Community Faculty Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Religion

Free Month-Long Seminar on Women Deacons Offers a Deep Examination of Past, Present, Future

Dr. Phyllis Zagano, adjunct professor of religion

“Women Deacons: Past, Present, Future,” a free Massive Online Open Seminar (MOOS) supported by Hofstra University’s online education effort, is being held June 9-July 8, 2014, on, a Blackboard platform. The seminar features researchers and authors of articles and books on the women’s diaconate, including:

 Hofstra Religion Professor Phyllis Zagano, author, Fulbright scholar and 2014 recipient of the Isaac Hecker Award for Social Justice. Her books include Holy Saturday: An Argument for the Restoration of the Female Diaconate in the Catholic Church.

William T. Ditewig and Gary Macy, co-authors with Dr. Zagano of Women Deacons: Past, Present, Future

Cameo appearances by members of the Catholic Theological Society of America.

Registration for the MOOS is now open.

Two course books, Women Deacons: Past, Present, Future (Paulist Press) and Ordination of Women as Deacons in the Eastern Churches: Essays by Cipriano Vagaggini (Liturgical Press), are featured in the seminar. The seminar includes annotated bibliography, PowerPoint presentations, video lectures, and voluntary discussion board.

During the seminar:

•The first four days of each week will contain readings and lectures (up to an hour’s worth of work per day).

•Each Friday, the Seminar Discussion Board will open with starter questions for the week’s work. Where possible an instructor or a teaching assistant will join in. The seminar participants will consider questions related to past, present and future during the discussion:

1.      In the past: Who were the women deacons in the early church? Were they ordained? What did they do? Why did they disappear?

2.      In the present: When was the diaconate rejuvenated, and why? Has there been consideration of women in the diaconate?

3.      In the future: What are the obstacles to women in the diaconate? How can these challenges be addressed? What would it mean for women to be ordained?

Those interested in women’s history and women’s studies, religion, and the Catholic church would benefit from the seminar. Registration thus far has been international, including people from the US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, U.K., Ireland, South Africa and India.

More information on the MOOS is available at Voice of the Faithful.

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