Giving thanks for the call of diaconal ministry at the margins

Members of the DD delegation with Dr. Serena Noceti (fifth from left) at the Jesuit Curia in Rome

On the eve of the celebration of Thanksgiving in the U.S., we want to take a moment to express our heartfelt gratitude to each of you for your commitment to ministry – with those at the margins, young people, the infirm, migrants – wherever the need for hope and love is greatest.

May this season of gratitude bring you moments of peace and a growing awareness of the profound impact you have on the lives of others. Your work echoes the teachings of Jesus, who embraced and uplifted those on the peripheries of society. Thank you for being the embodiment of compassion, grace and the glimpse of everyone walking together.

In this week’s newsletter, we are pleased to share with you the recording of our Symposium for a Synodal Diaconate, a collaboration of Discerning Deacons and the Women and Ministeriality Thematic Core Group of the Ecclesial Conference of the Amazon (CEAMA). The symposium took place at the Jesuit Curia in Rome on Oct. 18, and was our contribution to the vision of the renewal of the permanent diaconate that includes men and women for a synodal, missionary Church that goes out to the peripheries – a diaconate that shares the good news of the love of Christ and accompanies people in their struggles for abundant life.

Here are the links to the English and Spanish recordings, which included moving testimonies by diaconal women in ministry on the ground, Sr. Laura Vicuña Pereira Manso in the Amazon region of Brazil and Sr. Elizabeth Young in rural Australia. During the symposium Italian theologian Dr. Serena Noceti presented her theological reflection in Spanish, and prior to the symposium she recorded her remarks in English so that we could make it available to you. Thank you Serena for your generosity in sharing your remarks in two languages!

If you find yourself with a little down time later this week, I think you’ll enjoy Catholic Theological Union’s synod debrief with Synod members Maria Cimperman, RSCJAusten IvereighFr. James Martin, SJ and DD young adult delegate JoAnn Melina Lopez. They offer insights on their month-long experience of Conversations in the Spirit at the Vatican, including the dialogue about ordaining women to the diaconate.

Last week, Discerning Deacons hosted a synod report-back with members of the DD team. We reflected on our experiences on the ground in Rome and unpacked the outcomes and opportunities presented by the Synod synthesis report to keep developing as protagonists of the synodal path in our local communities in 2024.

Looking forward to December, you won’t want to miss the chance to hear directly from one of the first women to vote at a Vatican synod! Discerning Deacons welcomes synod delegate Dr. Cynthia Bailey Manns for a webinar reporting back on her experiences in Rome – Monday, December 4 at 8 pm ET / 7 pm CT / 5 pm PT. Register here and invite a couple of friends.

The journey to a synodal, listening, inclusive Church is not easy and has its measure of laments. With courage and vulnerability we rely on the grace of the Holy Spirit to light our next steps. On behalf of everyone at Discerning Deacons, we wish you a blessed Thanksgiving filled with joy, warmth, a little rest, and the knowledge that your efforts are appreciated and celebrated.

In gratitude,

P.S. Are you looking for unique Christmas gifts for colleagues and loved ones? Check out DD’s merch store with one-of-a-kind t-shirts, sweatshirts, totes, a coffee mug and even a baby onesie that spotlight the call of a synodal, inclusive diaconate! Click here.

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Organization
“This was such a great learning experience for all of us, and even more so, a chance to build momentum and connection.”
St. Basil's Catholic Parish
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Organization
“We are proud to stand on the shoulders of the many women who have ministered to the people of God throughout time!”
Holy Name of Jesus Parish
New Orleans, LA
Organization
“Learning about the history of women in the diaconate gave context to efforts to enable women’s participation in the diaconate today, and it was powerful to celebrate St. Phoebe and uplift the ministry of women in our own community.”
St. John Fisher Parish
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

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