March 06, 2007

Erie, Pa., (USA) prayer card printing tops 46,000

By Gary Loncki

About half of the 46,100 prayer cards printed by the Erie Mercy Community to promote an effort in the United States to have Catherine McAuley canonized were sent outside the Erie area, according to a report.

The Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas asked Erie to handle requests from across the country for the prayer cards. Erie receptionist Edie Hudson, who handled the requests, said she sent prayer cards to places as far away as California, Washington and New Mexico. She said the largest order was 11,500 prayer cards for Mercy High School, Omaha, Nebraska. The report was compiled for Sister Sheila Carney of Pittsburgh, who is trying to learn the extent to which Mercy communities in the United States duplicated canonization materials created by Fraynework of Australia to promote Catherine’s canonization. “We have gladly done our part to promote efforts to have Catherine canonized and are looking to help in other ways if needed,” said Sister Bernadette Bell, Erie president.

Bernadette ordered the initial printing of 2,500 of each of the prayer cards – a total of 40,000 -- to be distributed to our sisters and associates, Mercy ministries and the general public. An additional 6,100 prayer cards were printed to meet requests. The report also notes that Bernadette and Sister Teresa Okonski held a news conference July 19 to announce the distribution and availability of the prayer cards. Erie’s television stations, the Erie Times News, and in the Erie Diocese’s bimonthly newsletter, “FaithLife,” gave the effort extensive coverage. After a story and photos regarding the Erie effort were published by the Catholic News Service Aug. 10, the Institute, which did not print the prayer cards, instructed Erie to handle national distribution. Other activities aimed at promoting Catherine’s canonization included Erie making its media kit available to other Mercy communities via the Internet. Also, Sheila Carney on November 12, 2006 gave a talk on Catherine at the Erie motherhouse, a story of which was published in the December News Briefs, the Erie community's monthly newsletter.

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