May the Lord give you peace!
In 2016 Pope Francis did something very special for St. Mary Magdalen. He raised her liturgical celebration from a Memorial to a Feast. St. Mary Magdalen’s July 22nd celebration day is now on par with the liturgical celebrations of the Apostles. Her status has been elevated and for good reason. She was the first person in the scriptures to whom the risen Lord appeared. Jesus sent her to the Apostles to announce the resurrection, saying, “go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God” (John 20:20). St. Thomas Aquinas called her Apostolorum Apostola, “the Apostle to the Apostles.”
As Pope Francis has elevated her July 22nd Memorial to a Feast, so we are making a determined effort to elevate her presence and intercessory spiritual powers here at the Church of the Magdalen. For nearly a year now we have been planning to make our parish feast day, July 22, 2019, the Feast of St. Mary Magdalen, a next-level celebration. We hope to increase devotion to St. Mary Magdalen among our parishioners and to building up a strong culture of parish life around her life, legacy and intercession.
This year’s celebration will extend nearly two weeks beginning with a parish wide novena to St. Mary Magdalen on July 13th. I am also excited to announce a retreat as part of our St. Mary Magdalen celebration. On Saturday, July 13th we will have an all-day retreat. The retreat leader is Jennifer Ristine. Jennifer is the author of the most recent book on St. Mary Magdalen, Mary Magdalene: Insights from Ancient Magdala. This is going to be an amazing event. I am super excited to share this day with you.
I have a strong sense that God is wanting to do great things in our parish through the intercession of St. Mary Magdalen. This retreat will truly be a unique opportunity to encounter the heart of Mary Magdalen as both a disciple and apostle of Jesus. Regarding the importance of St. Mary Magdalen as a witness to encounter in the spiritual life, Pope Benedict XVI writes, “the story of Mary Magdalene reminds everyone of a fundamental truth; She is a disciple of Christ who, in the experience of human weakness, has had the humility to ask for his help, has been healed by him, and had followed him closely, becoming a witness of the power of his merciful love, which is stronger than sin and death.”
Ad majorem Dei gloriam, Fr. John F. Jirak, Pastor