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Testigos
Sonja Grace
May 2, 2023

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.

I would attend church regularly, if we were all treated as equals with gifts to share with each other and support one another's spiritual journeys.

The organisation Discerning Deacons which promotes the synodal way, gives me hope that the Catholic Church could still be meaningful to those on the peripheries of our church communities in the 21st century. However, it is up to us to reach out with love as a disciple of Christ and be a credible witness of our faith.

In 1992, I followed a spiritual prompting to organise an ecumenical Mass for survivors of abuse in church communities in New Zealand. To meet abuse survivors' need for healing, I went on to write and publish the book, Garlands from ashes – healing from clergy abuse in 1996.  

I am currently working on translating my book into German and Spanish to give other cultures a hope that healing is possible for survivors of abuse, despite the deep spiritual wounds received from priests and those in authority in church communities, including nuns. 

If I was ordained as a deacon, I would minister to those on the peripheries of our society. I find ministry in prisons especially rewarding. 

I would also like to offer hope to all those who have been abused, including sex offenders who were abused as children. To stop abuse, we need to offer sex offenders compassion and understanding in a sacred, safe place, where they can begin their own journeys of healing.

Sonja Grace has served as an acolyte in Austria

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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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