On June 3, 2016, the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments conveyed Pope Francis’ decision to elevate the observance of St. Mary Magdalene from a memorial to a feast. This change will be effective on the saint’s feast day this year, July 22.
The decree notes that since “in our time the Church is called to reflect in a more profound way on the dignity of Woman, on the New Evangelization, and on the greatness of the Mystery of Divine Mercy, it seemed right that the example of Saint Mary Magdalene might also fittingly be proposed to the faithful. In fact this woman, known as the one who loved Christ and who was greatly loved by Christ, and was called a ‘witness of Divine Mercy’ by Saint Gregory the Great and an ‘apostle of the apostles’ by Saint Thomas Aquinas, can now rightly be taken by the faithful as a model of women’s role in the Church.”
Like other feasts, the Gloria will now be sung or said at Masses on St. Mary Magdalene’s feast day. Also, a proper preface in Latin is given by the Congregation, and bishops’ conferences will translate it into their respective vernacular languages to be included in the texts of the Roman Missal.
In an accompanying commentary by the Archbishop Secretary for the Congregation, Arthur Roche writes of Mary Magdalene’s significance, and why the change in celebrating her day from memorial to feast is so appropriate today. Please see page 4 in this issue of Adoremus for the complete text of his article.