Saint Mary Magdalene was a friend and follower of Jesus. Tradition and scholars do not entirely agree on what we know with confidence about her. However, scripture indicates that she was the first to encounter the risen Jesus. Her feast day is celebrated on July 22. She is the patron of contemplatives, converts and women. In 2016, Pope Francis elevated her position in the Roman calendar to the rank of feast and called her the “Apostle to the Apostles” as well as a true and authentic evangelizer.
In our Catholic faith, scallop shells represent pilgrimage and the missionary zeal of James the Great of Compostella. On the El Camino de Santiago, the scallop shell is used as a symbol of direction and is frequently worn by pilgrims. Evoking the idea of pilgrimage, the scallop shell is sometimes used during the administration of baptism and may sometimes be artistically represented on baptismal fonts.
We give you thanks and praise, O heavenly Father, for sustaining us during the past year and for helping us to develop knowledge and skills in so many different areas. Continue to teach and guide us as we rejoice in the gift of summer. Be with us as we humbly celebrate the beauty of creation and enjoy the days of warmth and light. Renew us in spirit and strength and keep us safe in all our comings and goings. May our time of rest and quiet awaken us to the wonder of your presence and love in the world and to your mercies which are new every morning. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
On July 24, we celebrate World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly. The theme chosen for this year is “In Old Age They Will Still Bear Fruit” from Psalm 92:15. It emphasizes how grandparents are a gift to society and the Church. Say a prayer for grandparents (both living and deceased) and be sure to recognize the gift that they are/were in your life. Consider spending time with loved ones in person, sending them a written letter or creating a special gift for them like a piece of art.