Posted in Jesus, Mary Magdalene

Honoring Mary Magdalene

Today, July 22nd, has been designated The Feast of Mary Magdalene by the Catholic Church.  Please join us in celebrating this amazing woman who became the fulfillment of Jesus’ message of love.  Please join us for the FREE online service which you may participate in anytime between now and July 20th.  Click on the image below to join:

Click on image to register
Click on image to register

Please also enjoy this beautiful reflection on Mary Magdalene and her feast day from my friend and fellow-Magdalene, Kathy Walczyk:

Last month the pope uplifted Mary Magdalene. He officially elevated the day of her memorial to a full Feast Day in the Catholic Church. In making this change, the pope calls her an apostle to the apostles.

In a letter announcing the change, a Vatican secretary wrote, this decision means one “should reflect more deeply on the dignity of women, the New Evangelization, and the greatness of the mystery of Divine Mercy.”

We get a glimpse of Mary Magdalene through the male writers of the gospel. What would women writers have said about her? About Jesus? What would Mary say to us, today, if she could speak?

Mary Magdalene: She walked upright, with dignity when she was with him. She carried her own light as she walked alongside of Jesus. When she was with him she was included and worthy of discipleship. Like others treated as second-class citizens, Jesus uplifted those deemed unworthy by society and by religion. Was she ridiculed and judged? Was she allowed to speak, and did she ask questions?

She followed him to the cross and stayed, when the others had left. She watched him suffer for she knew what it was like to suffer. She watched eyes look upon him in judgment, for she knew the look of judgment herself.

Did she sleep that night, the night after Jesus died? Was she afraid, alone, or in shock? What gave her the courage to risk the journey to the tomb?

At the tomb, was it tears that clouded her vision or was it the heartache of loosing her teacher, her friend, her savior? What was it that made it difficult to recognize his face? Jesus called her by her name, Mary. What if, it were one of us there with Jesus after he had risen? If he called our name, what would awaken inside of us? Would we recognize him?

She went on her way to deliver his message and her testimony. Did the others believe her? Did she run with excitement or walk with trepidation? Did the soldiers try to stop her?

We do not know what became of Mary Magdalene. Without Jesus’s earthly presence, did the others include her, uplift her, and give her responsibility worthy of her calling? Did she continue to walk in dignity and with purpose?

Today we read of Jesus’ choice in Mary. He elevated her not by curing illness but by asking her to serve his people. She is today’s example. She is an inspiration to people called to go the extra mile, to stay when others leave, to go against the grain, to seek out what we cannot yet see and to believe despite our disbelief.

 

KathyWalczykKathy Walczyk’s specialty is challenging you to see your beauty and potential. She facilitates this discovery by supporting your spiritual growth through one-on-one mentoring and group classes.  The tools she utilizes include Authentic Freedom and creative expression, including photography.  Kathy is also an advocate for spiritual responses to trauma – specifically clergy sexual abuse.  Her undergraduate is in Art and Photography and she hold a Master’s Degree in Theological Studies and Pastoral Ministry.  She has completed extensive study in the areas of spirituality, sexuality, trauma, and healing.  She lives and work in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  Kathy can be reached at wals4@aol.com or (920) 609-2657.  Her website is www.spiritualmiddleground.com

 

Posted in church, Forgiveness, Raised Catholic

Shining the Spotlight on Clergy Sexual Abuse

I was not sexually abused by a priest, but I know and have counseled many people who were.  I was not sexually abused by a priest, but I worked in the Church when the insidious legacy of priests sexually abusing children and having inappropriate relations with other vulnerable populations began to come to light.  I was also still working in the Church when the sexual abuse scandal exploded and other “sins of the institution” came to be known.

So, when I watched the recent Academy Award winning movie, Spotlight, which tells the story of the Boston Globe’s investigation into clergy sexual abuse, uncovering and then exposing the unconscionable cover up of hundreds of priests (249 in the Boston Diocese alone!) who had been sexually abusing children and the thousands of victims, I was already long-acquainted with the story, but was so deeply moved and startled by the true extent of the crime, I could hardly speak for days.  What I didn’t know, was that a dear friend, professionally a Lay Ecclesial Minister, was also watching the movie at the very same time, reliving her own experience of clergy sexual abuse and reflecting on her on-going path of healing.  Here is her response:

Original photograph by Kathy Walczyk
Original photograph by Kathy Walczyk

I watched the movie Spotlight five times. I cried every time. I cried because the reporters knocked on doors, they came in search of listening and learning. They came to give a voice to the voiceless. They opened doors of truth. In the middle of watching Spotlight for the fourth time, I wrote to thank them, the real reporters. I got a personal reply in six minutes. Six minutes!!!

I wish it were like this in the church. I wish the church had come knocking on doors in search of us, our story, listening with the intent of learning our needs, and inviting our voices. Greater dignity was lost in this lack.

And I wish all the walls of defense were not so high and the finger of blame would lower. I wish humility, responsibility, and a desire for mending and reconciling would replace what we have now.

I wish we could bring the sacred to conversations, uplift the holy in each other.

I wish the church could talk about the beautiful, sacredness of our sexuality, our life essence, and our lifeblood that is good, and is within every human. And I wish we could talk about how our desire for God, for wholeness is found through relationships with each other. I wish we could talk about how this same sensual spirit is creative and life giving. Without healthy dialogue of our human sexuality there will be no understanding of how sexual violence in holy places, by people wearing crosses, can affect one’s communion with God and with each other. Reconciling divisions will come when we can address this in a spiritual, caring way.

There is a better way.

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Read Kathy’s original post HERE.

Kathy’s artwork and poetry are currently on display as part of the “Co-Workers in the Vineyard” exhibition at St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN.  Learn more HERE.

Kathy’s work will be displayed locally at The Norbertine Center for Spirituality in DePere September 1 – 30, 2016.  Watch the Norbertine Center’s website for details HERE.