Ecclesial Women are women ‘among’ and ‘for’ the disciples of Jesus in the local Church. They are ‘lay’ in their identification with Christ’s faithful and in their distinction from ordained ministry. 

Their celibate consecration and Diocesan-oriented mission entrusts Ecclesial Women with a particular task of empowering the members of the local Church in the adventure of Christian discipleship and evangelisation. They do so through a commitment to:


  • exercise a ministry that assists those who have already embraced discipleship of Jesus to enter more fully into the mystery of his life by sharing the depth of their own discipleship with others;
  • empower the baptismal calling of others and to nurture the faith of the local Church;
  • discern the charisms and gifts of others and to identify the means by which these might be realised for the life of the local Church;
  • facilitate growth and development of the local Church, and
  • promote the unity in faith of the Diocese.

Such a charism is enabled by Ecclesial Women, therefore, appropriately working in collaboration with the leadership within the Diocese, and, themselves, being in positions of pastoral animation and leadership.

Ecclesial Women assume such appointments of leadership in the Diocese at the discretion of the Bishop. Such ministries might include animation of significant Diocesan pastoral programs, staffing of key Diocesan agencies and promoting important Diocesan initiatives. Special prominence is given to ministries of spiritual leadership drawing the people of the Diocese into a deeper involvement in the mystery of the Risen Lord.

Given that the commitment of Ecclesial Women is realised in sharing in the pastoral care of the Diocese through positions of leadership, facilitation, animation and empowerment, women who consider a calling to this public commitment need to demonstrate those attributes and skills which accord with the positions with which they will be entrusted by the Bishop. Since these positions will be varied according to the changing needs of the local Church, Ecclesial Women may be drawn from many different backgrounds. Ordinarily, they will be between the ages of twenty and sixty. They need to demonstrate a freedom and maturity capable of a life-long commitment, and a readiness to be formed into an ecclesial way of life humanly, spiritually, intellectually and pastorally. Most importantly, the induction of Ecclesial Women is to assist them grow into consecrated persons throughout their life. It attends to their growth as human beings in relationship with others and it attends to their spiritual life.

Formation is a continuing process unfolding through their ministry. The lifestyle of Ecclesial Women provides them with a discipline, i.e. with both structure for their identity and with flexibility for their ministry. Ecclesial Women commit themselves to daily lectio divina and Eucharist, weekly spiritual reading, study, and examination of life, and a balanced life between ministry and leisure. Their prayer together, along with their common devotion to Mary, the model of discipleship, mother of the Church and Star of the Sea, will also act to strengthen their commitment.

The discernment of the vocation as an Ecclesial Woman is ultimately the responsibility of the Bishop, assisted by those he has appointed as advisors in such matters.

Catholic Diocese of
Broken Bay

Building 2, 423 Pennant Hills Road
Pennant Hills NSW 2120

PO Box 340
Pennant Hills NSW 1715

Phone 02 9847 0000
Fax 02 9847 0001

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