As we celebrate the feast day of St. Mary Magdalene, Apostle to the Apostles, a special "resurrection garden" of signs calling for women's ordination and gender equality appeared on the grounds of the Basilica of the National Shrine fo the Immaculate Conception and the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops in Washington, D.C.
Similar "gardens" sprung up outside the Catholic cathedrals in Chicago and Philadelphia.
St. Mary Magdalene was one of Jesus' closest followers and the first to see the risen Christ in the garden next to his tomb. His command to "go and tell" the disciples the news of the Resurrection makes her the first person commissioned by Jesus to proclaim the Gospel.
Sadly, and outrageously, the Church has refused to follow Jesus' example of radical equality, relegating women to "complementary" roles and a second-class status in the Church. The Church has also long tarnished the prophetic legacy of St. Mary Magdalene, describing her as a prostitute without any supporting Biblical evidence.
A more correct analysis is offered by Jesuit Fr. James Martin: "Between the time Mary Magdalene met the Risen Christ at Easter and when she announced his Resurrection to the disciples, Mary Magdalene was the church on earth, for only to her had been revealed the Paschal Mystery."
To continue to deny women a role in sacramental ministry and decision-making in the Church is a gross perpetuation of the sin of sexism. To fail to include women as equals in ministry as the Church re-imagines itself in a post-COVID-19 world is an act not only of limited imagination, but of cowardice.
Check out our "signs of the times" resurrection gardens:
Check our Facebook page and other social media throughout the day for more photos!
We will continue to "go and tell" the good news that Jesus calls all genders to be priests. Please consider making a donation today to keep the "signs of the times" in front of the eyes of the hierarchy!
Happy feast day - may we trust in the ways that Jesus continues to call, collaborate with, and commission women for Gospel work. (And thanks to our amazing co-conspirators who "planted" our gardens!)