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Testigos
Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center
Seattle, WA
May 1, 2024

Our St. Phoebe celebration was an opportunity for us to practice synodality outside of a specific church space. We invited members from the community to spend an evening with us engaging with one another around the topics of women’s involvement and leadership within the Church. Our event began with a grounding prayer written by a local prayer writer, followed by a spiritual reflection given by a faculty member from a local university.

The main portion of our event featured a fishbowl discussion with seven different diverse members from the local Catholic community. Our deepest hope was that our conversation would uphold the synod’s intentions to deeply listen and authentically discern to and with one another. Following the fishbowl discussion which broadly discussed women’s involvement in the Church and the potential for diaconal ordination, those who observed and listened had the chance to participate in small group discussions to discern and reflect together. The evening concluded with inviting participants to engage in a letter writing campaign for the General Assembly of the Synod, as well as commissioning members of the community who were traveling to Rome for the General Assembly.

There was an inherent openness at our celebration that reflected a deep sense of invitation. We are inviting the experiences of all to be shared, and in-turn, inviting the presence of the Holy Spirit in our community. Many attendees remained in the space long after our formal celebration ended. This willingness to stay and be together demonstrated that we created a space of generative belonging. Our presenter did a wonderful job explaining the ministry of St. Phoebe and breaking open for us how our vocations are given by God and therefore cannot be taken just because they are not fully recognized by an institution.

St. Phoebe invites us to walk together and to continue to generously receive one another. This event was a challenge to our community to listen to diverse perspectives and to be willing to understand those defined as “other.” There is so much hope that the women of the Church offer all of us. Their light is holy and brighter than ever! We will continue to open space for and alongside one another.

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Organization
“We raised so much awareness from our event, of both the ongoing Synod and of St. Phoebe and her ministry. Together, we learned of the power of the intercession of St. Phoebe, and how significant her feast day can be to carry the message of women’s roles in the Church.”
The Church of St. Francis Xavier
New York, NY
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Organization
“The most meaningful parts of our celebration together included a standing ovation following the witness reflection, the power and strength of the reflection itself, and the procession at the start of mass. In the procession, young women carried in and presented symbols of St. Phoebe including an icon, the commission of St. Paul, a deacon’s stole and a pitcher of water to symbolize our shared baptism.”
Parroquia de San Bernabé
Chicago, IL
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Testigo
“Preaching on the Feast of St. Phoebe, and supporting and training other women to preach, was a joyful and invigorating experience. It is beautiful to see women claim the truth that they are called and gifted, and equally beautiful to see the People of God’s receptivity to women’s preaching, ministry, and leadership.”
Rhonda Miska
St. Phoebe Day Witness at St. Thomas More Catholic Community in St. Paul, MN; Founder and Co-convener of the Catholic Women's Preaching Circle; Catholic Women Preach Advisory Board Member

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