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Marianum's Contribution to Church

Interview with the Rector, Father Silvano Maggiani

ROME, APRIL 29, 2006 (Zenit) - The pontifical faculty Marianum is the only one in Rome dedicated to Mariology -- studies on Mary.

In this interview with us, Servant of Mary Father Silvano Maggiani, rector of the faculty, explains the institution's theological contribution to the Church.

Father Maggiani is also president of the Association of Italian Professors of Liturgy, consultor of the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, and expert of the of the Italian episcopal conference's office of liturgical celebrations.

Q: The Marianum faculty is a unique institution in the world. What pleases you most about this pontifical faculty?

Father Maggiani: I am very pleased to say that there is great appreciation and recognition of the Marianum by the whole Church. Suffice it to think that not only in the jubilee year were the rites and prayers of the opening of the Holy Door worked on at the Marianum, but also those for the Marian year 1987-1988, and for numerous celebrations presided over by the Holy Father, among them the rites of the funeral of the Pope John Paul II and the conclave.

Father Ignacio Calabuig, may he rest in peace, was president of the Marianum for 12 years; together with other professors, he made a singular contribution to the Church, with the writing of numerous documents of the magisterium, for example Paul XVI's apostolic exhortation "Marialis Cultus," and he collaborated in the formulation of some liturgical books after the Second Vatican
Council.

Q: Which important personalities have been formed in the Marianum?

Father Maggiani: The faculty has influenced the formation of the laity, men and women religious, and presbyters. Some of them have the responsibility to teach Mariology in numerous faculties of theology, in addition to being directors of some important Marian shrines.

Q: In connection with the Chair "Woman and Christianity," instituted in your center, what relationship does the faculty see between Mary and women?

Father Maggiani: In Vatican Council II's "Lumen Gentium," Mary is situated in an organic way within the mystery of Christ and of the Church; the conciliar document is the basis of the doctrinal and theological renewal of the study of Mariology.

Mary object of the merciful love of God that, made fruitful by the Spirit, makes her the mother of his Son, Jesus. Mary can enlighten every believer, and in particular woman as woman. From this perspective is born the Chair "Woman and Christianity," which has as its object the in-depth examination and dissemination of woman, in Christian cultures and in the history of the Church, with particular attention to the problems of women today.

The majority of the professors of the Chair are women. In this context, Mary of Nazareth is considered as woman, as person, as woman of faith and, as woman, she responds to the fidelity of God; as our sister on the journey of faith, her role is to encourage women of every culture.

Q: Is there a special concern for the woman, handmaid of Mary?

Father Maggiani: The Marianum has always been concerned about women, especially for the woman handmaid of Mary; in fact, from this concern was born the Religious Sciences course in the year 1968, whose objective was to give a fundamental theological formation to women religious, to those who serve in the kitchen, in day-care centers, in hospitals, etc.

The faculty's concern for the education of women is strong and prevailing. Today the experience of "Religious Sciences" continues with the education especially of women religious, lay women and lay men, in the majority of cases from houses of formation or parishes.

Q: Is this reality of the Marianum lived only in Italy, or is it spread around the world?

Father Maggiani: In the United States, at the University of Dayton, Ohio, there is a Mariology institute incorporated academically to the Marianum, and in the name of the faculty offers courses for a licentiate and doctorate specializing in Mariology.

In Mexico there is a Mariology center with two locations: Mexico City and Guadalajara, with friars formed in the faculty in Rome who are now teaching on their own. The presence in Mexico is increasingly important for the order; in Mexico they have a very important interlocutor, who is Our Lady of Guadalupe. In fact, Mexican bishops take into consideration the formation of the Servants, and they ask for our support and help to speak of Mary in a theological way.

The faculty also collaborates with the Mariology center in the diocese of Oviedo, Spain, at the shrine of Covadonga, and in the Mariological center of the Servants of Mary in India, and with the Santa Maria di Monte Berico Higher Institute of Religious Science, in Venice, Italy.

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