Lynne Mapes-Riordan has long been active at St. Nicholas Catholic Church in the Chicago suburb of Evanston. She never thought about becoming an ordained deacon, however, until her church began praying to the Virgin Mary to help guide one the men in her parish who was training to become a deacon.
Then Mapes-Riordan had an epiphany.
"I read that prayer because part of it was to help people understand what deacons do. And it occurred to me that Mary herself could not be a deacon," Mapes-Riordan said.
That's because the Catholic diaconate, as it's known, is currently open only to men. That might change.