DaVinci Movie Out, Magdala Still In
By Emily Holtel-Hoag
Perhaps you saw The DaVinci Code movie this Spring. Maybe you didn’t. Perhaps you heard about it in casual conversation, watched special reports about it on TV, or read opinions about it in the newspaper. Now the movie has come and gone but the star of the show, Mary of Magdala, continues to inspire thousands of women and men who long for a Church and a world affirming the equality of women.
In more than 300 international celebrations, believers in the U.S. Canada, Ireland, Scotland, Puerto Rico, Uganda, Australia and Malaysia celebrated Mary of Magdala in her true identity as the “Apostle to the Apostles” and first witness to the Resurrection. Through prayer, lectures, interpretive arts and faith sharing, they honored a woman leader whose faith is an example and whose witness gives hope. (Celebration Photos)
For the past nine years, FutureChurch spearheaded an effort to reverse the mistaken idea that Mary of Magdala was a prostitute, instead celebrating her as the first witness to the Resurrection. With wonderful partnership assistance from Call To Action, we encouraged our celebrators to look to the Mary Magdala of the past as a way for women to be in the present and future.
“Today, our Church overlooks women leaders. Yet statistics show that 80% of paid lay ministers serving the Church right now are women. These are the women who truly follow in the footsteps of Mary Magdala and should be celebrated and recognized as part of her feast day,” said Sr. Chris Schenk, FutureChurch executive director.
This year, to send that message to Church leaders, we included an advocacy postcard campaign called Women Proclaiming the Gospel. “We're asking our Bishops to welcome women preachers, ordain women to the diaconate, and re-open the discussion about women's ordination to the priesthood, based on contemporary biblical and theological research,” said Linda Pieczynski of Call To Action. Postcards addressed to local bishops and Bishop Skylstad, the President of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, were distributed at many celebrations.
Celebrations in Atlanta, GA, San Angelo, TX and Lafayette, CA honored women witnesses who followed in the footsteps of Mary of Magdala, including, Julian of Norwich, Therese of Lisieux, and Dorothy Day. Our Celebrating Women Witness essays and prayer services can assist groups looking for special resources for monthly faith sharing or for educating younger Catholics (for more information and for teacher’s editions, go to www.futurechurch.org).
Gloria Carpeneto, an organizer in Baltimore, Maryland wrote on her celebration invitation, “With sisters in the United States and around the world, we will look to the life and calling of Mary to see how we, too, are named, invited, and missioned in our own day. May this missioning live on throughout the year in our work in the Church and in the world!”