Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

“The circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter
were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit
should have been poured out on the Gentiles also,
for they could hear them speaking in tongues and glorifying God.”
Acts 10:45-46 [from the first reading for the Sixth Sunday of Easter]


The disciples are astounded. This is not what they thought would unfold. They were expecting the kingdom of Israel to be restored. They probably expected there would be healing, but joining together with those who were for sure outside the fold, outside of God’s plan for salvation?


The disciples are learning what it is to be a community led and renewed and expanded by the Holy Spirit. This moment in Cornelius’ household is a scandal. It challenges the disciples’ notions of who is in and who is out — who the Holy Spirit can be poured out upon, what it means to be part of the life of faith on this side of the Resurrection.

Peter cannot deny what he has witnessed with his own eyes. He asks, “Can anyone withhold the water…?” He seems to say: Who am I to withhold the grace of baptism from those who have received the Holy Spirit “even as we have”? God has poured it out. Of course, we will recognize it with the grace of the sacrament. 

In the two weeks since we launched I have been astounded. 

So many people are drawing near to this work: sharing deep stories of call, offering donations, sharing their prayers and words of encouragement, asking how they can be involved, showing up to Welcome Calls and meeting others like them who are ready to pray with their feet as we work to grow the conversation.


How will the Holy Spirit press us toward those we do not know? How is the Holy Spirit again joining us together in the life of the Church, formed in Christ’s body — the same body the powers put to death, but God raised up. In whose name people can be healed. From all division. 

Here, friends, is our work. To be astounded. And to witness to what we have seen and heard. Women called. The Holy Spirit poured out. Divisions healed. 

Casey Stanton is a co-director 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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