News & Media
Press Releases
As Pope Francis’ commission on women deacons continues its work, Catholic women gather for a second retreat to discern their own call and advocate for the restoration of the female diaconate
Release date: 
Saturday, September 9, 2017

For Immediate Release: September 9, 2017

Contact:  Deborah Rose-Milavec, FutureChurch executive director, 513.673.1401 (cell),

Cindi “Sam” Bowns,, 708.819.5623

Burlingame, CA:  Sixteen Roman Catholic women are gathering this weekend to learn more about women who served as deacons throughout the history of Christianity; to discern their own call to the permanent diaconate; and, to advocate for the restoration of women deacons in the church. 

This is the second retreat being offered by FutureChurch, a national organization that has educated and advocated for the restoration of women deacons for a decade.  The first retreat was held in September 2016 with twenty-two women from the U.S. and Canada in attendance. 

“As I have come to know these profoundly faithful and committed women in the course of these two retreats, I am amazed at how deeply they understand their own call from God and the community,” said Deborah Rose-Milavec, executive director of FutureChurch.  “Further, they recognize that they and countless other women in the church are already doing the work of deacons even though they are not officially ordained.”

Lisa Frey, D.Min., a pastoral associate with a doctorate in homiletics, will lead the retreat on Saturday. She will share the history of women preachers in Christianity and help participants formulate their own foundation for preaching.  Today, deacons are called to the ministries of the liturgy, word and charity so preaching is important aspect of diaconal service and a focus for this retreat.

Cindi “Sam” Bowns, M.Div., one of the leaders of the retreat, recognized her call to the diaconate as she accompanied her husband through his diaconal formation program.  Opening the retreat, she urged participants to share their stories and voices saying, “It is important for the whole church to recognize that women are being called to this ministry and that we have gifts and strengths that are both needed and unique for the life of the church and the work of the Gospel.” 

Along with retreats for women who are discerning their call to the permanent diaconate, FutureChurch, in cooperation with the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests and Voice of the Faithful have launched DeaconChat, a downloadable resource designed to inspire conversations about the diaconate among laity and clergy.  FutureChurch’s 100 Women Deacons Campaign is an effort to bring the stories of women who feel called to the diaconate to the wider church.  Go to and to learn more. -end

About FutureChurch Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, FutureChurch seeks changes that will provide all Roman Catholics the opportunity to participate fully in Church life and leadership. It is a national coalition of parish centered Catholics striving to educate fellow Catholics about the seriousness of the priest shortage, the centrality of the Eucharist (the Mass), and the systemic inequality of women in the Catholic Church. FutureChurch is a nonprofit organization that makes presentations throughout the country, distributes education, advocacy and prayer resources and recruits activists who work on behalf of its mission.