Women's Ordination Worldwide

WOW e-news #6
Women's Ordination Worldwide (WOW) welcomes and appreciates your support of the WOW 2015 International Conference: Gender, Gospel, and Global Justice.
Conference Date: 18-20 September, 2015
Location: Downtown Philadelphia Marriott
1201 Market Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Some people had difficulties registering which we have now ironed out. Because of this, we have extended the early bird rate of $275 until 15 May

Registration information

Includes all conference workshops, opening event drinks reception, morning and afternoon breaks.  

You are also invited to attend our academic seminar free of charge! This will be a once-in-a-lifetime theologically-driven experience during the day on Friday, September 18th

After 15th of May fees will be $300
After 31 July fees will be $315

You can opt to share a room. They will match you up with another delegate. The rooms are large with two double beds in each.

If you use a different currency, the registration process includes conversion.
Important note about booking for the conference

Some people are contacting the Marriott directly to reserve their rooms which means they are missing out on the special reduced rate that WOW has negotiated at $159 per room per night. The current rate offered by the Marriott on-line is $259 so if you book via WOW it is a big saving.
Please book your rooms via the WOW booking form operated by NIX - they need a credit card to reserve/secure the room but no money will be taken from that card. It just acts to guarantee the booking. Rooms will be paid at the hotel at checkout.

Make an exhibition of yourself
(or your organisation/book sale etc.)

Would you or your organisation like to exhibit at our conference?
Booth price which includes one conference registration is $500

Exhibit space application will be accepted through Wednesday 26 August. 
Exhibit at WOW 2015

We believe that the exclusion of women from ordination in the Roman Catholic Church reinforces the oppression and poverty of women and girls around the world. We want to include some of those who cannot afford to travel to our conference. We have set up a solidarity fund to help with travel costs. Please help someone to get there

Please help us make WOW's third conference in Philadelphia 18 - 20 September a success.

Many ways you can support us 
  1. Pray (See the WOW 2015 conference prayer below). You will be joining with many throughout the world who are praying this lovely prayer.
  2. Register!
  3. Donate to help defray costs and support scholarships
  4. Donate air miles
  5. Organise a vigil calling for women's ordination at your local cathedral on a special feast day e.g. 24 May Pentecost and distribute flyers for the conference
  6. Tweet about the conference or mention on other social media
  7. Donate to the travel fund
Please reply to this email for information on any of these.

Last e-news had a link to the whole of Voices of Faith meeting. This is about 3 hours long so for those of you that don't have that amount of time, here's a link to a trailer of about 11 minutes


Statement from the Nun Justice Project:
The Nun Justice Project is glad to see that the Vatican has removed their mandate against the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). Today's joint statement is testimony to the dogged determination of LCWR sister-leaders to persevere in dialogue with those who unjustly maligned them.  It is fitting that in the Year of Consecrated Life, Church officials have at last recognized the good works and impressive leadership of the sisters.

The Nun Justice Project believes that an apology should also have been given to the sisters, but the end of the investigation is a major step in itself.  Since no previous Pope ever met with LCWR leadership it is hopeful that Pope Francis met personally with them today.  May this meeting inaugurate new era of positive communication between the Vatican and women leaders in the Church.
 "As usual, the living example of the women has inspired us," said Erin Saiz Hanna, a member of the coalition, "The nuns responded to this show of patriarchal abuse by finding ways to resist its intrusion and transformed the process by modeling inclusive dialogue."
"It is my hope that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will institute similar dialogic processes and procedures for addressing other disputed issues in the Church, said Francis DeBernardo, another coalition member.
Since the LCWR mandate was announced, thousands of Catholics have stood up to call for the end of this unnecessary and demeaning "investigation."  We are gratified that the immense worth of the work of women religious is being recognized.  However, we also remain watchful since some still-to-be-implemented aspects of the joint statement could be interpreted as restricting the conscience rights of sisters.
Over the past five years, the Nun Justice Project organized massive support for women religious. Tens of thousands of Catholics petitioned the Vatican and participated in hundreds of public demonstrations, prayer services, vigils, and media events.  Their voices have been instrumental in advancing due process, raising up women's leadership voice and promoting justice in the Church.
read more

Last night was world premiere of the beautiful Radical Grace Film at the Canadian International Documentary festival. The film is so fabulous and what fun to talk about radical nuns and women's equality in the church to packed house! Toronto friends, tickets are still available for other showings this week!

It will also be shown at WOW 2015!!!!

The Power of Broken Hearts: a short reflection on the Limerick Conference

Between Easter and Pentecost, International Church reformers gathered for four days in Limerick without a strict agenda. The intention was to get to know each other, share ideas about Church reform, and explore ways of supporting each other in our work structurally and at the grassroots. We began our time together answering why we accepted this invitation, and then why we really accepted this invitation.  The meeting was in many ways sponsored by the Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland and Fr. Tony Flannery, but facilitated by two invited leaders, who skillfully created space for sharing, “harvesting,” and organic organizing.
Why did you accept this invitation, really?  In addition to the opportunity to work with colleagues of mine on more international level, for me, the really was in some part because of the more rare invitation to attend a meeting with so many male priests interested in reform. In some sense, this made me very unprepared for what was to come. 
What was specifically on our very open agenda was a Mass together. A small group of us thought it would be important to suggest an invitation for co-presiders at our celebration. And so, on the third day, after nearly all of the group had “checked-in,” offered up their frustrations at “in-action,” their excitement for the richness of our conversations, their energy, I asked our group to consider an invitation.
I couched my intention to suggest co-presiders by first acknowledging the ministries and importance of all of our work, and how we fit together in a living system of change — each doing our part. I also thought it was important to name some of our passions as vocations, including priestly vocations. I suggested that as we consider action globally and locally, and perhaps we might consider this an opportunity to act, by having a conversation about the possibility of inviting a co-presider to celebrate our Mass.
Warned by Tony and a few others that this very careful question (which was discussed in a small group first, and agreed that I bring this to the larger group) would be more difficult than we might have thought… what came of this question was an intensity and a raw pain, a brokenness, that I am not sure I have ever witnessed in such a broad spectrum.
Once the invitation was (what I hoped was) gently in the center of the room, we went around the circle of nearly 40 of us, twice.  Some of the threads and statements that stuck with me (others may have held on to other moments), vocalized by either one or many that I feel I can share:
  • Fear of one’s bishop, the reality of excommunication;
  • Is this about courage or consequences?
  • What does this mean for our reform agendas if we are not willing or able to do this?
  • The responsibilities of leadership, and reflecting one’s community and constituency;
  • Pain, anger, sadness (is this a time to act?);
  • Does putting a woman on the altar “skip” the hard parts? Must change come through official channels?
  • Priests who love their work, who fear being reckless, but also fear being a coward;
  • Anger that this issue has been brought up, changing the tone and focus of our meeting.
Tony Flannery wrote in his blog post:
I suppose I can say that the issue of women’s place in the Church surfaced… in a way that was far deeper than anything I have understood up to this. And it created enormous dilemmas for most of us sitting around.  There was a great deal of hurt, sadness and tears, with many people clearly wrestling with their own conscience and coming face to face with their fears in a very open way. One of the consequences was that we were unable to celebrate Eucharist together, as we had planned, and instead had a prayer service. But that  bald statement does little justice to the level of sharing that went on, and to the reasons why we felt we could not proceed.
I was crying for most of this conversation, like eye faucets had been turned on inside. Through tears I saw so much pain in the faces and processing of priests and reform leaders, disappointment and anger. For me, the anger came later – but in the moment it was grace and sadness that were most present. I want to respect the intimacy of the meeting and the legitimacy of all of the feelings shared, and acknowledge the tenderness that followed in comforting one another, in our shared and also very personal pain, sadness, anger, fear, and brokenness.  As I was surrounded by embraces after our conversation, there were many little huddles of support. Kind words of, this is the conversation we needed to have, the Holy Spirit was speaking, helped relieve some of my own guilt that I personally had somehow deprived our new community of the Eucharist.
A very insightful prayer group formed after our conversation and prepared a prayer ritual for us, using bread and wine as symbols that we would not partake in together.  One theme that ran through the entire conference was the power of a broken heart, Parker Palmer’s idea of “breaking open” of hearts. What became clear is the hearts of our church are broken, breaking, divided, and in pain. I pray when we break open, we open to hold the whole world. I believe, as Christians, this big, broken, open heart is how we know and find God.
I know there will be more reflections to come from this meeting, as many of us are still processing the experience. For now, to read more, see: Tony Flannery’s blog, the Irish Times, and press release from the conference.  The press release offers a fuller picture of the exciting organizing, concrete work, and strategies that came from our time together in addition to this experience. More to come!

Kate McElwee's blog

Annual Vigil Outside Philadelphia Cathedral Demands Ordination of Women as Catholic Priests 2 April

Members of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Women’s Ordination Conference gathered in Sister Cities Park, across the street from the cathedral. Photo by Hadas Kuznits)
Catholic women with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Women’s Ordination Conference  stood witness today across the street from the Cathedral Basilica of Ss. Peter and Paul, outside the home of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, calling once again for the ordination of women as priests in the Catholic Church.
The group’s president, Regina Bannan, explains it’s an annual gathering.
“We’ve been here, we estimate, about 35 years doing this.  Things haven’t changed,” she noted. Does she think their wish will ever come to fruition? “Well, we feel both hopeful and discouraged by Pope Francis,” Bannan said.  “He’s been wonderful in his witness for mercy for the poor, and we think he has a blind spot when it comes to women.”
Bannan says ordaining women would create justice in the Roman Catholic Church.
“More of the active people in the church are women.  Why should their gifts not be recognized and acknowledged?” she said. And Bannan says although women are still not allowed to be priests in the Catholic Church, she senses the tide is starting to change.
“When we started, 27 percent of Catholics (in the US) favored women’s ordination. Now it is always two-thirds or more. Among young people it is 87 percent,” she notes.
Hadas Kuznits
James Connolly Memorial Lecture, 2015

Saturday 9 May, 2 p.m., in the New Theatre, 43 East Essex Street, Temple Bar, Dublin
Speaker: Sister Teresa Forcades (Catalunya)

Sister Teresa, a Benedictine nun from Montserrat, is a leading campaigner in Catalunya and also throughout Spain against austerity and the massive corporate debt imposed by the European Union on the peoples of Spain. She is also an outspoken campaigner for women’s rights. She will be speaking on the theme “Building resistance to austerity and opposing the European Union.”
She is also a speaker at WOW 2015

WOW Conference Prayer

We are mindful that Your Spirit, Loving Creator, has awakened in us and in those upon whose shoulders we stand, an awareness of Your Life and Voice within and around us. We listen, clothed in the sacred garments of the Good News of Jesus the Christ. We listen, assured that You have formed and gifted our hearts and minds for all that calls us forward. We listen, believing with gratitude, that you have prepared us for this moment in history when women shall stand firmly and fully in any and every dimension of ministry.

Help us, those who plan this important conference, and those who plan to participate in its offerings, to drink deeply of Your Wisdom and Vision as revealed in the Gospel. May that Cup of the Gospel assist us as we gather from around the globe to create a conference which will offer ways to seek and proclaim, and thereby reveal the Gospel pathway of justice for women and men, their children, people of faith everywhere, and for our living planet that nourishes all life dwelling upon it.

Our hope and our belief is that Your Justice will arise anew in every person attending this conference, and that this same Justice, in the power of Love, will fill willing hearts with courage and commitment to carry forth Love’s Embrace around this planet to wherever and whomever is in need of Love. Help us and all people whom we serve to immerse ourselves in the Gospel.


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