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 have worked alongside many lay and religious women in my ministry who have exhibited outstanding ability for ministry.  Many have taught me by their example how to be a more effective minister, and by their instruction, helped me to grow in this role…It’s time that the Church gets in step with society and recognizes the equality of women in the workplace.  Women are as capable as men in the work of ministry, and have demonstrated the same equality in scholarship, skills and education as men.”
Fr. Joseph A. Genito, O.S.A
Pastor, St. Thomas of Villanova Parish, Philadelphia, PA
“If there were women deacons in my parish, lay women would relate in a deep and meaningful way to deacons who look, act, speak and feel more like themselves…Though I am an unlikely choice to wear the alb and stole, I have a deep commitment to service in Christ’s name and I try to live it every day. Any need that arises, I am ready to shoulder it, though some needs of our sisters and brothers would be well- or better-served by a woman’s different compassion.”
Deacon Bill Zapcic
Parish Deacon and Homilist, Retired Journalist, Tinton Falls, NJ
“Not only is ordaining women as deacons a restoration of the dynamism of the early Church, it is a matter of justice!”
Fr. Stephen P Newton, CSC
Executive Director, Association of US Catholic Priests, Notre Dame, IN

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