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2023 Fall Event

Synodality: Where have we been? Where are we going?

Tuesday, November 14th & Thursday, November 16th at 7:00pm ET (via Zoom).

Featuring: Cynthia Bailey Manns D.Min | Sr. Nathalie Becquart, XMCJ | Phyllis Zagano, Ph.D. | Kate McElwee

Night One: Tuesday, November 14 at 7pm ET

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Cynthia Bailey Manns, D.Min

Keynote Presenter

FutureChurch is honored to welcome Dr. Bailey Manns,  one of 10 non- bishop voting delegates chosen by Pope Francis to represent the North American region at the first general assembly of the Synod of Bishops on Synodality in October. 

Cynthia Bailey Manns, DMin, is the director of adult learning at Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Community—a community whose vision is to be a visible, progressive Catholic Community, compassionate and welcoming to all. She holds a DMin in Spiritual Direction from the Graduate Theological Foundation in Florida, and has served as professional faculty in St. Catherine University’s Theology Department, as the coordinator of the Spiritual Director Certificate Program, and as co-director of the Thriving Congregations Coordination Program funded by the Lilly Endowment, Inc.

She has also served as adjunct faculty at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota and Drew Theological School, teaching courses in human development, spirituality, spiritual formation, soul care for lay and ordained leaders, and sacred activism. She is a contributor to the anthology, Embodied Spirits: Stories of Spiritual Directors of Color (2014), and she is an experienced soul companion, supervisor, and retreat leader. She lives with her family in Bloomington, Minnesota.

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Sr. Nathalie Becquart, XMCJ*

Louis J. Trivison Award Recipient

FutureChurch will present Sr. Nathalie Becquart with the 2023 in recognition of her historic role as the first women to serve as under-secretary for the General Secretariat of the Synod and for her work to include women every step of the synodal way.

Nathalie Becquart is a Xaviere sister, Missionary of Christ-Jesus, a French Ignatian-inspired order. She graduated from the HEC School of Management, Paris in 1992, with a Master’s in Entrepreneurship, and she obtained a double canonical Baccalaureate degree in Philosophy and Theology in 2006 from the “Centre Sèvres-Facultés Jésuites de Paris,” supplemented by training in Sociology at the EHESS (2004-2006).  In 2019-2020 she specialized in Ecclesiology, doing research on Synodality at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. For 25 years, she was involved in youth ministry and served as Director of the National Service for the Evangelization of Youth and Vocations of the French Bishops’ Conference from 2012 to 2018. She took part in the Synod on Youth as an observer in 2018, and became consultor to the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops in May 2019. On February 6, 2021, she was appointed by Pope Francis as Undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops as well as a member of the Dicastery for Communication in December 2021. A renowned lecturer and speaker, she is the author of numerous publications on synodality and synods, young people and youth ministry, vocations and religious life, the Church and mission. She was named one of the 100 most influential and inspiring women of 2022 by BBC Radio and Television and one of the 50 over 50 list published by Forbes for Europ, Middle East and Africa 2023.

*Due to the time difference, Sr. Nathalie Becquart will not be available to join us live. She will accept the award and offer remarks regarding the synod via pre-recorded video. 

Night Two: Thursday, November 16 at 7:00pm ET

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Phyllis Zagano, Ph.D.

Louis J. Trivison Award

FutureChurch will present Dr. Phyllis Zagano, Ph.D. with the 2023 Louis J. Trivison Award in recognition of her ground-breaking work researching the history of, promoting discussion and discernment about, and advancing the cause for women in the diaconate. 

Dr. Phyllis Zagano is an internationally acclaimed Catholic scholar who has lectured throughout the United States, and in Canada, Europe, and Australia. Her many awards include the 2014 Isaac Hecker Award for Social Justice from The Paulist Center Community in Boston for “her prolific body of work that has constantly echoed the cry of the poorest of our society for dignity and for justice both inside and outside the church….specifically the dignity of all women.” Her groundbreaking work on women in the diaconate led to her appointment to the Pontifical Commission for the Study of the Diaconate of Women in 2016. She has taught at Fordham, Boston, and Yale Universities, and currently holds a research appointment at Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York. Her most recent book is Just Church: Catholic Social Teaching, Synodality, and Women (Paulist Press, 2023).

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Kate McElwee


FutureChurch will present Kate McElwee with the 2023 Christine Schenk Award for Young Catholic Leaders in recognition of her uncompromising advocacy for women in the Church and in particular for her leadership on the successful Votes for Catholic Women campaign.

Kate McElwee currently serves as the Executive Director of the Women’s Ordination Conference, where she has worked since 2011. Founded in 1975, the Women’s Ordination Conference (WOC) is the oldest and largest organization working to ordain women as deacons, priests, and bishops into an inclusive and accountable Roman Catholic Church. A feminist voice for women in the Roman Catholic Church, WOC is a grassroots-driven movement that promotes activism, dialogue, and prayerful witness to call for women’s full equality in the Church.

Kate graduated from Mount Holyoke College earning a degree in Religion and later earned an M.A. in International Human Rights Law from SOAS (London). Kate also serves on the Leadership Circle of Women’s Ordination Worldwide. She is a respected activist and advocate for gender equity in the Catholic Church and her work is frequently featured in international media outlets, including the BBC, AP, The New Yorker, and the National Catholic Reporter. After living in Rome for eight years, she and her husband now reside in Washington, DC.