Witness & Grace Conversations

A Conversation on Women Religious - Women Deacons
Friday, February 12, 2021
Presented Phyllis Zagano, Ph.D. and Sr. Colleen Gibson

Watch the session recording

Phyllis and Sr. Colleen discussed highlights of the recent series of essays in Global Sisters Report focusing on specific questions and topics related to women deacons and women religious -- and their deep interest and passion for this important topic for our church in these times. 


Opening Prayer
Loving God, 
In every age you have called women to serve the Church as disciples rooted in your love. You have called women to lives of service as vowed women religious and as deacons, each serving the People of God in their own unique way.  
From those who listened to Christ preach the good news and felt compelled to follow the Way to those who, today, live lives dedicated to you in a way that preaches the Gospel in their very being, we give thanks for the vibrancy of your Spirit at work in our church and our world.
As we gather in conversation this day, open our hearts to your Word and to your presence which fills this space we share. 
In the same way that Paul exhorted the Romans to receive the deacon Phoebe, help us to be receptive to your will and attentive to the needs of our times, give us the courage and the confidence to follow your call wherever it may lead and the freedom to engage all situations with a spirit of charity and service.
Open our minds and our hearts to all that you offer us this day, that we might be enlightened by hope, bolstered in faith, and reflective of your love. We ask this in Jesus's name. Amen.
Closing Prayer
God of light and life, in every age you have called women and men to your service, 
to be your voice and your hands in the world,
to preach the Gospel and put its good news into action.
These, your ministers, embody your Word, 
they proclaim it in the liturgy, they practice it in charity.
May we and all the People of God support women called to the ordained diaconate as we pray that they may fulfill their vocations.
Grant your Church the courage to restore women to the diaconate, let it recognize their service, their potential, and their dignity.
In faith and hope, we join our prayer with those who have come before us and we invoke the intercession of the deacon saints Phoebe, Apollonia, Gorgonia, Melania, Olympias, Radegund, and the many other women who have served you throughout the ages. 
May they be with us as we journey. 
Help us as well to guide the discernment of the Church, so that it may become a greater beacon of hope to our world.
We ask all this in the name of your Son, Jesus, through the intercession of your Holy Spirit.


Phyllis Zagano is Senior Research Associate-in-Residence and Adjunct Professor of Religion at Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York. She served as a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Study of the Diaconate of Women. Her most recent books include “Women: Icons of Christ” (Paulist, 2020) and “Women Deacons? Essays with Answers” (Liturgical, 2017). A series of webinars about women deacons can be found on her website. Her column “Just Catholic” is published by National Catholic Reporter.  
Sr. Colleen Gibson is a Sister of St. Joseph of Philadelphia, a regular Horizons columnist for Global Sisters Report and the author of the blog Wandering in Wonder and has been published in various periodicals, including America, Commonweal and Give Us This Day. She currently serves as coordinator of services at the Sisters of St. Joseph Neighborhood Center in Camden, New Jersey. She has been moderating a webinar series at Hofstra University with Dr. Zagano.

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