Women in Church Leadership
Women and the Word
Tell the "Good News" of Mary Magdala's apostleship at Easter!

New: Sample Easter Homily

Fr. Tom Faucher of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Boise, ID shares his thoughts on the strength of women and how they ought to be recognized by the church in his 2015 Easter homily.

Easter Treasures:  What is in John 20:10-18 and why ask? 

Verses 10-18 contain the crtically important story of Mary Magdala's unique calling to announce the "good news" of Jesus' resurrection.  Yet unless you attend Easter Sunday mass in Canada you will not hear that story on Easter Sunday or any Sunday. 

It is well known that Jesus' women disciples, led by Mary of Magdala, according to all the gospels were the first witnesses to the resurrection. Easter Sunday's gospel in the U.S. lectionary (#43), however, stops just at the point of the beautiful story of Jesus' appearance to Mary of Magdala in the garden and his important commission to her: "Go to my brothers and tell them..." (John 20:17; the newer Canadian lectionary rectifies this problem by adding verses 10--18.) In fact, this appearance of Jesus to Mary of Magdala does not rate any Sunday of the Easter season but is assigned to Easter Tuesday (#262) and is used again on the saint's memorial (always a weekday, never a Sunday) in July (#603). Peter and John's race to the tomb in John 20:1 -9 (#43), though, is retold every Easter Sunday, and Jesus' appearance to Thomas in John 20:19-31 (#44) is read on the Second Sunday of Easter every year.  Yet, as Ruth Fox, OSM points out, Mary of Magdala's story is omitted.  And we see an example of witness in Mary of Magdala's presence at the cross, the empty tomb, before the resurrected Jesus and on her way to announce this good news.  We all need to hear and experience this good news.

Download our ‘Easter Gospel Restoration Project Resource’ to help prepare you for a thoughtful discussion with your pastor about how to include all of John 20:1-18 in your Easter Sunday celebrations. The Easter Gospel package includes a sample letter, an explanation of theological importance of these verses, and sample homilies.

We invite you to take some time this Lenten or Easter Season to read John 20:1-18 with a group of friends. Read it as a dialogue, with each person in a part. A discussion of these verses provides a good read and a reminder of the consolation of Jesus’ presence. For a taste of Easter energy read and enjoy pages 211-223 in Sandra Schneiders’, Written That You May Believe, 2004.  

Let us know how you use these project materials - Our Easter Sundays will be complete only when we hear and receive the full Resurrection message and recover women's leadership along the way.

For more resources on the history and present situation of women's leadership in our church visit our Women in Church Leadership Initiative.