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Witnesses
Immaculate Conception Catholic Church
Durham, NC
March 26, 2024

At our parish, Immaculate Conception in Durham, NC, we celebrated St. Phoebe’s feast day with special Masses that centered the role of women and uplifted the witness of St. Phoebe on September 3, 2023. During each of the seven masses, a woman from the parish shared a reflection after the gospel, as well as the celebrants at each Mass introducing St. Phoebe Day and connecting our celebration to the global Synod. In our gathering space, we had images on displays with contemporary Catholic women from all cultures and St. Phoebe prayer cards available.

Our parish’s three Franciscan friars were all incredibly supportive of this celebration and of our ongoing discernment. Parishioners also had the opportunity to name influential women in their own lives that would be shared on a bulletin board for all to see. These were also included in the parish newsletter so that all could participate and contribute.

We were glad to uplift the witness and ministry of St. Phoebe. For many in our parish, this was their first chance to become aware of her ministry! We were honored to celebrate St. Phoebe, and we will continue learning and discerning together.

Endorser
“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
Witness
“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
Endorser
“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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