papal leadership
FutureChurch Reports from Rome

Dear Friend   


We're home from Rome and recouping from jet lag but wanted to send one last email with photos of our pilgrimage, a correction,  and especially our thanks for your prayers, donations and kind companioning during this exciting time.

First, some photos:Liz and Signatures


Our brilliant and hard-working program coordinator, Liz England, with a packet of lists of names documenting 25,000 post card and petitions asking for optional celibacy and women deacons.  




Here I am in St. Peter's Square after the white smoke awaiting word of who our new Pope is to be.  Rebecca Parrish (camera) and Shuling Yong (mike) are two members of a documentary crew who accompanied me and our pilgrimage for two weeks. Click here for a preview of, expected to be completed in early 2014.



Here we are having a bread breaking prayer service at the  Catacombs of Priscilla, site of a fresco of women celebrating

a Eucharistic meal.

Very moving for everyone.  


And our candlelight vigil and litany honoring honoring anonymous women leaders at St. Sabine helped us all remember to value women's outreach and ministry,  too often taken for granted



Red Face Department:

In the last eblast I made a mistake in reporting our postcard numbers.    
Liz did the tabulation and in the rush of too much to do too late at night, I simply got it mixed up. Here is the correction:   
There were 25,000 postcard/open letter communications sent altogether, including both optional celibacy and women deacons postcards and  our open letter petitions to US Bishops

When I presented the Optional Celibacy documentation to the Congregation for the Clergy the total number was 19,198

And the Women Deacon documentation total is 12756. ( we started this a year after the optional celibacy effort, hence the difference) 

Both sets of postcard numbers include hundreds of international signatures as well as thousands of signatures to local bishops. Here is how we computed it:  

  1. We have documentation of 12756 optional celibacy electronic/paper postcards, sent to the Vatican and local bishops
  2. We have documentation of 6066 women deacon electronic/paper postcards sent to the Vatican and local bishops
  3. We added an ADDITIONAL 6442 to each of the above accounting for the open letter signatures to US Bishops asking for open discussion of optional celibacy and women deacons.

We plan to continue sending postcards to Vatican offices for as long as it takes. (As a matter of fact, we mailed some of your postcards from the Vatican Post Office last Friday before leaving!)  


Hopefully, with our new Pope Francis, we will soon see a greater emphasis on collegiality.  Maybe even to the extent of allowing local bishops to make decisions about optional celibacy and women deacons for their dioceses . Wouldn't that be great?


Thanks again for all your support and prayers over the past three weeks. They made all the difference in an otherwise very hectic time.   


Chris Schenk CSJ


Your Donation Makes Projects Like These Possible. Thanks!    


P.S. If you are interested in learning more about archaeological evidence for early women leaders click here. And email us if you would like to go on the pilgrimage next year.


And you can order our Women Leaders in Early Christianity CD and Presenter's Guide to view and learn about many of the sites we will be visiting in Rome  



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