Updated: Mar 7
Media Release, 23 August, 2021 Despite Covid-19, the Archdiocesan Catholic Women’s Taskforce is pressing ahead with an event to celebrate women’s ministry in the Catholic Church. Originally, the Taskforce had organised to host an Inaugural Dinner at the Canberra Southern Cross Club to celebrate the Feast of St Mary Magdalene, however, after postponing the event due to COVID lockdowns, they decided they wanted to work toward building community online. Designed to restore the maligned St Mary Magdalene to her proper place as ‘apostle to the apostles’ the free interactive Zoom Seminar will be open to all, running for 90 minutes from 7-8:30pm on Friday 3 September. Guest speaker, Dr Margaret Beirne RSC, a Sister of Charity with experience that ranges from secondary maths teaching to scripture study in Jerusalem, now holds the position of Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies at St Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Theological College in Sydney.
Margaret’s expertise in Mary Magdalene developed during her doctoral research into the “gender pairs” of characters, including Mary Magdalene and Thomas in the Gospel of John. The members of each pair are portrayed in a parallel or contrasting faith encounter with Jesus, which is of substantial theological importance.
Margaret’s thesis was published as Women and Men in the Fourth Gospel, a Genuine Discipleship of Equals.
Katie Walsh-Smith, a member of the taskforce and mother of four, is passionate about seeing greater opportunities for women in the Catholic Church. “Recently, I encouraged my daughter to become an altar server because I know that there will be limited formal roles for her within the Church as she matures. Sometimes I feel like we get the crumbs from the table. I hope this event helps educate us about what equality, rather than complementarity, in the Church could mean.” Jude Stuart, a new member of the taskforce and recently retired Principal of Mulwaree High School, said “We will endeavour to make this Zoom seminar an opportunity to connect with other men and women who might be feeling discouraged because of the lockdown. Anyone who is keen to develop a knowledge of scripture will come away inspired by the richness of the Gospel and by the figure of Mary Magdalene.”
Donations are welcome and will go toward the Archdiocesan Women’s Taskforce’s work and to provide an honorarium for Sr Margaret. Register at https://bit.ly/ZoomWorkshopMaryM or phone Beth Doherty on 0432 608 310 to book your ticket.