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.......There is a movement by the Catholic Church to unite the Christian Churches together. Pope John Paul II has put forth a dialogue for the union of the Churches in his papal encyclical "Ut Unum Sint." Pope John XXIII observed among the Christian Churches that "What unites us is much greater than what divides us.".......

.......In order to dialogue with the other Christian Churches about Marian Doctrines, we must first have a good understanding of what the Church from its very beginnings taught and professed about Mary. John Paul again stresses in "Ut Unum Sint":

Finally, dialogue puts before the participants real and genuine disagreements in matters of faith. Above all, these disagreements should be faced in a sincere spirit of fraternal charity, of respect for the demands of one's own conscience and of the conscience of the other party, with profound humility and love for the truth. The examination of such disagreements has two essential points of reference: Sacred Scripture and the great Tradition of the Church. Catholics have the help of the Church's living Magisterium.3

.......The early Church had its focus first and foremost on Jesus Christ. "Without establishing the primacy of Jesus, neither devotion to His Mother nor even the existence of His Body the Church is possible."8 In the early Apostolic Church, the first indications of any veneration of Mary was present in the Roman Catacombs. There is a fresco, found in the catacombs of St. Agnes, that shows Mary, with her arms outstretched, standing between St. Peter and St. Paul symbolizing that she was the "Mother of the Church.".......

.......If we look closely at Scripture and the faith of the early Fathers, I believe we can better understand the Marian truths that the early Church had a sense of and the ideas they expressed in extra biblical writings. The truth about Mary is made clear when we have the truth about her son Jesus Christ. God’s truth is timeless and as we come upon the Third Millennium of the Church’s existence, I would like to add the following prayer by Pope John Paul II who entrusts the Church to Mary:

I entrust this responsibility of the whole Church to the maternal intercession of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer. She, the Mother of the Fairest Love, will be for Christians on the way to the Great Jubilee of the Third millennium the Star which safely guides their steps to the Lord. May the unassuming Young Woman of Nazareth, who two thousand years ago offered to the world the Incarnate Word, lead the men and women of the new millennium towards the One who is "the true light that enlightens every man"23

Dean Perri, Seminarian, St John's Seminary full text

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