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Witnesses
St. Francis Xavier College Church
St. Louis, MO
March 27, 2024

Watch the recording of the St. Phoebe Day celebration at St. Francis Xavier College Church on September 10, 2023. Katie Jansen is introduced at 51:03.

At St. Francis Xavier (College) Church in St. Louis, MO we celebrated St. Phoebe Day with a Mass to uplift the voices of women in the Church, invite the community to rethink women’s participation and raise awareness of the global synod. At Mass, the music centered around the role of women including a prelude song of a quartet singing Bobby McFerrin’s 23rd Psalm, “Dedicated to my mother.” All of the lectors were women, and younger girls from the community offered the intercessory prayer. After communion, a reflection was shared by Parish Life Coordinator, Katie Jansen.

Before sharing her reflection, Katie was introduced by the celebrant using the same sincere words used by Paul to introduce Phoebe:

“Sisters and Brothers, I commend to you, Katie, our sister and Parish Life Coordinator of our Church. Receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the holy ones, and help her in whatever she may need from you. For she has been a benefactor to many, and to me as well.” 

Many were deeply moved by our celebration together. A senior woman from the parish shared that she had waited most of her adult life to hear the hope that was offered during Mass. A man approached after the celebration to ask for a copy of the reflection shared. With tears in his eyes, he shared that he hoped to share it with his daughter who had left the Church.

Our whole parish now knows of the ministry of St. Phoebe, and her witness will continue to ground our conversations as a parish and help us to rethink women’s ministry and participation together. Reflecting on St. Phoebe highlights that the Synod is in many ways reconnecting us, through the guidance of the Spirit, to our roots as a Christian community. We are excited to together continue this conversation, rethink women’s roles in our parish and the Church at large and accompany one another into new ways of being. Discerning together as a part of the Synod is just the beginning.

Parish Life Coordinator Katie Jansen visits with parishioners after sharing her reflection during St. Francis Xavier College Church’s St. Phoebe Day celebration.
Organization
“Our St. Phoebe Day celebration was a Catholic mass at its best—coming together, unified at the Eucharistic table, getting nourished through meaningful ritual, prayerful and relevant songs, a challenging message on synodality from scripture, and engaging and honest testimonies from two women in our community. St. Joan of Arc parish today did what Jesus did years ago—fed souls and gave people hope.”
St. Joan of Arc Catholic Community
Minneapolis, MN
Organization
“Together, we are grateful that the ministry and example of St. Phoebe enlivens our community to participate in exploring the unique gifts of women in our faith community. Here at Cranaleith, we feel strongly about creating space for all those seeking wholeness and transformation for themselves, their communities and society. This retreat was an opportunity for us to do just that.”
Cranaleith Spiritual Center
Philadelphia, PA
Organization
“The icon of St. Phoebe is still present in our Chapel today, where we are able to remember her witness and ask her to intercede on our behalf.”
Rosemont College
Rosemont, PA

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