In 1997, FutureChurch launched an international campaign to restore St. Mary of Magdala to her rightful place as the apostle to the apostles, asking supporters to sponsor special celebrations on or around July 22 at which a biblical expert would trace Mary’s unparalleled fidelity in accompanying Jesus through crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection. This would be followed by a prayer service at which a woman would preside, preach and encourage attendees to reflect on their own encounters with, and witness to, the risen Christ.
Annual celebrations of St. Mary of Magdala exploded after that, going from 23 that first year, to 150 the following year to between 250 to 400 celebrations worldwide in each year since. Every summer, thousands of women and men help correct an egregious injustice done to a great woman leader in our church.
This year, recognizing that horrific violence of every kind rages around us, we turn our focus particularly to epidemic of gun violence. How does Mary Magdalene’s story instruct and inspire us today as we seek to bring about change?
Through this prayer service, we will intentionally place ourselves with Mary at the foot of the cross as she witnesses Jesus’ violent death and remember those who have been killed in incidents of gun violence. We then place ourselves with Mary in the uncertain time between Crucifixion and Resurrection as we hear Kimberly Rubio and X. González speak to us through their grief and trauma in the immediate aftermath of their own experiences of gun violence. Finally, we join Mary as she sets out to the tomb on that first Easter morning to discover the Risen One and consider how Christ is calling us to join Mary as bearers of the Good News in a world so desperate for it today.
We invite you to host your own celebration if you are able to do so safely. FutureChurch has an extensive library of resources to help – including this year’s celebration guide, which provides everything you need – prayers, readings, and music suggestions – to plan your own celebration.