FutureChurch launched its international campaign to restore Mary Magdalene to her rightful place as apostle of the apostles 26 years ago under the leadership of Christine Schenk, CSJ.
The idea was as simple as it was revolutionary. Supporters would sponsor Mary Magdalene celebrations on or around July 22. A biblical expert would trace Mary’s faithfulness in accompanying Jesus through crucifixion, death, and burial and her privileged place as first witness and proclaimer of the resurrection. Following the lecture, women would preside and preach at a prayer service, empowering the congregation to reflect on their own encounters with, and witness to, the risen Christ. Celebrations exploded in those early years and soon reached 400+ throughout the world and continues to grow.
In the hearts and minds of those who gathered and learned her true story, Mary Magdalene was restored to her rightful place as the apostle of the apostles. And she soon became and remains an international source and symbol of hope for restoring all women to their rightful place in the life, ministry, and governance of the Church.
Speaking to FutureChurch’s legacy in reclaiming Mary Magdalene at Boston College’s Annual Mary Magdalene Celebration in 2013, renowned New Testament scholar, Sandra M. Schneiders, IHM said:
Much of the recent resurgence of interest in Mary Magdalene in the Church at large is due to the efforts of an organization called FutureChurch… One of its most successful and popular efforts has been its Mary of Magdala Project, a multi-pronged effort to educate people about St. Mary Magdalene, to tell her story, to dispel unfounded myths about her sinfulness, to spotlight her role as an apostle and first witness to the Resurrection in the New Testament, and to promote celebrations of her feast such as the one that we are holding today. FutureChurch in the practical sphere and Mary Magdalene research in the academic sphere have combined to make Mary Magdalene a virtual cottage industry in the contemporary Church... I mention this powerful grassroots movement because it embodies what is probably the primary reason for the massive interest in Mary Magdalene that has arisen since Vatican II, namely the potential leverage of Mary Magdalene in the argument for full equality for women in the Catholic Church.
We are proud to carry on that legacy year after year. And we hope you'll join us in being a part of the mission to reclaim Mary Magdalene: for ourselves, for our Church, and for our world.
This week, we are offering two opportunities to celebrate the Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene.
- On July 18 at 7pm EDT, Professor Joan Taylor of King’s College in London will offer an overview of the way Mary Magdalene is portrayed in film. She’ll topple myths and explore historical truths.
- On July 20, also at 7pm EDT, we will host our annual liturgical celebration "Rethinking Women’s Participation - Stories of Synodality Then and Now," which was developed by Kelly Meraw, Director of Liturgy, Music, and Pastoral Care for St. John - St. Paul Collaborative in Wellesley, Massachusetts.
We hope that you’ll join us for both! As always, all are welcome!