May 25, 2012

Fiche bliain ag fás agus fiche bliain faoi bhláth 20 Years Growing and 20 years Flowering (MIA)

2012 marks the 20th anniversary of the foundation of Mercy International Association (1992 -2012). Last week the Leader Members and the Directors of the Board of Mercy International Association met for the Annual General Meeting of the Association, and in recalling the wonderful story of the past 20 years, looked forward in hope to the next 20. The theme of the meeting was Future Horizons and it was facilitated by Breege O’Neill, rsm.

Both the Members and Board Directors engaged in conversation on what role MIA might play in the following:

Lay Leadership Formation in the charism of Mercy.

The leadership of Mercy ministries is widening out to an increasing band of lay Mercy leaders, who are taking forward the visioning, management, and service of people in Mercy ministries. Increasingly, they are seeking interconnection among Mercy ministries around the world. It was accepted that MIA can play a supportive role of lay leaders by providing pilgrimage experiences at Mercy International Centre, by developing ethos formation programmes and by facilitating global interconnection.

Exposure of Youth to the Mercy Story and Empowerment for Response

Most young people, today, consider themselves citizens of a global world; they take international travel as part of everyday experience and use social media as the norm for communication. In these times, there are opportunities for relationship unparalleled at any other time. Like the ages before them, young people seek identity, meaning and connection and one response to that need is to share our story. The Mercy story is a powerful one as has been evidenced at the 2011 Youth Pilgrimage to Mercy International Centre and in the many school and university group visits to MIC. MIA recognises in this a wonderful opportunity for ministry to youth into the future

Membership Support

MIA believes that it has a role to play in supporting membership in a deeper immersion in the Mercy story and in engaging Mercy mission. It further believes that it can play a role in fostering interconnection and collaboration and in maximizing impact in global response to need, particularly in the context of a changing demographic profile of Mercy vowed membership.

Global Response to Identified Issues of Critical Concern

What makes MIA Global Action unique is its capacity to link Mercy response to certain identified issues of poverty in 46 countries with lobbying for systemic change at national and international levels. It has the expertise and interconnection to develop well researched positions linked to on-the-ground case studies and progressed through strategic alliances with others of similar intent. It also aims to contextualize its work within a theological framework. MIA Members expressed appreciation of the valued contribution all of this makes to the Mercy mission and ministry at the local level and encouraged continued effort.

Web-based communication for the enhancement of mission and nurture of Mercy Family

The traffic on indicates an average of 25,000 visitors to the site every month or 300,000 annually. MIA recognises that the capacity of the web for a host of activities is enormous. A developing aspect of the web is its e-learning capacity, which facilitates programmes being offered beyond the Mercy International Centre. There are possibilities, yet untapped here, e.g. ethos development programmes for Mercy Ministry personnel, on-going formation programmes, global action education and advocacy, to name but a few.

Members ratified the appointment of Sister Patricia McDermott as the Chair of the Board. They endorsed the work of the Board and Team in furthering the Vision of MIA and gave their support to a funding scenario to meet MIA’s annual funding needs into the future. This includes the building up of an Endowment Fund.

May the next 20 years be truly the ‘flowering years’ for MIA!

Messages to Mary Reynolds rsm - Executive Director MIA

Photograph l-r Patricia Bell rsm Chair Member MIA with Denise Fox rsm Board Member

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