Thursday, July 22, 2021

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Liturgy Celebrating Mary of Magdala - Presiders: Juanita Cordero, RCWP, Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP, and Joan Chesterfield

Welcome and Theme:

Mary Theresa: Welcome to our Upper Room Community. Today we honor and celebrate St. Mary of Magdala, beloved companion and disciple of Jesus.

Today we honor and celebrate all of the strong and courageous women who confronted the darkness in their lives and pushed through the darkness to recognized the Divine Light within. 

Today we honor Juanita who was ordained a priest fourteenth years ago on the feast of Mary and we honor all women who walked the pathway to ordination in the Roman Catholic Church.

We are grateful that Edwina Gateley is joining us today and will read a selection on Mary of Magdala from her book: Soul Sisters.  And we are grateful that Edwina will lead us in our homily sharing.

Opening Prayer

Juanita: Like Mary of Magdala, apostle to the apostles, we rejoice that our spiritual power to live the Gospel is rooted in the presence of Spirit within each and all of us. Like Mary of Magdala, we rejoice that our oneness with the Holy One frees us from rules, projections and expectations that limit our ability to be a radiant reflection of Divine love and compassion. 


Gathering Song: Women of the Church by Carey Landry 

Listen to Edwina Gateley read the first reading, Juanita Cordero read the Gospel and Edwina lead us in the homily starter:


Our First Reading Mary of Magdala from Soul Sisters by Edwina Gateley


This is an excerpt from the text:  

Ah, Mary of Magdala, they did not tell us your story.

It was lost, buried deep in layers of fear and denial, that such a one as you – female, fiercely loyal friend of Jesus - could walk so closely with him, never leaving his side even as you stood before the gates of hell.

What dread sickness was it, Mary, that gripped you with all of seven symptoms?

They did not tell us your story…. 

But we know your spirit was battered in a society which had no place for you.


Was your sickness then a soul-sickness, sister? Were the demons that devoured you, offsprings of despair in a patriarchal culture where your voice could never be spoken? Your words never heard?


They did not tell us, Mary. They did not tell us your story.

Could your seven demons be those very ones that reside still in your sisters, two thousand years later, cowering in shadowy apartments, brutalized by domestic violence and believing it deserved? Afraid to speak, to break the chains that bind them.


Ah, Mary of Magdala, were you also imprisoned by your story never told? Your story of the empty grave was dismissed as rambling – distraught woman-nonsense. 

How was it with you then, Mary of Magdala? Standing in the place of revelation, singular woman witness of the Resurrection? How was it to be so bereft and then be thrust, still weeping, into the bliss of the Realm of God, to run then, with that vision – that new of life – to those who lived in fear?


Ah, Mary, we your sisters (and brothers) need to hear your running and your story resurrected and dusted from the tomb of scriptural exegesis into the bright sunlight. We need to claim your vision breaking through dead history into our warm lives.


We, women waiting, need to find you, Mary of Magdala. In the torn threads of our own journeys, we need to weave you, Mary, sister and friend, into our lives that we might stir and rise, fluttering in hope of new beginnings, no matter how long dead we have lain in the ground. Ah, then, Mary, brave woman of Magdala, we too will run from our tombs singing our song of resurrection with you, soul sister, into the bright, bright sun.

Mary Theresa: These of the inspired words of Edwina Gateley, disciple of Jesus, and we affirm them by saying, Amen.


Gospel: (Juanita) A Reading from the Gospel of Mary (4:8-10, 5:1-10)

Translated by Jean-Yves Leloup

Jesus said, “Go and proclaim the good news of the kin-dom. Impose no law other than that which I have witnessed. Do not add more laws to those given in the Torah, lest you become bound by them.” Having said all this, he departed. 

The disciples were in sorrow, shedding many tears, and saying: “How are we to go among the unbelievers and announce the gospel of the Kin-dom? 

They did not spare his life, so why should they spare ours?” 

Then Mary arose, embraced them all, and began to speak to her brothers: 

 “Do not remain in sorrow and doubt, for his Grace will guide you and comfort you. Instead, let us praise his greatness, for he has prepared us for this. 

He is calling upon us to become fully human.

Thus, Mary turned their hearts toward the Good, (The Holy One) and they began to discuss the meaning of Jesus’ words.

These are sacred words from the Gospel of Mary, and we affirm them by saying:

 All: Amen.

Homily Starter: Edwina Gateley


Mary Theresa: Please join in proclaiming our Statement of Faith.

Denise: We believe in the Holy One, a divine mystery
beyond all definition and rational understanding,
the heart of all that has ever existed,
that exists now, or that ever will exist.

Julie: We believe in Jesus, messenger of the Divine Word,
bringer of healing, heart of Divine compassion,
bright star in the firmament of the Holy One's
prophets, mystics, and saints.

Denise: We believe that We are called to follow Jesus
as a vehicle of divine love,
a source of wisdom and truth,
and an instrument of peace in the world.

Julie: We believe in the Spirit of the Holy One,
the life that is our innermost life,
the breath moving in our being,
the depth living in each of us.

Denise: We believe that the Divine kin-dom is here and now,
stretched out all around us for those
with eyes to see it, hearts to receive it,
and hands to make it happen.


Mary Theresa: As we prepare for this sacred meal, we are aware of our call to serve, and just as Jesus is anointed, so is each of us. We bring to this table our blessings, cares and concerns.

We pray for these and all unspoken concerns. Amen.

Mary Theresa: With open hands and hearts, let us pray together our Eucharistic prayer: 

O Nurturing, Mothering One, You are always with us. We are grateful for Your constant loving and unconditional presence. You give us life, and we live and breathe with your Spirit. You create us female and male; You call us good, and we live as equal partners. You share the earth with us, and we, as co-creators with you, complement your ongoing activity of creation.

Joan: O Heart of Love, Your Spirit moved through Mary of Magdala as she taught us that we are in continuous communion with you. Your Spirit moves through the love within us, expanding in widening circles to embrace all people and creation in our evolving universe. United with all our blessed ancestors, with Mary of Magdala and all women and men who confronted the structures of oppression in their times with unique vision and compassion, we sing: 

Holy, Holy, Holy by Karen Drucker (adapted) 

Juanita: We give grateful thanks for all your faithful servants, opening for all of us a path to life.

Please extend your hands in blessing.

Your Spirit is in us and among us at this Eucharistic table.  We are grateful for this bread and wine which reminds us of our call to be the body of Christ in the world. 

We thank you for Jesus, simple servant, lifting up the lowly, revealing you as God-With-Us, revealing us as one with you, and all creation. He had nothing in this world but your love, companions on the journey, and his very self. Together, that was more than enough.

On the night before he died, Jesus came to the table with the women and men he loved.  He reminded them of all that he taught them, and to fix that memory clearly within them, he bent down and washed their feet.

(All lift their plates and pray the following) 

Back at the table, Jesus took the Passover Bread, spoke the grace, broke the bread and offered it to them saying, Take and eat, this is my very self.

(All lift their cups and pray the following)

Mary Theresa: Then he took the cup of blessing, spoke the grace, and offered it to them saying:

Take and drink of the covenant

Made new again through my life in you.

Whenever you remember me like this,

I am among you.

What we have heard with our ears, we will live with our lives, 

As we share communion, we become communion, both Love’s nourishment and Love’s challenge.

Please receive communion with the words: The Divine Spirit is within me. 

Communion Meditation: Courageous Women by Jan Novotka


Joan: O Divine Love, your transforming energy is within us and just as you called Mary of Magdala, you also call us to go forth and to tell the Good News.  

We pray for wise leaders in our religious communities. We pray for courageous and compassionate leaders in our world communities.  

We pray for all of us gathered here and like Jesus, we open ourselves up to your Spirit, for it is through living as he lived that we awaken to your Spirit within, 

moving us to glorify you, at this time and all ways.


Joan: Let us pray as Jesus taught us:

Holy One, you are within, around and among us.  

We celebrate your many names. 

Your wisdom come; your will be done, 

unfolding from the depths within us. 

Each day you give us all that we need. 

You remind us of our limits and we let go. 

You support us in our power, and we act with courage. 

For you are the dwelling place within us, 

the empowerment around us, 

and the celebration among us,  

now and forever, Amen.  

                                Adapted by Miriam Therese Winter 


Mary Theresa: Please raise your hands in blessing: 

May our lives radiate the love of the Holy One. 

May we live justice and equality in our church and world.  

May Mary of Magdala be our model of courage and faithful service.  

May we be a blessing in our time. Amen.

Mary Theresa: Our closing song is Women Spirit by Karen Drucker  - A tribute to all strong and courageous women.  

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