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Witnesses
Tammy Norcross-Reitzler
Director of Campus Ministry, St. Ambrose University, Davenport, IA
May 1, 2024

When St Ambrose University hosted the conference “Francis at Ten: A Papacy of Possibilities” in March 2023 to celebrate and honor Pope Francis and his 10 years of service as the leader of the Catholic Church, I was introduced to St Phoebe in a breakout session facilitated by two prayerful and enthusiastic women.

According to St Paul in his letter to the Romans, Phoebe is a deacon and a benefactor, meaning she was his co-worker in the kingdom and obviously supported the needs of the early Christian community in important ways. Having served as a lay minister in the church for 35 years including the last 10 years in campus ministry at St. Ambrose, I was touched by the affirmation of my call and filled with hope for a future Church that recognizes the gifts and contributions of women. Throughout my years in ministry I have served God’s people in a variety of ways including leading prayer, accompanying families in grief, preaching at wake services, preparing people for the celebrations of the sacraments of initiation and marriage, catechizing children, youth and adults and serving the poor and oppressed.

I organized the St. Phoebe Day celebration on our campus in hopes that our students would be inspired to pray for and support increased participation of women in the life of 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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