“Were they ordained in ceremonies identical to those used for men? Yes. Was that always the case? Who knows? Did their ordination ceremonies include the epiclesis -- the calling down of the Holy Spirit -- and the laying on of hands? Yes. Did they have the same tasks and duties as men deacons? No. They had some. But neither did men deacons share their tasks and duties, including anointing ill women and those newly baptized. History alone cannot decide this. One hopes the Holy Spirit is in the details.

“I cannot tell you how things will be resolved, or when. I can only say that it appears Pope Francis will make a decision. I genuinely believe his decision, whatever it is, will be the right one,” she said.”

For now, the formation of the commission is a start to what could be a major change in the Catholic Church. It’s still unclear what the scope of the commission’s work will be (even Zagano said she didn’t know what comes next), but the fact that a dialogue is happening is important.

“Conversations are important. Listening to experts is important,” said Patrick Donovan, director of the Diocesan Leadership Institute for the Diocese of Bridgeport. “Even if nothing happens, this is really huge.”