Celebrating St. Phoebe

Across the United States, more than 147 parishes to-date are preparing to celebrate St. Phoebe and women’s emerging roles in the Church this September 2023, not just on St. Phoebe Day, September 3, but throughout the month. St. Phoebe is emerging anew from Paul’s letter to the Romans.

As Pope Francis calls the world to Synodality, women’s concerns for active participation in the Church have been among the major topics raised across all the continents. To see how, read the “Working Document for the Continental Stage” of the Synod on Synodality and Isaiah’s admonition to “enlarge the space of your tent.” The Holy Spirit has inspired women and men to raise their voices and prayers on behalf of women’s roles in the Church today.

With September 3rd falling on a Sunday this year and with the opening of the Synod on Synodality coming at the end of the month, Catholics around have added incentive for prayerful hope for change and renewal in our Church.

Watch for announcements of activities in your parish to celebrate St. Phoebe during September. Click here or on the image below for an example of what the St. John – St. Paul Catholic Collaborative and the Archdiocese of Boston is planning and to register for the event (notice that preregistration is required). Also visit the Discerning Deacons “Celebrate St. Phoebe Day” webpage to add your St. Phoebe Day celebration to the website’s list. For all things St. Phoebe, including downloadable prayer booklets and prayer cards, visit St. Phoebe Day Resources on the Discerning Deacons website.

Here are a few of the activities faith communities around the world are planning for St. Phoebe:

  • “A weekend retreat in Australia for women and men interested in discerning for the permanent diaconate. Mass on the Saturday with our group for St Phoebe. Mass with the community on Sunday, followed by a webinar on St Phoebe.”
  • “We have selected 5 women who will be offering a witness at each of our 5 Masses on the weekend of September 9/10! Our team will meet with the selected women several times and offer advice and support for them.”
  • “Women will offer reflections on the Word and then will lead a discernment session after mass reflecting with the Instrumentum Laboris
  • “In Nigeria, the Catam goodwill ministry will present a liturgical dance procession with the statue or picture of Saint Phoebe” 
  • “We plan forums (Sundays, Wednesday evenings) for education on the global synod and the history of women in the Church; bulletin inserts with reflections, a children’s/youth skit about St. Phoebe, and an evening prayer service with a woman offering a reflection.” 
  • “During the entire month of September, reflections and testimonials will be shared by women about their vocation to service in the church.”
  • “St. Raphaela Center is celebrating St. Phoebe at their monthly Taize Prayer with Adoration. All are invited to join in song, reflection on St. Phoebe and women in the Church, and to enter into a space of discernment.”
  • “We are going to display St. Phoebe’s icon at the front of the church, we will have a woman do a reflection on September 3, distribute prayer cards, and of course food afterwards in the parish hall. We are continuing to have meetings to discuss.”
  • “A video reflection for the Feast of St. Phoebe on 9/3 featuring a female student or faculty member. We will offer another opportunity for a woman to preach at a schoolwide worship service in September.”
  • “Our deacon will give the homily on September 3 and is committed to sharing with the whole parish about who St. Phoebe is and why we are seeking her intercession in this time, as our Church continues to walk on a synodal path of conversion and renewal for mission.” 
  • “We are going to begin with an outdoor procession with 5-8 stops along the way before we enter the church. This will feature readings from the global synod reports, and song Liturgy, and women preaching inside. Bonfire afterwards!”