In the News: Briefs
Updates about the Holy Father and news from Marians Worldwide.
"Heavy sorrow" marks papal audience after attacks on U.S.
On Sept. 11, when Pope John Paul II first heard the news of the terrorist attacks on New York City, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania, he immediately went to pray, "to beg from the Lord an end to such fratricidal violence."
Then, on Sept. 12, he presided over a general audience like no other in his pontificate: an event heavy with sorrow, few words, and long moments of silence. He dedicated the weekly audience to prayer for the dead and wounded in the terrorist attacks.
"Yesterday was a dark day in the history of humanity, a terrible affront on human dignity," he said in a shocked voice to the estimated crowd of 15,000 pilgrims gathered at St. Peter's Square.
The Holy Father requested those present not to applaud during the audience. He was visibly disturbed.
"How is it possible to commit acts of such savage cruelty?" the pope asked. "The human heart has depths from which schemes of unheard-of ferocity sometimes emerge, capable of destroying in a moment the normal daily life of a people," he said.
"But faith comes to our aid at these times when words seem to fail," he stressed. "Christ's word is the only one that can give a response to the questions which trouble our spirit. Even if the forces of darkness appear to prevail, those who believe in God know that evil and death do not have the final say. Christian hope is based on this truth; at this time our prayerful trust draws strength from it."
Pope John Paul II's confidence was turned into an emotional prayer. From St. Peter's Square, all those present joined in a special Prayer of the Faithful for the victims of the attack, the wounded, their families, and world leaders.
All joined the pope in praying, "For those who are weeping in sorrow over the loss of relatives and friends, that in this hour of suffering they will not be overcome by sadness, despair, and vengeance, but continue to have faith in the victory of good over evil, of life over death."
(Based on a Zenit news story, Sept. 12.)
Marians gather in US and Poland to celebrate Founder's 300th anniversary
To mark the 300th anniversary of the death of Fr. Stanislaus Papczynski, the Founder of the Marians, members of the Congregation gathered for special events overseas and in the US this September. Events included a Sept. 20-23 convocation in Poland for young Marians from throughout the world and a Sept. 15-16 symposium on the Founder's life and legacy in Washington, DC. The actual anniversary date of Fr. Papczynski's death was Sept. 17.
The convocation for young Marians in Poland was held at the Shrine of Our Lady of Lichen, which is operated by the Marians. It drew approximately 120 young Marians from various countries. Those attending included young priests and brothers, seminarians, novices, and postulants. The celebration concluded at Fr. Papczynski's tomb in Gora Kalwaria, with Superior General, Very Rev. Mark Garrow, MIC, presiding at a Mass, which was attended by around 150 Marians and several hundred lay people.
"The convocation celebrated the memory of our Founder," said Fr. Garrow. "We did that by reflecting on our Marian vocation, charism, and role in the Church. During the meeting, some of our prominent Marians also shared their vocation stories with our younger members."
Around 30 Marians gathered for the symposium in Washington, DC, which was held at the Marian Scholasticate. Highlights included an opening Mass in nearby Brookeville, MD, at which Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington, DC, presided and presentations at the Scholasticate on the spirituality and teachings of the Marian Founder by Fr. Shaun O'Connor, MIC, of Pittsfield, MA, and Fr. Tadeusz Rogalewski, MIC, of Warsaw, Poland.
Due to restrictions on air travel following the Sept. 11 attacks, one the symposium's presenters, Fr. Casimir Kryzyzanowski, MIC, of Rome was unable to attend.
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