Photo taken at Santa María Tulpetlac Church, Mexico City

An Encounter that Continues to Reveal:
Our Lady,  Juan Diego,
and the Church in the Americas

Greetings on this Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe,

Discerning Deacons and members of the Women and Ministeriality Thematic Core Group of the Ecclesial Conference of the Amazon-CEAMA joined together to organize an intercontinental pilgrimage to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City August 31- September 5, 2022.

Fifty-six pilgrims participated, moved by a shared devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe and a living commitment to foster a synodal, missionary Church. Pilgrims arrived from across the Amazon –Brazil, Bolivia, and Colombia– together with participants from 14 states in the US, including delegations from Los Angeles, Minnesota, Chicago, San Francisco, Ohio, South Bend, Washington, D.C. and Miami.

We intentionally created a space where each person’s voice could be received and where we could become bridge-builders: taking the time to offer interpretation, intentionally connecting across differences of language, culture, and personal histories while centering the voices of women whose lives and ministry incarnate both the wounds and the gifts of the people of God.

We were knit together through our individual, personal devotion to Santa Maria de Guadalupe, and found an expansiveness under her mantle where we experienced a church that seeks to enlarge the space in our tent through inculturation and dialogue.

Through lively celebrations of the Eucharist, synodal dialogue, communal discernment sessions, and day-long journeys to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe and other sacred sites, pilgrims sought to live these core questions together:

  • What do the encounters between Our Lady of Guadalupe, Juan Diego, and the bishop reveal for how we are to walk on a synodal path together in the third millennium?

  • What is being revealed about women’s roles, leadership, and gifts for ministry for the Church today?

Today we share the fruits of these profound days of prayers in this synthesisWe offer it as a contribution, a humble but audacious effort to respond to the invitation of the Continental Stage to discern how the Church is being called by the Holy Spirit to rethink women’s participation, including for the ordained diaconate.

The movement and dance of the Mother of God draws near –the witness of those called from the peripheries to speak to the center and the moment we are in today in the journey to become a people, walking together, open to encounter and conversion, mercy and healing.

We give thanks for a felt sense of God alive in our midst and pray that each of us sense this presence in our hearts this Advent season.

¡Santa Maria, ven! 

Ellie & Casey

Ellie & Casey

Co-Directors of Discerning Deacons

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“[I hope the Church ordains women to the diaconate] to bring a wider witness and expression of God’s life, love, and presence to the people of God. Women’s voices and leadership will heal, encourage and empower the lives of men, women, and children. It will call forth a new understanding of church vocation and enrich Catholic family life.”
Deedee Van Dyke
Catholic Chaplain, Joliet, IL
“The first Apostle was a woman, Mary Magdalena. She continues to remain a tower of strength for women in ministry today. If more women were ordained to the diaconate in the Roman Catholic Church, I believe we would have more meaningful and spiritually enriching homilies, and our liturgies would embrace and welcome all to the Eucharistic table.”
Sonja Grace
“If I was ordained as a deacon, it would not be a means to an end, but rather it would be a continual invitation to a deeper and broader journey with Christ. Deacons are asked to become outwardly more visible as hands in service to the Church. To respond to such a vocation would be a treasure, a deepening of my inner faith life enriched by the outward experiences of ministry and service. Both the inner and outer journey become a longing to seek and know the Christ we are called to serve.”   
Nina Laubach
Student, MDiv program at Princeton Theological Seminary

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