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Witnesses
St. Raphaela Center
Haverford/Philadelphia, PA
May 1, 2024

At the St. Raphaela Center in Haverford/Philadelphia, PA we celebrated the feast of St. Phoebe with a Taize Prayer service on September 13, 2023. The service included readings about St. Phoebe, petitions praying for the increased participation of women in the life of the Church, and questions for communal reflection and imagination about women’s participation. As a retreat center and space for reflection in our area, we also host women’s retreats where women in ministry are able to reflect on their journeys in the faith and the Church.

A wonderful diversity of participants joined us to pray together. We were amazed and humbled by all who were willing to participate, and this enthusiasm gives us hope for the Church in the future. Together, we made connections for future opportunities for prayer and discernment, and we heard such a beautiful symphony of our voices together, calling forth what can be!

One participant shared that for her “the whole experience felt both radical and safe.” 

Together, we were able to share an experience that, through imagery, prayer, reflection and conversation was able to concretely connect the life and witness of St. Phoebe to the Synod and the discernment of women’s ordination to the diaconate today. The witness of St. Phoebe is powerful for us as a community, and we are committed to continuing to center women’s voices and uplift women’s experiences, especially in spaces of prayer, so that in our community and others we can all “receive her.” 

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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