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Witnesses
St. Francis of Assisi Parish
Raleigh, NC
May 1, 2024

At our parish, St. Francis of Assisi in Raleigh, North Carolina, we celebrated St. Phoebe Day on September 3rd, 2023 at each of our parish’s Masses. At each Mass, a female parishioner shared a reflection, “God of the Women ” was used as the offertory hymn and the Prayers of the Faithful included a prayer for the further acknowledgement of women’s participation in the Church. A group of women were present after each Mass to answer questions from parishioners, and prayer cards were distributed with images of St. Phoebe’s icon. The parish bulletin for the week included a letter from our pastor explaining the commemoration of St. Phoebe. We are a large parish, so we had the opportunity to share with many during our normal Sunday Masses.

The response from parishioners after Mass was overwhelming! Many women approached with tears in their eyes, expressing how incredibly meaningful it was for them to hear about the witness of St. Phoebe, and for the role of women in the Church to be acknowledged so explicitly. One woman in particular said that the hymn, “God of the Women,” brought tears to her eyes. Before our celebration, 10 women from the parish joined together to pray and prepare for our St. Phoebe day celebration. This was such a profound experience. A few of the women shared reflections at the Masses, and we met together to workshop and practice these reflections. This was deeply rewarding and humbling to be in this community of women supporting and praying for one another. 

We look forward to celebrating St. Phoebe day again in future years, and are excited to continue this conversation at our parish. So many of the parish had never heard of St. Phoebe–her witness will continue to inform and animate us! 
Gladys Whitehouse shares her St. Phoebe Day reflection at St. Francis of Assisi.
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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