Margit Mayberry

Syracuse, NY

"When I joined the Catholic Church in 2002, I was astonished to learn that women couldn't be deacons. I grew up in the Presbyterian Church where there were many women deacons. I joined Sr. Rose Margaret Noonan in teaching adult Bible studies. Sr. Rose, then in her 80's, told me she felt called to the priesthood. Several years passed and then I recognized my own call to the diaconate. I wrote a letter to Bishop Cunningham, presenting myself as a candidate for the diaconate. He phoned my parish priest to find out who I was, and then sent me a condescending letter, stating that women could not be ordained and that I should continue my good work of teaching Bible studies. I sent him another reply, stating that I knew what the teaching of the church is, but I believed it was wrong, since there were clearly women deacons in the early church. I also said that it is impossible that the gifts of the Holy Spirit should be controlled by our sexual organs. To that letter I did not get a reply. Several more years passed and I had the opportunity to study theology. I got a Graduate Certificate in Hispanic Ministry and Theology from the Catholic Theological Union of Chicago. Then, when our Spanish speaking priest was moved to another parish, I got the job of coordinating the Spanish Apostolate in the Southern Region of our diocese. So, now I have the job of a deacon, without the title. I lead worship services of the Liturgy of the Word in Spanish and preach, and facilitate a Spanish Prayer Group. I have a sign in my office at church that says: "Ordain women or don't baptize them." I pray that the church will open the door to ministry for women."
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