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Women Deacons: Why Not Now? Resource Packet

Learn more about Phoebe, Olympias, Macrina, Dionysia, Radegund, and their sisters whose service as deacons in the Church inspires us to advocate for restoration of women deacons today. This downloadable packet contains the tools you need to learn more about this issue and promote dialogue in your own community.

This packet includes: 

  • A quick look at the issue, to give you the basics about women deacons and provides good answers to the questions and objections most often raised by church officials
  • 5 essays and prayer services about women who served the Church as deacons,
  • A Brief History of Women Deacons
  • A sample education program you can host in your community
  • The full text of Archbishop Durocher’s intervention at the 2015 Synod on The Family which called for a discussion of women deacons
  • An interview with Archbishop Durocher
  • Two articles by women deacons expert Phyllis Zagano, Ph.D.  about why restoring the women deacons is both needed and possible today
  • A discernment process to find and present women candidates for the permanent diaconate to your bishop.
  • An updated “Nine Reasons to Restore Women Deacons”
  • A sample letter to your bishop with enclosures
  • Recent information on Lay Ecclesial Ministers, the majority of whom are women, well prepared to be ordained deacons

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Sr. Dorothy Stang

On Feb. 12, 2005, Sr. Dorothy Stang walked along a dirt road deep in the heart of Brazil’s Amazon, on her way to meet a handful of poor farmers bearing up under harassment from illegal loggers and ranchers. She trudged along, until two hired assassins blocked her way. In response to their challenge, she produced maps and documents proving that the government had designated the land as a reserve for the landless poor. “Do you have a weapon?” they asked. Yes, she answered, showing them the Bible she carried for decades. She opened it and began to read aloud: “Blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice. Blessed are the peacemakers …” Then, she said, “God bless you, my sons.” The two shot her six times and ran.

Download our resource to learn more about Sr. Dorothy Stang, Martyr of the Amazon, who laid down her life in defense of the poor and the environment.

Download includes:

  • Educational resources: A Biography of Sister Dorothy Stang by John Dear with questions for reflection and discussion; In Her Own Words (Sister Dorothy Stang on Caring for the Earth and Peace and Justice); A Summary and Discussion Guide for Laudato Si
  • Be a Witness of Mercy: Resources for learning and doing
  • Prayer Resources: Prayer Service in Memory of Dorothy Stang by Katherine Feely, SND
  • Original Art by Marcy Hall, commissioned by FutureChurch

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Sr. Simone Campbell

Many know Sister Simone Campbell, a Sister of Social Service, as the “nun on the bus.” But long before the famous bus tour began, before the media attention, before the countless awards, Sister Simone was working for the poor and marginalized of society. Learn more about and pray with this Woman of Mercy, Nun on the Bus, and advocate for the KIN-DOM of God today.

Resources included in this download:

  • Educational resources: A Biography of Sister Simone with questions for reflection and discussion; In Her Own Words (Sister Simone on being Catholic, women in the Church and her favorite mystic); A Catholic Framework for Economic Justice with questions for reflection and discussion; Call to Family, Community and Participation — How all of Us Can Create Hope, Change, and Community with questions for discussion and dialogue
  • Be a Witness of Mercy: Resources for learning and doing
  • Prayer Resources: Prayer Service for the KIN-DOM of God inspired by Sr. Simone Campbell.
  • Original Art by Marcy Hall, commissioned by FutureChurch

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Feast of the Annunciation Resource

The Feast of the Annunciation provides an opportunity to explore Mary’s partnership with God in salvation history – her vision for God’s dream and her “yes” in bringing it forward.  It also provides an opportunity to explore her portrayal in the Qur’an and her relationship to Islam and thus, the ways in which Christianity and Islam share a devotion to her.  In a world where distrust and xenophobia are rampant, these resources and prayers provide a healing antidote.

This resource download includes:

  • Mary of Nazareth and the Angel: Beginning with a Question, Ending in a Partnership by Judith Davis, Ph.D.
  • A Story of Her Own: A Christian Appreciation of Mary in the Qur’an by Judith Davis, Ph.D.
  • The Oldest Securely Datable Image of Mary Mary Among the Egyptians
  • Five Things To Do When an Anti-Muslim Hate Rally Comes to Town by Jordan Denari
  • The Prophet Muhammad’s Letters — and Followers — of Peace by Jordan Denari
  • Multi-Faith Prayer Service for Peace
  • Poetry by Denise Levertov

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Sister Antona Ebo

Sister Antona Ebo. On Sunday March 7, 1965, Alabama state troopers and local police beat and bloodied civil rights activists who had begun a 50-mile march from Selma to Montgomery, the state capital. Immediately following the “Bloody Sunday” attack, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. issued a call for church leaders around the country to come to Selma and to join in the struggle for civil rights. On March 10th, Sister Antona Ebo, a Franciscan Sister of Mary, took off from Saint Louis, Missouri to Selma on a chartered plane that she jokes had been pulled out of mothballs. On March 11th the cover of The New York Times featured a photo of Sister Antona marching alongside other protesters. That photo would become an iconic image of the struggle for voting rights.

Download our resource to learn more. Resources included in this download:

  • Educational resources: A Biography of Sister Antona Ebo with questions for reflection and discussion; More Black Catholic Women Witnesses of Mercy with questions for reflection and discussion; A brief history of African-American Catholics; The Black Lives Matter Movement and Catholics: Two Scholars Speak Out; Black Catholic Sisters in the United States: A Historical Reflection by Shannen Dee Williams; and Excerpts from Catholic Social Teaching on Race and Racism with questions for discussion and reflection
  • Be a Witness of Mercy: Resources for learning and doing
  • Prayer Resources: Stations of the Cross: Black Catholic Women Give Witness
  • Original Art by Marcy Hall, commissioned by FutureChurch

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Sr. Helen Prejean

Sister Helen Prejean is perhaps the world’s most widely known opponent of the death penalty. Her book, Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States remained on the New York Times best-seller list for 31 weeks and was an international best seller, having been translated into ten languages. The book would also become the basis for a major motion picture and an opera. Prejean’s work has taken her around the world for speaking engagements, earned her numerous awards, and brought her into personal conversation with presidents, U.S. Supreme Court justices, prime ministers and popes.

Download this resource packet to learn more. Includes:

  • Educational resources: A Biography of Sister Helen Prejean, Death Penalty Fact Sheet, The Death Penalty in Recent Catholic Thought, Excerpts from a letter to Pope John Paul II by Helen Prejean, Discussion/Reflection Questions on Helen Prejean’s Ministry and the Death Penalty, Movie Discussion Guide for Dead Man Walking
  • Prayer Resources: Prayer for Justice by Sister Helen Prejean and an entire Prayer Service, inspired by Sister Helen, for transforming society
  • Be a Witness of Mercy: Resources and Ways to Get Involved
  • Original Art by Marcy Hall, commissioned by FutureChurch

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Ita Ford, Maura Clarke, Jean Donovan & Dorothy Kazel

The destinies of Ita Ford, Maura Clarke, Jean Donovan and Dorothy Kazel were joined together in just the last months of their lives. Murdered together by National Guardsmen in El Salvador in 1980, their deaths became a martyrdom for the church of the poor in El Salvador and for thousands of Christians in the United States.

Learn from and about these extraordinary Witnesses of Mercy who gave their lives in service to and solidarity with the poor of El Salvador during a vicious and unjust civil war

Download includes:

  • Educational Resources: The stories Maura Clarke, Ita Ford, Jean Donovan and Dorothy Kazel, “What is Mercy? Lessons from El Salvador” with discussion questions, Article on solidarity with connections to Scripture and Catholic Social teaching as well as discussion questions
  • Prayer Service Honoring Maura Clarke, Ita Ford, Jean Donovan and Dorothy Kazel
  • Original Art by Marcy Hall, commissioned by FutureChurch

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Our Lady of Guadalupe Resource

Our Lady of Guadalupe calls those with political and ecclesiastical power to leave their palaces, move to the periphery and standd with the poor and the marginalized. Like Jesus, her presence and those of her followers are signs of God’s healing and justice. In this packet you will learn about the history of Mary from the early Church to the twentieth century and discover the empowering traditions of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

This resource download includes:

  • Mary Through History — An easy-to-read examination of Marian thought and art from the Early Church through Today
  • Outline and Discussion Questions to host your own four-session series on Mary of Nazareth
  • Articles examining the history, tradition, art, and symbolism of Our Lady of Guadalupe
  • Slide Presentation on Our Lady of Guadalupe
  • Prayer Service Celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe
  • Ideas for celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe in your community

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