Preparing for God’s unexpected grace 

"La Virgen del Adviento" by martyreo_xto on

This Advent season, as we prepare our hearts and minds for unexpected grace – God’s presence breaking into our lives in a new way — we’re delighted to offer several opportunities to engage in prayer, learning, and spiritual conversations as the People of God move into the continental stage of the global synod. We also invite you to consider making a financial gift to support the work of Discerning Deacons. 


Join us in praying with the women who lead the core group on Women and Ministry in the Ecclesial Conference of the Amazon Region (CEAMA). They will preside this month’s St. Phoebe Prayer for a Synodal Church on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 7 pm ET, and their liturgy will enculturate the spirit of the Amazon and the light of faith which women bring to many difficulties so as to illuminate the camino —the path forward. Interpretation into English will be provided.

"Phoebe" ©2018, Laura James


The document for the continental stage of the global synod has been released. What happens next and how can people of faith contribute to this stage? Boston College School of Theology and Ministry and Discerning Deacons have teamed up to offer a one-hour webinar, The Global Synod: What Happens Next?
Join us on Wednesday, December 7, at 7 pm ET for a virtual discussion on the continental phase. Hear from

Presenters: Rafael Luciani, associate professor of the practice, professor extraordinarius, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry & expert on the Synod Theological Commission and of the Latin American Council of Bishops; Richard Coll, US Synod Coordinating Team & executive director, USCCB Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development; and Maureen O’Connell, Director of Synod and Higher Education Engagement with Discerning Deacons & Professor of Christian Ethics at La Salle University in Philadelphia, PA.


We’re hosting two spiritual conversation sessions —open to all— to come together and reflect on “Enlarge the Space in Your Tent,” the document for the continental stage. We want to intentionally pause, pray with scripture, read aloud the sections titled “Rethinking Women’s Participation” (paragraphs 60-65) — and let it sink in: the discernment about women’s roles, including the diaconate, is now being brought to the global Church.

Register for the Wednesday, December 14th session at 7 pm ET (Spanish interpretation available) or for the Thursday, December 15th session at 12pm ET

We’re also preparing an offering for the continental phase: a synthesis from DD’s September Pilgrimage to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City with the delegation from CEAMA. We hope this synthesis can bear witness to what was a profound intercontinental encounter, and serve as a point of light in the ongoing discernment about what’s being revealed by the Holy Spirit, from the peripheries, for a synodal Church. The release date planned for this synthesis is December 12th, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe!

"Recíbanla, Receive Her" ©2022, Laura James-Discerning Deacons

Support the Mission: Become a Patron of Discerning Deacons

During this season of giving, we also invite you to participate by making a financial contribution. Thanks to the support of our benefactors, this year DD was able to live our mission to grow the conversation.  

We recognize that everyone does not always have the time to meet or to organize, so if you have been wondering how to express your support of Discerning Deacons, giving financially would be an impactful step. We are humbled by the support we have from people who give $10 a month or $5,000 a year. Each donation reminds us that we do not walk alone, and we are buoyed by your belief in our efforts! 

Thank you for supporting our work as we continue moving forward. Follow this link or click the button to donate

And thank you for all the ways we are building community together and all that you do in your particular family and local community to witness God’s unexpected grace.

In peace, 

Ellie & Casey

Ellie & Casey

Ellie Hidalgo & Casey Stanton, Co-Directors, Discerning Deacons

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“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
“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.”
St. Barnabas Parish
Chicago, IL
“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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