September 12, 2018

First 'Mercy to Earth' Programme Experienced as A Great Success

Participants gathered in the International Room for the initial sharing of one's own background, experiences, concerns and interests on day one.

Editor: The first highly-successful 'Mercy to Earth' programme was held at Baggot Street last week (3-7 September), facilitated by Brenda Dolphin rsm. Participants from Ireland, Newfoundland, Aotearoa New Zealand and the UK heard presentations from speakers in person (Denise Boyle fmdm (MIA-MGA), Margaret Twomey rsm, Carmel Bracken rsm (The Congregation, Anna Nicholls rsm (MIA), Anne Walsh (MIA) and online: Veronica Lawson rsm (ISMAPNG), Senolita Vakata rsm (Aotearoa New Zealand), Chris Hill (ISMAPNG), Mavic Paderanga rsm (Philippines), Marianne Comfort (Americas), Carmen Rosa Callo Mamani rsm (Americas), Angela Reed rsm (MIA-MGA).

The use of the life-size video conferencing technology to bring in presenters, enabled those at Baggot Street to enjoy a truly global experience, hearing first-hand of the challenges being faced in many parts of the Mercy world in dealing with issues such as climate change, pollution, typhoons and extractive industries, and the diversity of possible responses: including participation in the Catholic Climate Declaration, Finding our Rhythm of Compassion and Advocacy work as an expression of Mercy ecojustice work.

The programme included the sharing of one's own background, experiences, concerns and interests; daily prayer; ritual, meditation practices, song and movement; input and contemplative dialogue. A guided pilgrimage walk at Glendalough, led by Margaret Prendergast rsm on Thursday afternoon, was greatly appreciated by participants, providing as it did an opportunity to 'still your mind, inspire your heart and fill your soul', particularly important in such a programme.

Among the reflections from some of the participants:

In reflecting on the enriching, stimulating and very affirming program offered at Mercy International Centre this past week our first words are words of sincere gratitude ... To meet with likeminded presenters and participants holding an intense desire for the compassionate healing of our Earth Home was a sacred experience which gently reinvigorated us and deepened our sensitivity to the interconnectedness and interrelatedness of all creation... It was reassuring to know that the urgency of Earth’s call is being heard by the Mercy Family, a Mercy Global Presence, and that we in Mercy are consciously and actively coming together around the issue of mercy to Earth. Something new is beginning to happen as together we each do our part in enabling Earth back to a more vibrant life so that God’s love and justice can flourish for all of life through our humble efforts...
Changing our ways so that future generations will actually have a future is a major challenge. This calls me to a personal conversion. I thought I was ecologically sensitive but was quickly disillusioned as I listened to the many speakers and reflected and shared with the other participants... The effective use of 21st century technology during the conference was impressive. Nothing was added to the carbon footprint of the speakers from as far away as Oceania, Australia, Peru, US and Philippines as well as nearer home...The call to be Mercy Global Presence individually and collectively was inspiring and energising...
I felt the video links with distant countries were an illustration of Pope Francis message in Laudato Si that we are all one family, the family of creation. I was so impressed at the Mercy efforts being made around the world to heal our planet, to hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. It is a privilege to be part of that family.

In 2019 the programme will run from 9-13 September. Expressions of interest to: Anna Nicholls rsm.

Messages to: Anna Nicholls rsm - Team Leader Heritage & Spirituality

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