October 06, 2015

How One Parish Celebrated Mercy Day 2015

In the East-coast parish of Laytown Co. Meath Mercy Day 2015 had a different focus, in that the celebrations were mainly parish-based.

At the beginning of the year dedicated to Consecrated Life the parish liturgy group invited each of the five congregations in Laytown/Bettystown to an awareness-raising week of celebrations around that congregation’s Feast Day. For Mercies that was the week September 19-26. Sr. Assumpta Wallace a prominent member of the liturgy group played a pivotal role in mounting a display in the church demonstrating the Laytown Mercy Story from its foundation from Drogheda in 1944 to the present day. Integral to that story and featured in the display were the Circle of Mercy and the Mercy Mission Areas of Nigeria and Zambia. Indeed members of the Circle worked with the Liturgy Group in setting up the display. During the week many worshippers, visitors and passers-by visited the display which raised awareness, refreshed memories and posed questions and comments:

“Are those keys still existing and if so where are they?”{Yes, they are still in the Archives in Baggot St.}

“I never knew [or had forgotten!] that Catherine went to Paris (Yes, she spent some time in a Finishing School there, improving her skills as a teacher)

“I’m glad to see the cup and saucer; that for me epitomises the Mercy Nuns whom I only came into contact with here in Laytown in my as well as their retiring years”

These few remarks on top of the overwhelming applause for the professional tone of the display give some indication of the level of interest and awareness raised.

The Eucharist at 7pm on Mercy Day was the highlight of the week. Sisters travelled from as far away as Tullamore and Mount Bolus, from all over Co. Meath as well as from Dundalk and Castleblayney to celebrate and give thanks. The four other congregations in the parish were well represented also: Medical Missionaries of Mary, Holy Rosary, Presentation and Loreto Sisters.

Mercy life was demonstrated symbolically in the opening procession, the choir and congregation lifted their voices in pleasant harmony and prayers of the faithful included intentions close to the heart of Mercy. Sr. Madeleine Gavigan’s sweet singing of the responsorial psalm and Suscipe was soul-touching while Sr. Assumpta Wallace surpassed all expectations in bringing Catherine to life through her homily. She concluded by thanking chief celebrant and parish priest Fr. Denis Mc Nelis for his leadership, encouragement, support and appreciation. The parish room where the refreshments were served afterwards was alive with the energy for waking up the world as the recessional hymn with that theme resounded in our hearts.

One fact remains amid all that has changed in our tripping about: that Mercy is still very much alive among muintir na háite (the local community). Here’s some food for thought -Celebrating with one another is the icing of the cake, celebrating with our parish community is the icing on the cake.

Messages to: Joan McManus rsm

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