Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

St. Mary Magdalene celebrated at July 25 gathering

the Inland Register

(From the Aug. 3, 2006 edition of the Inland Register)

The evening of Tuesday, July 25, about 100 people gathered at St. Mary Parish, in Spokane Valley, to celebrate in prayer the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene (July 22). The event was sponsored by Call to Action Spokane. The celebration organizer and presider was Maggie Albo, of St. Mary Parish.

Liturgical dancers were directed by Jolie Monasterio.

Glen Griffin, of the Call to Action Spokane board, welcomed the assembly and thanked the women present for inviting men to participate.

The prayer service, or “Ritual of Truth Telling,” included sacred song, readings from Scripture followed by Psalm responses, an “Offertory Blessing to Live and Speak the Truth,” a “Litany of Truth Telling,” and a “Closing and Commissioning Prayer.”

Reflections were given by Kathy Finley, of St. Aloysius Parish, a pre-marriage counselor, author and spiritual director, and Sister Alice Anne Byrne, a Spokane-based Sinsinawa Dominican who does spiritual direction and gives retreats.

In her reflection, Sister Alice Anne addressed St. Mary of Magdala, asking, “What compelled you, Mary of Magdala, to journey with the others, the friends and disciples of Jesus?... What was there in his words that healed and encouraged the wounded souls of Galilee?.... We have to imagine because there is no Gospel narrative that records that you, Mary, a woman of means, a searching, seeking spirit, heard the same call as Peter and James, and Andrew and John. You, too, heard Jesus say, ‘Come, follow me... Come, and see.’”

Kathy Finley also addressed St. Mary Magdalene: “As we walk along the road of our lives, how can we walk with Jesus, too, as you did, Mary? What are the ways that we may be called to lead among those who follow Jesus, as you seem to have done and as many women after you have, from the earliest church on, most of whose names have been lost through the ages.... Although we don’t know what struggles you had been through, we do know that you knew what it was to have a wounded heart that had been healed, and you knew what it was to be able to minister and give from that difficult experience and from your empathy. . .”

The overall focus of the prayer service was to reflect on the roles of women in the church today in the light of St. Mary of Magdala and women in the early church. Prayer petitions focused on topics such as women being given more recognition in the church, opposition to war, greed, racism, and sexual and other forms of abuse.

At the conclusion of the service, participants were given the opportunity to sign an appeal from FutureChurch, a national organization, addressed to Bishop William Skylstad as the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The appeal asks Bishop Skylstad to support permitting “women and men to read the Gospel and preach the homily;” opening the diaconate to women; and reopening a discussion of the ordination of women to the priesthood “in the light of new literary and archaeological evidence of such service in the early Church.”

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