Rebuilding our Church by renewing diakonia

Many thanks to the more than 1,000 people and the half dozen watch parties who participated in our April 29th webinar Discerning Diakonia! We welcomed participants from the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia. If you were not able to join us, you can watch the recording here in English or Spanish.  

Several members of the Synod Assembly joined us as a listening presence, including Deacon Geert de Cubber, Belgium; Drs. Cynthia Bailey Manns and Tricia Bruce, U.S.; Sr. Elizabeth Davis, RSM, Canada; Sr. Maria de los Dolores Palencia, CSJ, Mexico, and Sr. Daniela Cannavina, CMR, Colombia. They modeled for all of us the synodal leadership of a Church that listens actively during this time of global discernment about how to deepen our communion, participation and mission. 

We thank witnesses for their authenticity and their vulnerability as they shared poignant testimonies of how they are living out diakonia in their lives – Rosella Kinoshameg, AnnaMarie Pacione, Lonnie Ellis, and Aimee Shelide-Mayer. You can listen to their witness testimonies here as you reflect on the vision of a prophetic diaconate for a co-responsible Church and the impact it would have for you, your discipleship, your loved ones or the people you serve if women were part of the order of deacons. 

We are grateful to our 28 Participating Organizations which included organizations of priests, provinces, and religious who are deeply immersed in questions of formation and mission. Other organizations are committed to evangelizing young people by helping them to discover a meaningful path to walk on – often through the Church’s social mission of accompanying those on the peripheries. Some are renewing the Church by helping people to deepen their spiritual practices. Still others are building bridges across cultures and continents. A common thread across all these organizations is diakonia. A consensus is emerging that we want to witness to a God who came not to be served, but to serve. 

Twenty-eight Catholic organizations joined Discerning Diakonia as participating organizations.

The diaconate as a vocational order matters because it is stirring the diakonia of all the people of God. There is new hope for renewing diakonia for the life of the Church. 

Deacon Bill Ditewig continues to walk with us on this discernment journey and grounds us in the history of the restoration of the diaconate. It’s a fascinating history through World War II and Vatican II; you can listen to Deacon Bill’s remarks during Discerning Diakonia here or read his recently published essay in America

Nearly 200 people stepped up and were trained to be facilitators for Conversations in the Spirit! Thank you for helping us foster participation. 

We have a few initial takeaways from Monday’s webinar. It is possible to learn how to build participation in the mission of the Church. The global synodal process is unleashing new energy, new hope and new dreams for how to be a People of God on mission.

We can walk together – priests, deacons, religious, lay women and men. Discerning Diakonia galvanized a broad group of the faithful who want to walk together as we discern God’s will for mission in the third millennium.

Click here to watch the recording in Spanish.

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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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