Posted on 7 July 2016
A joyous gathering of parish representatives from across the Diocese of Parramatta took place at St Patrick’s Cathedral precinct on Saturday 2 July to prepare for the Way of Mercy, a diocesan-wide initiative in the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Parishes and schools, religious congregations, ministries, Church groups, agencies and movements will host a Cross and Relics of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta as they journey throughout the Diocese from 8 August to 13 November 2016.
More than 150 representatives participated in a program of prayer and reflection, sharing ideas and planning for regional celebrations that will take place in parishes hosting the Cross and Relics.
To view a gallery of photos by Art in Images click here
Each parish and school is invited to highlight a special way that their community is a Face of Mercy. The Cross and Relics will also journey to bushland, hospitals and other areas in need of God’s mercy.
At the conclusion of the morning sessions, the Mercy Cross was carried in procession into St Patrick’s Cathedral where the Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Vincent Long OFM Conv, presided at the Commissioning Mass for the Way of Mercy.
In his homily, Bishop Vincent said: “It fills me with great joy and hope to commission you during this Eucharist as ambassadors for the Jubilee of Mercy. It is a daunting task and a tall order. Nevertheless, representing and being the face of a merciful God and a merciful Church is not something reserved to the elite or the extraordinary. It is an integral part of our Christian life and mission.
“Through the lens of mercy, we learn to be a missionary and inclusive Church – a Church that reaches out to those who struggle and fall short of the Christian ideal; a Church that does not demean or marginalise people on account of their sexual orientation, their marital status or their life circumstances.
“It is a Church that dialogues, that accompanies, that encourages, that engages with people’s struggles, wounds and failings. We do so with respect, empathy, compassion and humility. We are reminded of how the early Church accommodated and enabled people like Thomas to make their personal journey from doubt to faith, brokenness to wholeness.
“Today more than ever, we are called to make this ecclesial inclusiveness, this big tent Church a real experience for all of our brothers and sisters.”
To watch a video of Bishop Vincent’s invitation to the Way of Mercy click here
The lunch that followed was an opportunity for representatives to meet their new Bishop over a shared meal.
The Way of Mercy will be launched on Monday 8 August 2016 with a Mass in St Patrick’s Cathedral at 10am followed by a procession through the streets of Parramatta, finishing at the town hall.
For more information about the Year of Mercy in the Diocese of Parramatta visit mercyhasaface.org.au
For information about the Way of Mercy please contact Richard McMahon, Director of Pastoral Planning & Implementation, tel (02) 9831 4911 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
To download an FAQ Sheet on the Way of Mercy click here