Staff from all of the ministries of Sacred Heart Southern Missions in Mississippi, including schools, social service centers, the development office and parishes, came together for an in-service day on February 15. The focus was “Mercy,” in commemoration of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Fr. John van den Hengel, former vicar general and now regional superior of Canada, led the group in a reflection on “Mercy and Fr. Dehon.”
Fr. John acknowledged the wide variety of faiths present in the conference room. Although the Catholic Church is focused in a special way on mercy during this jubilee year, mercy is something essential to all faiths.
“Compassion and mercy belong to the Kingdom of God,” he said. “You can’t speak of mercy and compassion without God… What ties us together is God’s mercy.”
Lois Harrison and Sherry Rayford. Sherry is a teacher at Holy Family School in Holly Springs; her home was one of those badly damaged during the December tornados. Lois is SHSM volunteer coordinator and has been helping Sherry’s family and others like her in rebuilding after the storm.
In small groups participants talked about their own experiences of mercy. Stories were told of the joy of holding one’s child for the first time, of feeling God’s compassion in the midst of hardship and challenge, of the gift of a loving spouse, the call to be an instrument of God’s love along with the strength to follow-through, the gift of being listened to and heard.
One woman reflected on the devastating storms that ripped through Holly Springs just before Christmas. “A tornado was destroying my friend’s home, her daughter’s house as well, but there she was in my living room while it was happening. She was safe with me.” She said that it was a miracle. But it was also the spark for extraordinary acts of mercy and kindness that continue today as the people of Holly Springs rebuild their homes and their lives. People give mercy, people receive mercy, all based in the infinite compassion and love of God.”
Click here to read more on the province website.
Click here to view photos from the day.