October 25, 2019

Mercy Global Action Marks the UN international Day for the Eradication of Poverty

Back row: Colleen Swain (MGA), Mary Moorhead (MIA Board)), Marie Louise White rsm (MIA Board), David Haas, Maria Lawton rsm (MIA Board) Front row: Amanda Carrier rsm (MGA), Susan Clarke (MIA Board), Angela Reed rsm (MGA), Sheila Carney rsm (MIA Board), Ron Ashworth (MIA Board), Mary Reynolds rsm (CEO MIA), Suzanne Ryder rsm (MIA Board)

Last week in commemoration of the United Nations International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, Mercy Global Action (MGA) hosted internationally renowned liturgical composer and author David Haas for an evening of song and prayer. David, accompanied by soloists Colleen Swain (MGA Leadership Development and Advocacy Associate) and Maria Brinkman, led the assembly in the Church Center for the UN in songs spanning the whole of his musical ministry. With the Mercy International Association board in New York for meetings, we were delighted they could be present for this uplifting moment of prayer and solidarity. While we sang and prayed for peace, the poor, and for God’s kingdom, David shared his own wisdom and stories gleaned from years of active service.

As he sat at the grand piano in the interfaith chapel, David shared the story behind the song “We Shall Rise Again.” While participating in a liturgical program at a Mercy hospital in the United States, David’s witness of the resilience of patients inspired him to write the words, “we shall run and not grow weary… we shall rise again.”  David’s moment of integration, culminating in the creation of this song, connects encounters with the vulnerable to encounters with our God. 

Later in the evening, David Haas led those present in his “Magnificat”, illustrating this connection between our active and contemplative lives in Mary’s own words:  

God fills the starving with good things, the rich are left with empty hands

Protecting all the faithful ones, remembering Israel with mercy

the promise known to those before and to their children for ever

All that I am sings of the God who brings new life to birth in me

My spirit soars on the wings of my Lord [1]

The interplay of contemplation and action is deeply rooted in our Mercy heritage and is fundamental to the ministry carried out by MIA-MGA on a global scale.  The experience and concerns of Mercy communities around the earth, from sisters and partners in ministry, calls the needs of the suffering world to our hearts and minds just as it did for Catherine McAuley.

David closed the evening of song and prayer with “Blest are They,” which resonates with Mercy International Associations’ vision for global compassion and justice.  In his book Rejoice and Be Glad, David explains that he wrote this song as a “trumpet blast calling us each to conversion...and bring[ing] to heel policies and initiatives that keep people in bondage; that keep people trapped in poverty and exclusion.”[2]  The Beatitudes are a call to advocate for justice, especially justice for those rendered poor who are so often invisible and voiceless.  Like Catherine’s teachings and example, “Blest are They” reminds us all of our sacred call to stand with the displaced who have been left behind and forgotten by society, economic and political systems, corruption, and greed.  As we move forward from the UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, let us continue to advocate and pray for justice with David’s words: “Blest are they who show mercy...who seek peace... who suffer hate, all because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, yours is the kingdom; shine for all to see.”[3]

[1] Haas, David. Best of David Haas vol1: Blest are They. GIA Publications, 1995

[2] Haas, David. Rejoice and be Glad (Y)Ours is The Kingdom of God. Marco Island, FL. Clear Faith Publishing, LLC. 2019, ppxvii-xviii

[3] Haas, David. Rejoice and be Glad (Y)Ours is the Kingdom of God. GIA Publications, Inc. 1986.

Messages to: Amanda Carrier rsm -Intern MIA -MGA


Editor: The concert was livestreamed on our MIA Facebook page where it was enjoyed by a number of our Facebook followers. Permission was not given to archive the concert online.

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