DD making waves at Religious Education Congress!

Friends and colleagues drop by the DD booth at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress.

Friends and colleagues drop by the DD booth at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress.

March 30, 2022

Discerning Deacons recently hosted a booth at the annual Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. This year’s annual conference drew about 5,000 in-person participants, much fewer than in years past, but a good start to re-imagining an in-person conference since the pandemic began.

A special thank you to Rosa Bonilla, Yolanda Brown, Anne Hansen, and Lori Stanley for joining me to staff the booth March 18-20. We spoke with scores of people – friends, colleagues, deacons, wives of deacons, priests, novices, religious, lay women and men, even a bishop. Many were eager to talk with us about the Church’s current discernment around women and the diaconate, and many were new to the conversation. The energy was palpable as we engaged in spontaneous conversations and diverse encounters over three days.

We gave out hundreds of postcards of the image of St. Phoebe created by Laura James. We shared written materials like our primer on the Catholic Church’s discernment of women and the diaconate; the in-depth interview study of U.S. Catholic women, Called to Contribute; the Gathering the Fruits synthesis report from our 2021 spring and summer parish and house meetings which we delivered to Rome last fall; and our current work to contribute to the global synod process. We subscribed many new people to our newsletter – Welcome!

We promoted a new book by Phyllis Zagano and published by Paulist Press, Women Religious, Women Deacons: Questions and Answers, as well as the St. Phoebe note cards carried by Cards by Anne.

Looking ahead, we invite you to register for “An Evening Service of Lament for Holy Week” taking place Tuesday, April 12 at 8 pm ET / 5 pm PST. More information below.

And save the dates for our Discerning Deacons National Synod Consultations taking place Wednesday, May 11, from 12-3 pm ET and Sunday May 15, from 3-6 pm ET.

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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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