Happy Mary Magdalene Feast Day!


By Kate Dugan

When I was in college, I fell in love with the Dave Matthew’s Band song “The Christmas Song.” I can remember cranking the song up on my dorm room, imagining “love love love love love was all around” and that DMB sang about was the love between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Long before The DaVinci Code, I loved re-imagining the personal life of Jesus.

This Wednesday—July 22—was the feast day of Mary Magdalene. Last Sunday, I joined the local CTA group’s celebration of this rather ambivalent Catholic saint. We held a small liturgy, marking the day. We prayed that the Vatican open its liturgical readings to include more women. We encouraged a local woman who was recently ordained as a transitional deacon on the Roman Catholic Womanpriest Movement. We ate a potluck lunch and enjoyed a beautiful day in South Puget Sound.

When I woke up on Sunday morning, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go. I have grown slightly weary of celebrations such as these—where others feel hope, I often feel discouragement; saddened by such positive energy being thrown at an institution that sometimes does not deserve it. But this one was beautiful. I felt happy to be surrounded by these people, and earnestly hopeful about what it means to call myself Catholic. I was buoyed to keep, as Eileen Markey describes in her From the Pews in the Back essay, my Catholic membership card scotch-taped together.

To close the liturgy, the transitional deacon—the future womanpriest—spoke briefly, but powerfully. She described one of her reasons for becoming a priest is to minister to people who feel Catholic in their bones, but who live in the margins of the Church. This modern-day Mary Magdalene described exactly what I often wonder is possible to find in formal Catholicism.

Mary Magdalene inspires me to keep looking, to find ways to see the “Love love love, Love love…all around” me…including in the Church.

Kate Dugan is a co-editor of From the Pews in the Back and misses seeing cassette tapes labeled “I love Dave Matthews!!” laying around.

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One Response

  1. I am all about reimagining Jesus’ personal life, interpreting pop songs to be about God, and Mary Magdalene, so I just loved this post. 🙂

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