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21st Century Catholics Reclaim Faithful Witness of Mary of Magdala
Release date: 
Monday, July 7, 2014


Organizers worldwide have planned nearly 200 celebrations in the United States and 8 other countries (Australia, Canada, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Uganda, and United Kingdom) to coincide with the Feast Day of St. Mary of Magdala, July 22nd. This is the 18th year these international celebrations have been held as part of the effort begun by FutureChurch, a national Catholic reform organization based in Cleveland, Ohio.

“St. Mary of Magdala was a foremost leader in the early Church, led the group of women who accompanied Jesus at his death, and first proclaimed the good news of his Resurrection. She was not a prostitute as some believe,” said Liz England Program Coordinator at FutureChurch.

At present, women's voices are silenced in Catholic churches.  The silencing is not new as women of faith have been pushed aside, made invisible and dismissed for centuries.  Interestingly, at the most important moment of Christianity, Jesus’ Resurrection, a woman was commissioned to speak and proclaim the Good News. Jesus choose St. Mary of Magdala to proclaim his Resurrection saying to her, “Go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I have seen the Lord.’”  (John 20:18)

The focus of the celebrations around the world will be remembering the St. Mary of Magdala’s call to witness the resurrection and her role in announcing this core event of Christianity to the community.

The prayer services call upon the truth of St. Mary of Magdala’s witness that is at risk of being lost in Church history. “One of the reasons the Mary of Magdala celebrations have proved so enduring is that Catholic women and men are edified to discover that Jesus included women in his Galilean discipleship. Most Catholics mistakenly believe that Jesus called only men, when in fact Luke 8:1-3 tells us Mary of Magdala, Joanna, Susanna and many other women accompanied him in Galilee. The celebrations this year will provide further knowledge that the church’s inclusive ministry was modeled in the first century and it is time to live this ministry in the twenty-first century,” England.

More information about local celebrations can be found at:

To educate about women leaders and to model gender balance in scripture proclamation, FutureChurch began special international celebrations of the Feast of St. Mary of Magdala in 1997. Each year hundreds of events are held in mid July. Participants hear presentations by biblical scholars about early women leaders and experience prayer services at which competently prepared women preach and preside.


FutureChurch, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, seeks changes that will provide all Roman Catholics the opportunity to participate fully in Church life and leadership. It is a national coalition parish centered Catholics striving to educate fellow Catholics about the seriousness of the priest shortage, the centrality of the Eucharist (the Mass), and the systemic inequality of women in the Catholic Church. FutureChurch is a nonprofit organization that makes presentations throughout the country, distributes education, advocacy and prayer resources and recruits activists who work on behalf of its mission.