September 23, 2016

At St Monica’s, We Are Faces of Mercy (Parramatta Congregation)

St Monica’s is a Mercy school, founded in 1892 by the Sisters of Mercy, Parramatta. It is rich in tradition and builds a Christ-Centred environment where our school community can grow and flourish.

L-r: Brooke Emphield, Natasha Muttoo,
Alanah Khadi, Chanel Azar
and Michelle Rosewell, REC

As 2016 is the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, we have had a strong School focus on the Corporal Works of Mercy. In the earlier months of 2016, I formed a special group of Year 6 Mercy Leaders and together we began a Mercy action initiative which focused on a different Corporal Work of Mercy each month.

Designed to provide the students with a deeper understanding of Mercy in action, particularly relating to the Corporal Works of Mercy, each classroom teacher has been provided with a resource kit which includes a variety of suggestions. The kit offers prayer ideas and includes brochures and posters especially designed to create awareness about people in need, especially the homeless and asylum seekers. Practical ideas includes opportunities for students to donate food and money to St Vincent de Paul and to Arrupe Place, a Centre which provides practical support to asylum seekers in outer Western Sydney.

As well as the whole-school monthly focuses, special weekly lessons based on Mercy values are being taught in every classroom. These lessons include parables from Scripture on mercy, songs whose themes underscore Mercy, as well as quotations on Mercy by Pope Francis.

Our whole School Masses this year have all focused on Mercy. The Opening School Mass’ theme was At St Monica’s, we are the faces of Mercy; for Mother’s Day, the theme was Mary, Mother of Mercy and for St Monica’s Day (the School’s Feast Day), Nothing is Far from God.

The Year of Mercy was also the focus of our Staff Development Day - Evangelisation Day - where all staff members visited the Holy Doors of Mercy at a Franciscan Shrine in Kellyville, Sydney. The day provided a rich opportunity for all of us to pray and reflect together on the invitation to reach out in Mercy to all those who cry out in need.

Students and staff alike continue to deepen our understanding and awareness of the needs in our local and wider community. Our Mercy focus has led to many opportunities for students and staff to reach out and demonstrate a genuine social justice stance which is ‘grounded in Mercy’ and founded on deeper awareness, understanding, acceptance and inclusion of all.

Michelle Rosewell - Religious Education Coordinator c/- Margaret Sheppard rsm

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