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Witnesses
St. Joseph Parish
Seattle, WA
May 1, 2024

At our Sunday masses on September 3, 2023, we at St. Joseph Parish in Seattle, WA celebrated the feast of St. Phoebe by explicitly centering the role of women throughout our liturgies. We had an icon of St. Phoebe in the center of the church, sang a hymn about St. Phoebe, as well as women from the parish sharing reflections at all three Masses and there being a special blessing at the Masses for all women.

We are excited to simply raise awareness of the existence of female deacons in the early Church. There is now no one at our parish who attended Mass that doesn’t know that there were women deacons, and that this could potentially happen again, as well. Women in ministry matter, and we are glad to be a part of this discernment. After the special blessing for women of the parish, some expressed how special it was to be blessed because it was their first time on the altar. Some mothers from our parish shared their fierce hope that maybe their young daughters will have the opportunity to serve as deacons.

Although it can feel as though many women can be hesitant to take up space or to see themselves as ministers, we have hope that will change over time. We are glad as a parish to raise awareness of the discernment of the ordination of women to the diaconate, the Synod and the ever-present, essential role of women in the Church.

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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