FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 9, 2012
FutureChurch Executive Director
Mrs. Liz England
FutureChurch Program Coordinator
Nuns to be honored as thousands celebrate St. Mary of Magdala
and work to end silencing of Catholic women
CLEVELAND, OHIO: In July and August, Catholic organizers plan to honor U.S. nuns currently under attack by the Vatican at special national celebrations honoring St. Mary of Magdala. The celebrations also aim to end the silencing of Catholic women and restore the tradition of female deacons in the Church.
“This year’s celebrations have a special power and poignancy in light of recent Vatican attempts to discredit U.S. women religious,” said Liz England, FutureChurch Program Coordinator. “Like St. Mary of Magdala, U.S sisters have also been maligned by male church leaders. We are really happy that over one third of all celebrations will honor U.S. women religious”
Nearly 300 celebrations will be held worldwide, including 29 international celebrations in Australia, Canada, England, India, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Scotland, Uganda and Zambia. Typically each celebration attracts from 15 to 500 participants.
“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. But for centuries she was maligned as a forgiven prostitute even though there is no evidence in Scripture” said England
“A focal point of the celebrations will be “unheard homilies” given by women who are not permitted to preach at Mass,” said FutureChurch executive director Sr. Christine Schenk. “At present, women's voices are silenced in Catholic churches. Stories of biblical women are omitted or made optional in our lectionary and women, indeed all lay people, have recently been forbidden to preach at Mass even though canon law allows it. “
“When the Vatican maligns U.S. nuns, its hard not to see it as yet another example of systemic sexism” said England. “If we restore the female diaconate, women will be permitted to preach at Mass and exercise at least some governance functions in the Church. This will begin a process of including women in church decision making,” she said.
Since 1997 FutureChurch has organized between 300 and 400 St. Mary of Magdala celebrations each summer. The prayer services work to correct the mistaken idea that St. Mary of Magdala was a prostitute, educate about women leaders in Church history and model gender balance in prayer and scripture proclamation.
For information about locations of public celebrations visit http://www.futurechurch.org/marym/celebrations.htm
For other celebration info contact Liz@futurechurch.org or firstname.lastname@example.org
Participants at St. Mary of Magdala celebrations will be invited to send paper and electronic postcards to Cardinal William Levada, Prefect Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as well as their local bishops. The postcards ask Church leaders to restore the tradition of women deacons in the Latin rite of the Catholic Church. For more information about women deacons, go to http://futurechurch.org/watw/womendeacons/.
“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 Jesus’ inclusive ministry was modeled in the early centuries of Christianity,” said England
About FutureChurch Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, FutureChurch is a national coalition of 3,500 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 for changes that will provide all Roman Catholics the opportunity to participate fully in Church life and leadership.
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