)

5.     Equipment needs

The overall theme for the conference is "Mary, Disciple of the Lord: Prayer and Holiness." This theme may be approached through a variety of avenues appropriate to your field of study, interests, and particular Christian tradition. The following are some suggestions for different scriptural, systematic, anthropological, liturgical, artistic or historical approaches to help get you started. This is not an exhaustive list, so please feel free to add to it.

  • Scriptural study of Mary's "pondering" in Luke 2:19 or the Magnificat in Luke 1:46-55.
  •  Historical or systematic study of writings by the Early Church Fathers on Mary and prayer, holiness, and the interior life.
  • Historical study of Mary as a model of prayer and holiness in a particular tradition, such as Anglicanism.
  • The thoughts of Protestant reformers on Mary as a holy example.
  • Contemporary developments in Protestant thought and practice regarding Mary as an example of holiness for Christians, new Lutheran Marian feast days, or ecumenical Marian celebrations such as those at the shrine in Walsingham, England on the Feast of the Assumption.
  •  Commentary on a particular contemporary theologian or author who wrote about Marian prayer and/or Mary as an example of holiness.
  • The theology of particular Marian prayers.
  •  Marian references in the liturgy.
  • Mary as teacher of prayer and advancement in the interior life for contemporary society.
  • Mary's holiness as portrayed in the visual, performing, or literary arts

Please submit proposals to the review committee at Maura.hearden@desales.edu.

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

Medical Miracles program on Dr. Oz

Michael O'Neill, webmaster for The Miracle Hunter website, spoke with Dr. Oz about medical miracles on his television program. Click here to view the 13-minute video clip on YouTube.


From the Marian Treasure Chest

Brother John Samaha sent us the text below with the following comments: "below is a brief article about the poinsettia, our special Christmas flower. May we likewise blossom in the service of our Savior."

The Poinsettia: Mexican "Flower of the Holy Night" by Brother John Samaha, S.M.

Dr. Joel Poinsett was the U.S. ambassador to Mexico early in the nineteenth century. When he returned home in 1829 he brought with him a plant called by the Mexicans the "flower of the Holy Night." Today this favorite Christmas plant is named the poinsettia after Joel.

Story has it that long ago on a Christmas Eve, a poor youngster arrived at church in sadness because he had no gift for the Christ Child. Hesitating to enter the church, he knelt in prayer outside telling the Lord of his great desire to offer him a gift. As he rose he found at his feet a plant with dazzling red, spectacular blooms. This was the answer to his prayer, and he took the blossoms to the Christ Child.

From that point the attractive "flower of the Holy Night" became popular across the entire country. It bloomed annually at Christmas and captured for the faithful believers the very spirit of the season of the Savior's birth.


Marian Events

Event: Holy Fools and Wonderworkers: Saints of the Orthodox Faith

Date: November 19, 2016 - February 26, 2017

Place: Museum of Russian Icons, 203 Union Street, Clinton, Massachusetts 01510

Visit the largest collection of Russian icons in North America. Please be aware that this museum has many Marian icons.


Mary in the Catholic Press

Homily of Pope Francis for the Nativity of the Lord (Vatican.va) Dec 24, 2016

"The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all." (Tit 2:11) The words of the Apostle Paul reveal the mystery of this holy night: the grace of God has appeared, His free gift. In the Child given to us, the love of God is made visible.

It is a night of glory, that glory proclaimed by the angels in Bethlehem and by ourselves as well, all over the world. It is a night of joy, because henceforth and for ever, the infinite and eternal God is God with us. He is not far off. We need not search for him in the heavens or in mystical notions. He is close at hand. He became man and He will never withdraw from our humanity, which He has made his own. It is a night of light. The light prophesied by Isaiah (cf. 9:1), which was to shine on those who walked in a land of darkness, has appeared and enveloped the shepherds of Bethlehem (cf. Lk 2:9).

The shepherds discover simply that "a child has been born to us." (Is 9:5) They realize that all this glory, all this joy, all this light, converges to a single point, the sign that the angel indicated to them: "You will find a child wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger." (Lk 2:12) This is the enduring sign for all who would find Jesus. Not just then, but also today. If we want to celebrate Christmas authentically, we need to contemplate this sign: the frail simplicity of a tiny newborn child, the meekness with which he is placed in a manger, the tender affection with which He is wrapped in His swaddling clothes. That is where God is....

That night, the shepherds understood this. They were among the marginalized of those times. Yet no one is marginalized in the sight of God, and that Christmas, they themselves were the guests. People who felt sure of themselves, self-sufficient, were at home with their possessions. It was the shepherds who "set out with haste." (cf. Lk 2:16) Tonight, may we too be challenged and called by Jesus. Let us approach Him with trust, starting from all those things that make us feel marginalized, from our limitations and our sins. Let us be touched by the tenderness that saves. Let us draw close to God who draws close to us. Let us pause to gaze upon the crib, and relive in our imagination the birth of Jesus: light and peace, dire poverty and rejection. With the shepherds, let us enter into the real Christmas, bringing to Jesus all that we are, our alienation, our unhealed wounds, our sins. Then, in Jesus, we will enjoy the taste of the true spirit of Christmas: the beauty of being loved by God. With Mary and Joseph, let us pause before the manger, before Jesus who is born as bread for my life. Contemplating His humble and infinite love, let us simply tell Him: Thank you. Thank you because you have done all this for me.

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.

Events of Interest (e-pistle) December 28, 2016

The University of Dayton's annual display of international Nativity sets continues through January 8. Visit Roesch Library to enjoy four themed exhibits of Nativity setting representing the world's diverse cultures. Mexican traditions will be featured as well as the German Festival of Light. The first floor features a rich variety of Mexican nacimientos from Chihuahua to Chiapas. Click here for more information.


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