Day Three of Young Mercy Leaders' Pilgrimage
Thursday morning, Day three of the Young Mercy Leaders’ Pilgrimage, dawned bright, warm and sunny. It is wonderful that the weather is so good and everyone is enjoying being outside in the garden during the breaks. This is unusual for Ireland so it is worth mentioning in the daily reports!
The Morning Prayer took place in the International Room of Mercy International Centre. The hymn, ‘Circle of Mercy’ was sung and by now it is becoming familiar to all the Young Mercy Leaders, so the volume and zest of the singing is growing. The number of musicians has also increased as some of the Mercy Leaders and Delegation Leaders are playing violin, concertina, guitar, flute and melodica with the Sisters of Mercy musicians’ group, so it is a remarkable, combined effort.
During the singing of ‘The Circle of Mercy’, one student from each school, processed in with gifts from their local place and placed them around the prayer centrepiece. After a reflection on the pilgrimage logo, Morning Prayer ended with a rousing rendition of the pilgrimage anthem, ‘A Better Way’ by Liam Lawton.
Immediately after Morning Prayer, everyone moved to the Liffey Room in the Catherine McAuley Centre for the opening session, in advance of the first workshops of the morning. Pilgrimage Facilitator, Dee McKenna rsm says, in response to being asked how she is experiencing the group, “What a terrific group to work with. Smiling faces, immediate responses when invited to speak and earnest engagement with the work of the pilgrimage”.
Four workshops sessions took place today – two in the morning and two in the early afternoon. As the weather is so beautiful, the dance workshop was held in the garden, much to the delight of the participants.
During lunch break the second of two music rehearsals took place in the International Room. It was just wonderful to gather together with young people who are interested in music and singing, and to practice for the Closing Mass of the Pilgrimage, which will take place on Friday afternoon.
There is a lovely atmosphere around Mercy International Centre today – the Young Mercy Leaders are becoming more used to being here, they are familiar with their surroundings and are feeling very much at home. The sound of laughter and animated conversation fill the corridors and rooms and groups of students from all around the world are sitting in the garden, during breaks, chatting and getting to know one another. It is lovely to walk around and be surrounded by the sounds of happiness and joy.
At this point, each pilgrim has experienced and benefitted from 6 workshops, three keynote presentations and a tour of Mercy International Centre. The reaction to the workshops and the keynotes has been very enthusiastic and the young people are passionate about what they have heard and seen.
The keynote address today was given by Adele Howard rsm, who is consultant in the area of Communications to Mercy International Association and other religious organizations. Within MIA, Adele takes a leadership role in actively promoting global communication and provides technological expertise in support of the living, telling and supporting of the Mercy Story.
Adele reminded the Young Mercy Leaders that we have the best story to tell – the Good News of Jesus Christ, and we have the spirit to tell it. We tell this story through the ‘lens’ of Mercy as Catherine McAuley lived it. Adele praised the young people for their honesty and how they challenge us to be truthful and humble in our telling and living of the story.
Young people are experts in the use of communications technology and social media, and don’t need to be shown how to use them. However, Adele posed the following questions to them “What are you going to make use of it for? How are you going to express your story?”
She briefly told the young people the story of her involvement in digital storytelling before giving them a guided tour of the www.mercyworld.org website. This is the website of Mercy International Association and the largest, most extensive and definitive digital resource on Catherine McAuley, in the world. She encouraged the Young Mercy Leaders and their teachers to browse through this website in their own time and to use it to keep connected to others in the Mercy World and to the friends they have got to know on this pilgrimage. Adele also spoke about the vast number of Mercy resources contained in this Mercyworld web site. She told them that it was her vision to provide the capacity to tell the stories that can change the world, so as to make the world a better place.
Cathy Edge rsm, who works in the area of communications for her Congregation in Britain, demonstrated the upsurge in social media activity around this pilgrimage and told the young people (to tinkles of laughter around the room) that some of their mothers and grandmothers were following their progress on Facebook! Cathy outlined the ways social media is being used by Mercy International Association.
During the short session after the keynote address, the facilitator Dee McKenna rsm invited the pilgrims to share a word which summed up their experience of the day. Some examples of the words shared are as follows: Global, Cherished, Justice, Faith, Passion, Hope, Energy, Happy, Commitment, Trust, Love, Determined, Friend, Excitement, Drive, Just, Mercy.
The light evening meal was enjoyed in the garden as the weather continues to delight us.
This evening was a social evening and each school group had prepared games and fun activities to entertain the others. The sound of laughter reverberated throughout the house and garden of Mercy International Centre and it was obvious that a great time is being had by all!
Pilgrimage Communications Team