Magdala Celebrations Focus on Early Women Leaders
Early women leaders of Christian communities from the first until the ninth centuries is the special focus of FutureChurch's 2010 St. Mary of Magdala celebrations. These women are nearly unknown, but thanks to catacomb frescoes, sarcophagi friezes, original art, paintings and mosaics, we are beginning to learn and share their stories.
The prayer service was created by Robin Senior of Syosset, New York in two formats. One is a traditional communal prayer and one is a guided imagery where participants are invited to prayerfully imagine that they are present with women leaders such as Phoebe, Sofia, Veneranda and others. Quotations throughout both versions are taken from FutureChurch's Women Leaders in Early Christianity CD and Presenter's Guide available at http://www.futurechurch.org. Planners are invited to use the images on the CD to for vivid visuals of early women leaders. Visit www.futurechurch.org to download a free organizing kit.
It is not too late to plan a July 22nd celebration in honor of this Apostle to the Apostles. Celebrations can be held at any time of the year. Mary of Magdala and the other women leaders of early Christianity are certainly worth celebrating all the time!
Every year, FutureChurch includes not only a prayer service, but education and action components. The St. Mary of Magdala organizing kit provides a reproducible page of action resolutions. Planners incorporate a time for reflection on these action items so that individuals or the group can decide how they will advance the role of women in the Church. The resolutions include suggestions, such as "I will begin a Woman and the Word column in my parish bulletin to educate about women leaders in the past and present" or "I will become a FutureChurch local contact to advance Women and the Word efforts in my parish and diocese." Other resolutions may be adapted specifically to the needs of the community gathered.