Wednesday May 17, 2017

In the News: May 18, 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

Updates

On January 30, 2017, our News blog mentioned the Tensegrity Nativity a special creche created by U.D. personnel. Since sharing that information, we learned that a three-minute video about the construction of this Nativity scene has been made available for free viewing online.

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

New e-zine from Radio Maria

The latest edition of the online Newsletter from Radio Maria is now available. It is in PDF format, 28 pages long, and in color. 

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From the Marian Treasure Chest

Brother John Samaha, S.M., sent us the article below with the following comments: "On May 31 we will celebrate the feast of Mary's visit to her cousin Elizabeth to offer her assistance. We too are called to assist others in need."

The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary: What It Means for Us by Brother John Samaha, S.M.

While the feast of Mary's Visitation to Elizabeth has been celebrated on other dates, the liturgical calendar revision authorized by Pope Paul VI placed it on May 31--after the Annunciation (March 25) and before the Birthday of St. John the Baptist (June 24).

Most likely the feast of the Visitation originated with the Franciscans in 1263. However, there is lack of certainty about the origin and the various dates that have been assigned to the feast. By the late fourteenth century the celebration of the feast was well established.

Theme of the feast

The theme of the Visitation feast centers on Mary responding to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to set out on a mission of charity. This is reflected in the opening prayer and the prayer over the gifts, and in the canticle antiphons for Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer. With John the Baptist we recognize joyfully the presence of Christ. The feast clearly celebrates the first chapter of St. Luke's Gospel. 

Church documents attest to the importance of the feast. In its Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium), #57, the Second Vatican Council states: 

"This union of the mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ's virginal conception up to His death; first when Mary, arising in haste to go to visit Elizabeth, is greeted by her as blessed because of her belief in the promise of salvation and the precursor leaped with joy in the womb of his mother." (cf. Lk 1:41-45)

Venerable Pope Paul VI in Marialis Cultus, #7, observes that in the "celebrations that commemorate salvific events in which the Blessed Virgin Mary was closely associated with her son" ... "the liturgy [of the Visitation] recalls the Blessed Virgin carrying her Son within her and visiting Elizabeth to offer charitable assistance and to proclaim the mercy of God."

In Redemptoris Mater, #12, Pope St. John Paul II wrote: "Moved with charity, therefore, Mary goes to the house of her kinswoman.... While every word of Elizabeth is filled with meaning, her final words would seem to have a fundamental importance: 'And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her from the Lord.' (Lk 1:45) These words can be linked with the title 'full of grace' of the angel's greeting. Both of these texts reveal an essential Mariological content, namely, the truth about Mary who has become really present in the mystery of Christ because she 'has believed,' the fullness of grace announced by the angel means the gift of God himself. Mary's faith proclaimed by Elizabeth indicated how the Virgin of Nazareth responded to this gift.

Meaning of the feast

The thrust of chapters one and two of Luke's Gospel is not simply a family event between Elizabeth and Mary. The Visitation is an event of salvation history. Elizabeth, a model of the Old Testament, meets the New Testament in Mary's faith in the mystery of her own destiny. But what is most significant is the meeting of their unborn children. John, who leaps in his mother's womb, is already anticipating his role as precursor of the Messiah.

In the Visitation narrative we look to Mary as model of the apostolate of the Church. She brings Jesus and a blessing on the house of Zechariah. The experience of the primitive Church was that the power of the Lord was the greatest gift it had to offer. To bring Jesus will always be the supreme norm of any genuine apostolate. The Church's mission is to show Jesus as wisdom and power in each situation of human need.

While the prayer after communion invites us to recognize the presence of Christ among us in the Eucharist, we must remember that the presence of Christ is discovered not only in the Eucharist. He is met in others, and He asks us to serve Him in others. Mary's service for Elizabeth by her visit remains a model for the Christian who wishes to meet Christ in daily life.

Liturgy and life nourish faith

Like us, Mary had to walk by faith. One writer likens faith to darkness and light. It is dark because we cannot fully grasp divine truth. It is light since faith brings us to truths we cannot know otherwise. Mary walked in the light of faith. God told her enough about His plan for her to make each new step. Faith is not only intellectual, that is, belief, Faith is also trust and action.

Pope St. John Paul II in Redemptoris Mater, #14, offers an inspiring account of Mary's faith: "To believe means to abandon oneself to the truth of the word of the living God, knowing and humbly recognizing 'how unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways' (Rm 11:33). Mary, who by the eternal will of the Most High stands, one may say, at the very center of those inscrutable judgments of God, conforms herself to them in the dim light of faith, accepting fully and with a ready heart everything that is decreed in the divine plan."

Faith means to say "amen" (so be it) to the word, the command, and the promises of God. An important element of Mary's faith is also common to ours. God speaks to us through others. We come to know God and His saving plan through people in the Christian community; for example, parents, teachers, preachers, and others. Revelation is not made directly to us. Except for the special experience of the Annunciation, Mary came to know God's will through others.

Mary's faith, which is praised by Elizabeth, draws her to the dignity of being the Mother of Jesus and still greater to being a true disciple of the Lord. Faith was not easier for her than for us. The contrary is true. For Mary it was more difficult to believe than for the apostles. She understood more of God's plan. Pope St. John Paul II commented that the expression, "blessed is she who believed," is a key unlocking the innermost reality of Mary. Being aware that this faith was difficult, involving deep struggle, gives us an insight into Mary's life and evidence of her likeness to us, sharing completely in the human condition, but without sin.

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Marian Events

Exhibit of Marian Art by Francois-Xavier de Boissoudy at the Guillaume Gallery in France

Theme: Mary, The Life of a Women

Date: March 23 - June 3, 2017

Location: Galerie Guillaume, 32 rue de Penthièvre, 75008 Paris

TimeOpen Tuesday to Saturday from 14h to 19h (i.e. 2-7 p.m.)

Click here to read more information in French or contact Aurelie Michel by phone at 06.65.65.49.36 or by email at via.culture.2014@gmail.com. An exhibit book showing the works displayed with commentary by Michel-Marie Zanotti-Sorkine will be published for this event by Editions de Corlevour.

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Mary in the Catholic Press

'Pilgrims With Mary ... But Which Mary?' Pope Francis Asks in Fatima (Zenit website) May 12, 2017

"We are pilgrims with Mary. But which Mary," Pope Francis has called faithful to consider in Fatima.

The Holy Father asked this question during his greeting at the Vigil at the Chapel of the Apparitions on May 12. At that time, the Holy Father also blessed the candles of the chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima.

Francis is making a two-day Apostolic pilgrimage to the Portuguese town of Fatima, for the centenary of the Marian apparitions.

The May 12-13 trip marks his nineteenth Apostolic Visit and twenty-eighth country visited.

In his greeting, Francis called on those present to consider who their Mary is, and stressed that "if we want to be Christian, we must be Marian." ...

Click here to read the entire article.

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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.

Catholic Bishops of Canada invited to consecrate Canada to the Blessed Virgin Mary (Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops website) April 28, 2017

The Bishops of Canada are invited to consecrate the country to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary as part of the celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of Confederation. Each Bishop is invited to consecrate his individual diocese or eparchy on July 1, 2017 or at another date thereabouts that might better suit the local pastoral situation. Similarly, a Bishop may choose to invite pastors to consecrate their specific parish or mission as part of the celebrations marking the anniversary of Confederation.

Later in the year, all the Bishops of Canada will be invited to participate jointly in the consecration of the country to the Blessed Mother following the celebration of the Holy Eucharist during the CCCB Plenary Assembly in September 2017....

Click here to read the entire article.

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