Marianist conference to open today at arena


September 16, 1994|By Reported by Frank P. L. Somerville

Discussions of the honored place of the Virgin Mary in Roman Catholic theology, a procession of teen-agers through downtown Baltimore reciting the rosary and a Pontifical Mass to prepare for the pope's visit will be part of the National Marianist Conference beginning in the city this afternoon.

Registration starts at noon at the Baltimore Arena for the four days of prayers, Masses, sacred music, sermons, lectures, films and study.

The focus will be on a renewed interest in devotions to Mary, the mother of Jesus, among Catholics around the world.

Baltimore's often noisy sports arena will be turned into a quiet, dimly lighted church for the worship, and vendors in the corridors will sell publications, pictures and other items -- most with Mary as their subject.

As part of the conference, a youth rally is planned tomorrow at the Omni Inner Harbor Hotel. Teen-agers will carry portable radios and listen to an unprecedented broadcast of the rosary by WIYY-FM, the local station known as 98 Rock, during a procession from the hotel to the Basilica of the Assumption for a Mass.

The Marian events will conclude Monday with a bus trip to the Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg.

Welcoming remarks at 2:40 p.m. today by M. Jenkins Cromwell Jr., a Baltimore businessman who helped to organize the conference, will be followed by prayers, hymns and an opening Mass celebrated by Baltimore Auxiliary Bishop John H. Ricard. At 8 p.m., the Rev. Walter J. Burghardt, S. J., a Catholic preacher, author and theologian, will speak on "Mary, the Female Face of God."

Among tomorrow's speakers is Cardinal Lucas Moreira Neves of Brazil. A scheduled appearance by Mary Cunningham Agee, founder of the Nurturing Network, which assists unwed mothers, was canceled yesterday. She will speak in Baltimore next month instead, a spokesman said.

Mrs. Agee attracted wide press attention in the 1980s as a young vice president of the Bendix Corp. who married its chairman.

Also on the program tomorrow are Wayne Weible and Lisa Weible Militello, converts to Catholicism who will talk about their pilgrimages to the Marian shrine at Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

"The Papal Visit" -- Pope John Paul II's scheduled trip to Baltimore Oct. 23 -- will be the subject of remarks Sunday morning by Archbishop William H. Keeler, who will be the principal celebrant and preacher at a Pontifical Mass beginning at 12:15 p.m.

Information: 321-5895.

Appeal to the president

In a letter signed by the Rev. Ed Heim, co-chairman of the Central Maryland Ecumenical Council, the Baltimore-based organization of clergy and laity of many Christian denominations has urged President Clinton not to invade Haiti.

"Violence begets violence," the letter said. "A horrible situation will become worse for Haitians."

Recommending the "freezing or seizing of assets" of decision-makers in Haiti, the ecumenical group said, "Increasing real economic pressure on the elite holds more promise of result than violence against those least able to live with the aftermath."

Information: 467-6194.

Move celebrated

Zion Baptist Church of Christ has moved to its new location at 1717 Broening Highway in Baltimore.

Information: 388-7889.

Religion and ecology

"Spirit of the Earth" is the subject of a symposium from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow at the Newman Center of Towson State University, 7909 York Road in Towson. Information: 828-0622.

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