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Witnesses
Russ Petrus
Co-Director, FutureChurch; Co-Founder and Developer, Catholic Women Preach
May 4, 2021

“I have had the privilege of learning, praying and working with many faithful and gifted women who deeply understand their own call from God and their communities to minister as deacons. It is important for the whole Church to acknowledge that these women are in fact called to the diaconate and that ordaining them would strengthen the Body of Christ as we carry out the work of the gospel.”

Russ Petrus, Co-Director, FutureChurch; Co-Founder and Developer, Catholic Women Preach

 

FutureChurch has advocated for the restoration of women deacons through education, prayer and dialogue for more than 15 years. Beginning in 2005, they have sent more than 60,000 postcards and signatures to Vatican offices through various campaigns calling for the restoration of women deacons and efforts to advance the conversation. In 2016, FutureChurch launched CatholicWomenDeacons.org and hosted its first retreat for women discerning a call to the diaconate. In 2017, FutureChurch, The Association of U.S. Catholic Priests, and Voice of the Faithful partnered to develop and promote DeaconChat, a resource to facilitate conversations between laity and their local priests and bishops. FutureChurch leadership has also been present at the last several assemblies of the Synod of Bishops, keeping Catholic women’s concerns and ordaining women deacons front and center.

 

Catholic Women Preach brings the voices of diverse Catholic women to the proclamation of the Gospel for all of the world to see, hear and read. At CatholicWomenPreach.org all the faithful can view videos, download podcasts and read weekly preaching from theologically-trained women, learn about and appreciate the contributions women make to the Church and the world, and find inspiration as they prepare their own preaching and ministries of the Word. A project of FutureChurch launched in collaboration with Elizabeth Anne Donnelly on All Saints Day 2016, Catholic Women Preach videos have garnered more than 400,000 views and podcast downloads, which accounts for over 2 million minutes of individuals, groups and communities witnessing the wisdom of women breaking open the Word.

Organization
“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
Organization
“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
Witness
“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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