Indigenous women are doing the work of deacons. Is Pope Francis ready to recognize it?

The service we provide. Not the service we could provide, the service we are already providing. The vast majority of permanent deacons live and minister in the Global North. But at the recent Amazon Synod, the leaders of the church in the region—both bishops and lay leaders—were very clear that it is women in the Amazon who are doing the work of deacons, and it is the desire and hope of that ecclesial community to recognize these women as deacons, ready and worthy to receive the sacrament of ordination.

By Casey Stanton, America: The Jesuit Review

“In early June, Pope Francis received three Indigenous women leaders from the Ecclesial Conference of the Amazon (CEAMA), an innovative form of church governance in which the bishops of the Amazon share formal leadership with Indigenous lay women, women religious, lay men, priests and deacons. During the audience, the women invited the pope to consider the full and equal participation of women in the church, including through preaching in parish settings and ordination as deacons.

“One of the women who attended the audience with Pope Francis was Laura Vicuña Pereira Manso, C.F. Sister Laura is currently serving as the vice president for CEAMA, a historic leadership role within a body that has steadily called upon the pope to more deeply consider the ministerial roles of women in the church since the Synod of Bishops on the Pan-Amazonian Region in 2019. (The final document of that synod called for greater leadership roles for women but stopped short of calling for the ordination of women to the diaconate.)

“As someone who is working to foster a conversation based in discernment around women in the diaconate, I value the wisdom and experience of CEAMA and Sister Laura. I had the opportunity to travel a shared camino with her to seek the intercession of Our Lady of Gudalupe in Mexico City in September 2022, the liminal time between the conclusion of the listening phase of the synodal process and anticipation of the report from Rome that would synthesize what millions around the world had shared and heard. We both felt drawn to seek the intercession of the Guadalupe, Mother of the Americas, as our church discerns new pathways to more fully receive the gifts of women for ministry and leadership.”

By Casey Stanton, America: The Jesuit Review — Read more …