Mercy Associates find new ways to connect
During the lockdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Mercy Associates Network Facilitators are offering extra support to Mercy Associates, to supplement what groups are doing locally.
There are currently 16 Mercy Associates groups within the Institute, and in normal times meeting face to face is a highly valued aspect of their shared community life.
As we all adapt to our changed circumstances, it is more important than ever to nurture our connections to one another, and to support one another in prayer – and to do this in new and creative ways.
Each week, contact persons for the Associates groups receive a weekly prayer collated by one of the Mercy Associates Network Facilitators, which they send on to local members.
These combine scripture, images, prayers and reflections, such as a beautiful letter by Mercy Associate Jan O’Connor on ‘An Easter Without Going to Church’.
During Easter Week, 20 Mercy Associates from a wide variety of locations and groups around Australia gathered online for prayer facilitated by Anne Pate.
Along with the disciples at the empty tomb (John 20:1-9), we celebrated the hope of new life, of joy emerging from the darkness.
Not only was the zoom technology new to many, this was also the first time that such a large number of Mercy Associates from different local groups had gathered together.
After the prayer, Associates enjoyed further conversation over a comfortable cuppa.
As we anticipate the eventual easing of current restrictions, perhaps some of these innovations could continue, fostering community both within and between Mercy Associates groups.
We are called to be the Presence of Christ to one another and to those we serve, using the means we have at our disposal and adapting to the circumstances in which we find ourselves so that new life may emerge.
In the words of Catherine McAuley, ‘You should remember that not to advance is to go back’ (The Practical Sayings of Catherine McAuley, ed. by Mary C. Sullivan, p18).
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