(Source: Catholic Women’s Council)
The motto is new and marks a turning point in the Catholic world: “12 women. 12 places. 12 sermons.” The Catholic Women’s Association of Germany (kfd) has proclaimed May 17th the nationwide Women Preachers’ Day.
May 17th is the day of Apostle Junia, that martyr from whom the Bible, due to a translation error, unceremoniously made a man, Junias. The error was not corrected until 2016, so it is all the more important that Junia Day is given even more significance from now on!
The idea for the day: Women preach nationwide at the same time in Eucharistic celebrations in Catholic churches. There are no women preaching in the Eucharist so far. They are all the more representative of lived gender justice and a gender-equitable church, as the kfd has long demanded.
In May 2020, the kfd held the premiere of the first nationwide Women Preachers’ Day. Twelve Eucharistic celebrations with twelve women at twelve different locations were planned and promised. But then the coronavirus demanded alternative sermon concepts due to closed churches in many places.
The women preachers naturally accepted this challenge. Some of them recorded their sermon on video, others set pictures to music or wrote texts for reading. Three sermons took place as planned.
Angelika Plümpe, Spiritual Theological Companion in the kfd Diocesan Association Berlin, preached there in the congregation Holy Family Berlin: “On the day of commemoration of Apostle Junia I would like to make clear that women are also called to the ministry of preaching – like Junia, whom Paul called an ‘outstanding apostle'”.
With their participation, the women made it clear that they unwaveringly stand up for a gender-equitable church and follow their calling. They are all active as spiritual leaders or companions and in the kfd.
The premiere was successful under difficult conditions. A new edition of the Women Preachers’ Day is planned for 2021.
For Ulrike Göken-Huismann, who has been kfd’s Spiritual Adviser at national level since 2013 and a member of the kfd Federal Executive Board, the campaign is groundbreaking:
“I also see it as a contribution by the kfd to the Synodal Way of the Church in Germany: the lifting of the ban on lay women preaching in the Eucharist would be a small but important step towards the necessary renewal of the Church”.