Women's Ordination Worldwide

WOW e-news special edition
Jubilee for Women Priests
1-3 June

WOW will host a “Jubilee for Women Priests” during Vatican Celebrations of the Priesthood:

Throughout the Year of Mercy, the Vatican is hosting celebrations at St. Peter’s Basilica, and from June 1-3 Pope Francis will mark the “Jubilee for Priests.” To the Vatican this means one narrow demographic, painfully excluding many of God’s people. In response, women’s ordination advocates will host a “Jubilee for Women Priests,” which offers an opportunity to celebrate a renewed image of the priesthood – one that is inclusive and welcoming of all people. Our Jubilee comes as Pope Francis is calling for the Church to “see in the women’s movement the working of the Spirit for a clearer recognition of the dignity and rights of women.” (Amoris Laetitia)
Wednesday, 1 June 2016  - (La casa internazionale delle donne, Rome)
3-5 pm: “Open the Door to Dialogue,” a roundtable conversation and Q&A including::
  • Rev. Dana English, Assistant Curate at All Saints’ Anglican Church in Rome
  • Fr. Tony Flannery, an Irish Redemptorist priest censured by the Vatican and ordered to cease priestly ministry due to his support for the ordination of women
  • Dr. Marinella Perroni, Italian feminist theologian
  • The panel chair: Kate McElwee, Co-Executive Director of the Women’s Ordination Conference, WOW’s first member group with a permanent presence in Rome
5 -6 pm: WOW Signature Drinks Reception  - Join us for cocktails and canapes as we celebrate our 20th anniversary
6- 8 pm: Women Priests Project: Photo exhibition & presentation by Giulia Bianchi. Her project explores the life and faith of Roman Catholic Women Priests, excommunicated for disobeying a canon law that says that only a male can be ordained a priest -
Friday, 3 June 2016 – (Piazza Pia, Rome)
8 am: Open Door Witness
WOW activists will hold a “purple stole” witness (the international symbol for women’s ordination) and offer a visual guide to opening the “Door to Dialogue.”
We will then walk the pilgrim’s path to St. Peter’s as the Jubilee Mass for Priests gets underway.  Pope Francis has said, “this Jubilee Year of Mercy excludes no one”, so we will take our place in prayerful vigil in the square.
Donate to WOW here
WOW's anniversary appeal - how to get involved

- Join our campaigning and awareness raising work in Rome - WOW will have a 'pop up office' for two weeks and we are looking for volunteers - any time between May 25th and June 3rd. Contact Miriam Duignan for further details

- Help sponsor the 'Jubilee for Women Priests': WOW relies on the generous support of individual donors and sponsors for our events. Here are ways you can help via our donation page (the amounts are listed in US Dollars but will be converted into your own currency if donating from outside the US):
$25 - will pay for a Purple stole (the international symbol for women’s ordination) to be worn during our witness in St. Peter’s square during the Vatican’s Jubilee for Priests.
$50 - will help pay for materials for the “Women Priests Project” photography exhibition by artist Giulia Bianchi,  featuring the lives and ministries of Roman Catholic Women Priests.
$100 - will help pay for the room rental for an academic roundtable with renowned theologians and a press conference, raising awareness of women's equality in the Church.
$500 Sponsor WOW’s headquarters at La casa internazionale delle donne in Rome - from May 23rd - June 3rd
$1000 Will pay for the travel expenses for WOW advocates and our guest speakers to be present in Rome

You can help us transform the Vatican’s Jubilee for Priests into a positive witness for women’s equality. These are exciting times for WOW as we seek to strengthen our presence in Rome and keep working for dialogue about the ordination of women. Thank you for your generous support and for making this season of WOW’s activism an effective reality. 
Donate to WOW here

One of our Roundtable contributors, Tony Flannery writes about the differing experiences of speaking to groups of men and women 

WOW responds to Amoris Laetitia  April 08, 2016

Pope Francis’ exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, released today at the Vatican offers seeds of hope for a Church moving away from general and strict doctrinal rules to one of grace and growth. This challenging, and at-times poetic document exhibits highs and lows, both championing pastoral discernment, the primacy of conscience, and even “the women’s movement,” but is riddled with an incomplete and painful understanding of feminism, reproductive health, gender, and sexual identity.

Women’s Ordination Worldwide (WOW) is encouraged by the document’s strong condemnation of violence and discrimination against women and the role of social movements to work for equality: “we must … see in the women’s movement the working of the Spirit for a clearer recognition of the dignity and rights of women.” Yet while Pope Francis also writes that he “values feminism,” he fails to include the modern sexism upheld by the Church’s hierarchy as part of the “patriarchal cultures that considered women inferior,” which has “burdened history.”

WOW also upholds the pope’s emphasis on the consciences of the faithful, “[who are] capable of carrying out their own discernment in complex situations.”  Primacy of one’s conscience allows individuals and families to “respond as best they can to the Gospel,” which WOW believes must include discernment of all vocations to family and loving relationships, reproductive health, and ordained ministry.  

Nevertheless, disappointment is interspersed throughout Amoris Laetitia, as too often women’s “dignity” is substituted for women’s “equality,” denying the full and equal participation of women in Church decision-making and ordained ministries. Pope Francis also reinforces the Church’s stance on motherhood, LGBT families and adoption, transgender people, and reproductive health care choices. This is a missed opportunity to recognize the full equality and faithful paths of all people. We pray that the exhortation unfolds and challenges the Church to more deeply live the Gospel message of equality.

Mary McAleese says Amoris Laetitia ‘lacks imagination’ 
Read Irish Times article by Patsy McGarry  here
Two reports in the National Catholic Reporter which inform our campaign
  • Joshua J. McElwee on Pope Francis denouncing culture of clericalism here
  • Fr. Hans Kung on Pope Francis' response to request for free discussion on infallibility dogma here

WOW Prayer

O Holy One, You who are Creator of all,
who made humanity in Your image

Saviour of all, who called women and men
to witness Your ministry, death and resurrection,

Inspirer of all who seek and serve,

We thank You for the women You have blessed with Your call
to celebrate the Eucharist,
to minister alongside their brothers in a renewed Roman Catholic Church.

We pray that the Church will soon welcome and nourish to the full
the gifts of women as priests, prophets and leaders,
knowing, as Mary of Nazareth knew,
that with You all things are possible.


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