2012 St. Mary of Magdala Celebration Highlights Page
Below are the highlights from the nearly 350 celebrations that have taken place in 2012. If you would like to share your celebration, please email Liz.
We will do our best to post as many highlights from celebrations as possible.
Albany, NY July 23
Over 80 people were in attendance and fully participated in the 2012 Mary of Magdala celebration in honor of women's roles in the Church. MaryAnn Louison of Amsterdam presented a magnificent homily. This gathering was sponsored by CTA of NYS Capital District, pictures and video are available at http://www.cta-nys.org/.
The "Table of Honor", pictured, was full of items brought in by members and friends. The Items held special spiritual significance to the individuals and they shared their stories by writing information on cards placed next to the items.
Annapolis, MD July 22 Living Water Inclusive Community
Their fourth celebration of the Feast of St. Mary of Magdala highlighted women leaders in early Christianity, also, the Indwelling God who gives authority to a prophetic voice. Twenty-one people attended this gathering in a private home, a wonderful homily was offered by Gloria Carpeneto.
About 20 people gathered to celebrate Mary of Magdala with the St. Hildegard community, an Episcopalian feminist community of Austin. The service was a Celtic liturgy honoring women, and the homily was on Mary of Magdala. It was a great service.
Brazil, IN July 22
This private home celebration was on the evening of July 22nd, the feast of Mary Magdalene. For their fourth celebration, they gathered for prayer and then dinner. Seven women and one man prayed two litanies found in THE WIDENESS OF GOD'S MERCY: Litanies to Enlarge Our Prayer by Jeffrey W. Rowthorn. The litanies included: Women of Power and God with a Woman's Face. Psalm 16 was prayed from PSALMS FOR PRAYING, An Invitation to Wholeness by Nan C. Merrill. They then proclaimed John's Gospel Jn 20: 1-18 and shared some reflections on the Gospel and how it pertains to us today. Music included a piece from the THERE IS ONE AMONG US (Iona Community): I Love You Summon. The service ended with sacred dance to the music of David Haas-Peace Prayer.
Afterward they gathered for a Mid-eastern dinner. Upon departing each person received a note card designed by Mary Lynn Sheetz entitled "Women's Work." The artwork depicted women invited to preside at the Eucharistic table as part of their ministry.
Cincinnati, OH July 22
Sisters of many area Congregations, along with Associates and friends gathered in the Motherhouse Chapel on July 22 for a prayer service honoring Mary of Magdala, known as "Apostle to the Apostles" for her witness and fidelity. Sister of Charity Mary Ann Flannery, director of the Jesuit Retreat House in Cleveland, Ohio, was the reflector.
This, the 16th year of the event, celebrated the prophetic witness of women religious. Each Sister present was given a long-stem rose during the service as an expression of affection and encouragement. Refreshments were prepared and served by Power Inspires Progress (PIP).
Coachella, CA July 20
Friday, July 20 many gathered in the living room of a private home to celebrate Mary of Magdala. It was a lovely group, and they were very appreciative and welcoming, and they contributed a great many insights to the ceremony. Sponsored by CTA, and using materials from FutureChurch the prayer service highlighted the women who have served the church as deacons. This gathering was a beautiful and meaningful celebration.
Colombia July 18, 22, and 24
Several gathered at three ecumenical celebrations of the feast day, one held in Soacha on July 18, one in Bogota on July 22 and the last in Cali on July 24.
Corona, CA July 21
The St Mary Magdalene Catholic Community gathered at the El Cerrito Sports Park for their third celebration of the feast day. 175 people gathered for the bilingual service, which was followed by children's' games and refreshments. This family focused day sought to shed light on who Mary of Magdala was, and utilized materials provided by FutureChurch.
Members of the Monastery of the Heart group met at Mount St. Benedict Monastery. They gathered for prayer in the morning and were treated to a lively monologue by S. Maggie, OSB who portrayed the way Mary Magdala met Christ, how she responded and how she was changed. They were touched by the authenticity of the "performance." This was a beautiful way to connect with the holy women of the past.
Essex, MA July 22
A Catholic parish ended each mass with a simple presentation and an invitation to visit an information table at the back of the church where brochures were available, mainly from Future Church. This was their fifth celebration of Mary of Magdala.
Fairbanks, AK August 2
Sponsored by CTA Alaska, a prayer group gathered in a private home to celebrate the feast of Mary of Magdala with the fast of Martha and Mary. They chose to honor and reflect on the message of Christ to Mary and Martha (Luke 10: 38-41) as well as Mary of Magdala.
Falls Church, VA July 22
A group of 30-40 people gathered at First Christian Church for a service led by Bridget Mary Meehan and Peg Bowen.
Fort Myers, FL July 21 SW FL CTA
On Sat. July 21, 2012 fifteen people gathered at Lamb of God Church in Fort Myers, FL for a Mary Magdalene service led by Judy Beaumont. Following Judy's homily on Mary Magdalene, was a dialog homily. People told stories about their experiences with exceptional sisters in the US. Dedicated women religious have enriched many of the participants' lives.
Gainesville, FL July 23
A Prayer Service Celebrating the Feast of St. Mary of Magdala and Honoring Our Women Religious was held at St. Augustine's Parish and Catholic Student Center in Gainesville. 75 people gathered to hear about Mary Magdalene as a model witness for consecrated religious women. This Twelfth Annual Mary Magdala Celebration was organized by the members of the St. Augustine's Women's Book Group. In the Prayer service were the names of many sisters who have ministered in the Gainesville area and at the Student Center. This service was in the Gainesville Sun.
Green Bay, WI July 19
Resurrection Parish was a buzz in the evening of July 19th as 40 people gathered to honor Mary of Magdala. It was a wonderful event. This celebration was sponsored by the NEWomen (Northeast Wisconsin Women) group. The social after was a great opportunity for sharing.
Honolulu, HI July 22
Dawn Morais Webster was the homilist at the 12th Mary Magdala celebration organized by Dignity USA--Honolulu chapter. About 30 Catholics met in St. Mark's Episcopal Church to honor Mary of Magdala and others whose reputations have been maligned, including the women of LCWR. They distributed women deacon postcards and the service was followed by a potluck supper.
Excerpts from the homily are available on Dawn Morais Webster's blog: http://freecatholic808.com/2012/07/29/sisters-you-rock/
Juneau, AK July 26
A group met in a private home for their second celebration of Mary of Magdala. The gathering of 11 had a wonderful time praying and learning together.
Kansas City, MO July 22 Heart of America CTA
The spirit was electrifying as the Heart of America CTA sponsored Mary of Magdala celebration began. An enthusiastic group of more than 100 honored the Apostle to the Apostles and women religious with beautiful music, liturgical dance, and a talk by Sr. Carol Ann of the Keeler Women's Center. During the final hymn the participants stood and joined hands making a living chain as they sang.
Lakewood, OH July 22
Many gathered for the first celebration of Mary of Magdala at Trinity Lutheran Church. The service, led by Dagmar Celeste and sponsored by the Community of St. Bridget, included a group discussion on Mary Magdala at the tomb of Jesus.
Litchfield, NH July 25th
For the second year, members of the St. Francis Assisi Parish celebrated St. Mary of Magdala. This year's focus was Celebrating the Prophetic Witness of Women Religious in the Tradition of St Mary of Magdala, and utilized materials from FutureChurch. Each participant shared an experience of how his or her life was touched by a woman religious. The prayers and songs were beautiful and spiritually uplifting.
Louisville, KY July 22
There were about 100 people in attendance, both men and women for the 13th annual celebration at the Church of the Epiphany in Louisville, KY on her feast day, July 22, 2012. The theme for the service was "A Beloved Disciple". Sr. Larraine Lauter, OSU, gave the homily at the service. A parishioner, Therese Graves, did a beautiful interpretive dance to the song, "This Is Who You Are." The theme of the song is being a beloved of God. We used red eggs as a token for each participant and gave them a red card explaining that: in the Eastern Orthodox Church, a story is told about Mary meeting with an emperor who did not believe in Jesus' resurrection. He said that it was as true as a nearby egg being red. Immediately, the egg turned red. Afterwards, almost everyone stayed for an hour longer to converse and share what the evening meant to him or her. All in all, a beautiful service.
Organizers in Maine battled rain and geographic difficulties for their celebration of the Apostle to the Apostle. Acknowledging her role as First Witness to the Resurrection their gathering was held at a Catholic cemetery. It turned out to be a beautiful day and those who attended enjoyed a few readings, a litany of women deacons, and a short talk.
Manhattan, NY July 20
A beautiful prayer service celebration was held in the main sanctuary of St. Francis Xavier Church. Sponsored by the women's ministry "It Was the Women Who Stayed", there were about 60 people in attendance. Participants sat in a circle and asked men to participate as well as women. The service concentrated on "naming:" the negative and positive images/names given to women in the Gospels. Speakers reflected on the readings and rituals on the negative names they or others have given them as individuals and then what the positive "I am" is, relating it to God = I AM. For the first ritual they wrote in sand the negative name, received an embrace or healing gesture from another person, then wiped the word away. The second ritual was to write their name on a nametag and then write "I am ______" i.e. what want to be. The first speaker spoke about the negative names he had been called as a boy and young gay adult and what process he went through to heal from the pain of those names. The second speaker was an elderly and wise nun who is very active in social justice work and spoke about Vatican II, the positive work nuns have engaged in with marginalized communities and the issues around LCWR. They made use of petitions from the Future Church 2012 Organizing Kit and said one specifically for LCWR. People were very moved by the prayer service.
Minneapolis, MN July 22
For the fifth Mary of Magdala celebration sponsored by Dignity Twin Cities and Compassion of the Christ Community 20 people gathered in a Protestant Church for prayer.
The Netherlands July 21
In the Netherlands a celebration was held for the community. The organizer of the celebration, Sr. Theresia Saers, composed the prayer service and offered a homily for the group. For her feast day, July 22, Sr. Theresia also wrote and sang a special hymn for Mary of Magdala. This song got people discussing Mary of Magdala's importance. At their feast day service they paid extra attention to the other women that went with Mary of Magdala.
New York, NY July 21
This year small prayer group that meets regularly to chant Vespers in Latin in Gregorian chant decided to be a part of FutureChurch's Mary Magdalene observance. Gathered in a private home and using their own more traditional materials for their service the offered a unique witness.
Ontario, Canada July 22
A group of 10 gathered at Loretto Spiritual Center to celebrate the gifts offered by women religious. Participants shared stories of their experiences with nuns and how these women had touched their lives. The event was quite moving.
Palm Coast, FL July 14
25 people gathered in a Protestant Church to learn the truth about Mary of Magdala. The service was both moving and informative. Though it was their first time organizing a Mary of Magdala event, it was wonderful and included personal reflections.
Pasadena, CA July 22
An ecumenical group of 16 met in a convent to reflect on the gospel of Mary Magdalene. Those in attendance were enjoyed the service so much that no one wanted to leave when it was finished.
Philadelphia, PA July 22
A reflection from a participant:
"I was caring for an elderly cousin that weekend and asked if she would like to go to the St. Mary Magdalene Community to celebrate the feast. She understood that a woman would be the presider and she agreed. People there helped us with walker and assorted baggage and my cousin, 82 years old, couldn't hear everything but was content … She was exhausted when we got home and went straight to her recliner. I tried to apologize for having asked her to expend such effort because of what I wanted to do. She exclaimed in very definite tones, 'I've waited twenty years to see this day!'"
Pittsburgh, PA July 22
A convent was the perfect setting for CTA-Pa's tenth annual celebration of the Feast of Mary of Magdala. The service, focused on women in ministry, attracted 65 people and was a wonderful way to honor the Apostle to the Apostles.
Richmond, VA July 13
Three women gathered for prayer in a private home. They honored Mary of Magdala and celebrated the witness of women religious.
Saginaw, MI July 22
Despite soaring temperatures and no air conditioning, 40 parishioners met to celebrate the contributions of women in the church and particularly American nuns. Sponsored by Saginaw CTA and with help from their book club the twelfth celebration was a success.
San Francisco, CA July 22
In an effort sponsored by Catholic Women's Advocacy Group this parish highlighted women leaders in early Christianity, hidden women in the lectionary, and gave voice to Mary Magdala and other early women leaders during the prayers of the faithful. At all three Masses handouts in bulletin focused on Mary Magdala and other women leaders.
Sparta, NJ July 22
Many gathered to end the silencing of Catholic women and advocate for women deacons and give support to women who are being silenced or criticized in today's church. For the fifth year the Sophia Inclusive Catholic Community sponsored this event.
The gathering for the Feast of Mary of Magdala was much smaller this year. Only six members of our long-standing women's spirituality group was available to meet, but it was a lively evening! They were hosted at the Convent of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. In a lovely garden filled with blooming flowers, tall shade trees, the sounds of running water and very talkative birds, they were quite literally surrounded on three sides by the sisters. Their celebration honored not only St Mary but also the Prophetic Witness of Women Religious.
The participants' prayer and discussion were rich and full of first hand knowledge of what it is like to live the religious life as well as how it is for those who have been so powerfully impacted by the sisters, as friends, spiritual directors, teachers, coworkers and mentors. They spoke of the power of Religious Life on lives- personal, as well as corporate and gave thanks for the dedication and sacrifices of these women as well as their example of strength and humility.
St. Louis, MO July 11
Parish celebration of women religious. We held our Magdalene service last night, with a focus on honoring and thanking Sisters. We had a total of about 65 people with probably 35 Sisters attending. Our pastor welcomed them. It was held in our parish church and very well received, we think.
Ventura, CA July 22
A small faith community gathered for their third celebration of Mary of Magdala. This year's service was led by Cindy who also offered a homily about women in the church and in relation to God. The St. Anthony Community sponsored this event.
Westland, MI July 24
At the St. Mary of Magdala celebration on July 24, 2012 at Ss Simon and Jude Catholic community in Westland, Michigan, St. Mary of Magdala was celebrated as "witness," "disciple," partner" and "evangelist." Sister Carol Johannes, OP concluded her reflection on the feast in this way:
At this time in the life of the church, we also rejoice that many of our sisters and brothers among the laity are heeding a call to follow the path of Mary of Magdala in bearing witness to Jesus, risen and alive among us, and in taking on the task of teaching and preaching and healing in his name. The "Cloud of Witnesses" that religious and laity comprise today is neither hierarchy nor clergy. We are simply friends and followers of Jesus, as was Mary of Magdala. May we meet one another in the garden on Easter, or in the upper room, or walking the road to Emmaus, and in each place encounter the Risen One who will send us to "tell the others" and to announce in our own voices, " I have seen the Lord!"
They "rejoice that many of our sisters and brothers among the laity are heeding a call to follow the path of Mary of Magdala in bearing witness to Jesus, risen and alive among us" – and this Magdala celebration saw nearly 200 rejoicing in claiming their own voice. Indeed one member of Ss Simon and Jude parish expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to be part of the Magdala service because it celebrated her own experience of finding her own voice after having been raised as a "pay, pray and obey" Catholic. In his welcome to the assembly Fr. Gerry Bechard, pastor of Ss. Simon and Jude expressed his gratitude for his parish being selected to host the annual St. Mary of Magdala Celebration in the diocese. A number of Ss Simon and Jude parishioners joined the celebration and along with Call to Action members they fed the multitude in the "celebration" after the celebration. Dominican Sister, Nancyann Turner, OP recruited the planning committee for this event soon after returning from the last "Pilgrimage to the Archaeological Sites for the Women Leaders in the Early Church" sponsored by Future Church. Joining the planning committee were other Adrian Dominican Sisters as well as Ms. Marianne Bernard and Ms. Therese Terns of the Michigan Call to Action.
Whitehorse, Canada July 22
Last Sunday was their first event to honor and uphold Mary Magdalene. They had a breakfast (red eggs were present) and a Bible study. As a group, they explored what some of the extra Biblical sources say, and had a good discussion about the nature of revelation, ministry, and the longing for the divine feminine. It was wonderful.
A group of more than 20 people gathered in the chapel of Resurrection Parish to honor Mary of Magdala and help end the silencing of Catholic women. They used some FutureChurch materials for the prayer, namely the litany of the deacons. Women led the service and they had a wonderful cantor to lead the music. Two of the women offered reflections: one on a new book on Women Deacons and the other on the Resurrection scripture passage with Mary of Magdala. The group also processed out of our little chapel and gathered around the large baptismal pool that we have in the back of our Worship space and with the running water, washed one another's hands as we sang "Servant Song" and "Whatsoever you do to the least of my people...." It was very moving and each one took time -- no rushing. They returned to the chapel for the final closing that included a prayer for women religious.
Winona, MN July 22
The All Are One Roman Catholic Church gathered for their third annual Mary of Magdala service this year. The service was led by Kathy Redig and attended by nearly 50 people. The service was outdoors and was followed by a picnic.