Ever Ancient, Ever New: Exploring the Female Diaconate 






The topic of the ordination of women as permanent deacons has emerged at three consecutive global synods in Rome, most notably the recent Synod of Bishops on the Pan-Amazonian Region (October 2019), which formally requested that Pope Francis reestablish a papal commission to study the topic. Now that commission has been formed, which continues the dialogue and discernment in the church.

This discussion converges with the synodal process currently taking place in this Archdiocese. The goal of the local synod is “to help Archbishop Hebda discern, through a consultative process, the pastoral priorities of our local Church today – and into the near future.” The Archdiocese wants to hear your pastoral concerns and ideas for moving the Archdiocese forward. This evening of dialogue on the ministry and leadership of women in the Catholic Church, specifically the history of women deacons and the contemporary practice and theology of the permanent diaconate, can contribute to the local synodal process.



Rev. Luke Hansen, S.J., is a Jesuit priest who has studied the history of women deacons, the restoration of the permanent diaconate at the Second Vatican Council, and as a journalist reported from the Synods of Bishops in Rome in 2015, 2018 and 2019. Luke has an MA in social philosophy from Loyola University Chicago, a Masters of Divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, and a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He is a contributing editor for America, he held the same position for the Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica in Rome, and he has won several awards from the Catholic Press Association for his writing.

Casey Stanton, M.Div., is the Minister of Adult Faith Formation at Immaculate Conception Parish in Durham, North Carolina. She holds a BA from the University of Notre Dame, and a Masters of Divinity from Duke Divinity School where she graduated with a certificate in prison studies. Casey spent a decade working in the field of faith-based and labor organizing where she witnessed the power of collective action to bend decision makers towards justice. She hopes to be part of nudging the church towards a more radical embodiment of inclusive leadership, hospitality, social action, and mutual care. A Boston native, Casey is proud to make a home in Durham with her partner Felipe, and their two children, Micaela and Teddy. She loves reading poetry out loud and seeing her favorite band, Hardworker, perform live. You can find her occasionally blogging at Women in Theology.

This summer, Casey and Luke co-led the five-week discernment and organizing workshop, Discern, Dream & Scheme. The inaugural cohort included 44 participants engaged in a variety of works and ministries in 19 U.S. states and New Zealand.


Please email Carol Arend at or call the parish office!