Fourth Session: Wednesday, January 18, 6:00-9:00 pm, or Thursday, January 19, 12:00-3:00 pm

St. Phoebe School for Synodality: Growing Communities of Practice and Witness

PRESENTED BY: Discerning Deacons

Join us for these free training sessions that seek to equip individuals and communities with the tools to be protagonists in the church’s discernment, particularly about women’s roles in leading and ministering to a synodal Church, during the Year of St. Phoebe.

Did you know that Pope Francis has commissioned not one, but two separate committees to discern the restoration of women to the diaconate? Even more promising, in launching the global Synod on Participation, Communion and Mission, he’s asking each of us to contribute to the decision-making processes that guide that Church’s response to key issues in our time, like women’s roles in the Church! Now that we’re halfway through “history’s largest listening session,” we have a unique opportunity to catalyze conversation in our communities about women’s roles in leading and ministering to a synodal Church. In fact, in mid-September the U.S. Catholic Bishops acknowledged in their National Synthesis Report that Catholics across the country expressed a desire for women to be included in the diaconate, and called for more discernment about this and other pressing matters at the heart of our church in the next phase of the synod process.

Over a series of months in the St. Phoebe School for Synodality, you’ll learn how to assemble a team of allies, have strategic conversations with church leaders and other decision-makers, design and facilitate synodal discernment sessions in your parish or community around the issue of women and the diaconate, and report the fruits of your discernment through the synodal structures in the Church. Should your community discern through this process that it is indeed ready to receive women as deacons, we can bear witness to that discernment collectively in September 2023.

Each session in the series will be offered twice in a given month, on a Thursday during the day and on a Wednesday evening. You are free to attend any mixture of Wednesday and Thursday sessions that suits your schedule. While participants are encouraged to attend as many sessions as possible, you are welcome to join the series at any time for as many sessions as you are able.

Sessions are scheduled for the following dates and times:

  • November Session: Charting the Path
    Engaging church leaders and other decision-makers in strategic, invitational conversations about the Year of St. Phoebe
    Thursday, November 10, 12:00-3:00 pm ET, or
    Wednesday, November 16, 6:00-9:00 pm ET
  • December Session: Becoming Protagonists
    Making strategic decisions for your community in light of the realities encountered in your conversations with partners, allies, community members, and church leaders. 
    Thursday, December 8, 12:00-1:00 pm ET, or
    Wednesday, December 14, 6:00-7:00 pm ET
  • January Session: Gathering Fruits
    Designing communal discernment processes to facilitate learning and discerning about the issue of women and the diaconate in the life of your community
    Wednesday, January 18, 6:00-9:00 pm, or
    Thursday, January 19, 12:00-3:00 pm (rescheduled from Jan 12)
  • February Session: Sharing the Fruits (DATES TBD)
    Reporting the findings of your communal discernment process through the appropriate channels (e.g., Discerning Deacons, your pastor, your bishop, etc.) to ensure that they are considered in the larger ongoing conversations about women and the diaconate in the church.

Please contact Anna Robertson for more information.

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