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On September 24, 1827, the Venerable Catherine McAuley opened the first House of Mercy, which enabled her to shelter and educate homeless women and girls and aid the sick and dying.
Mercy Day is observed annually on September 24th to commemorate McAuley’s service and recognize the establishment of the first House of Mercy.
Although this year’s Mercy Day was not observed in the same way as years past due to the current pandemic, many festivities still took place.
A mass was held on both Thursday, September 24th and Friday, September 25th, so both cohorts could experience the mass in person. The mass was not held in the auditorium this year; instead, the mass was conducted in the school chapel, and the ceremony was live-streamed to each classroom, so every teacher and student could view the mass while still maintaining social distancing guidelines.
A link to the live streamed mass was also sent to GOAL students, Mercy alumnae, the Mercy Board of Education, and parents, so the entire Mercy community could participate.
“A whole bunch of people were watching [the mass], which was really neat,” said Mrs. Judy Griggs-Dennis, Campus Minister and Mercy Associate.
To administer communion, the Eucharistic ministers were stationed at six different locations around the school. All students and teachers receiving Eucharist exited from their classrooms to the nearest Eucharistic minister, received communion (only the Body of Christ was administered because of coronavirus precautions), then proceeded through the halls following the one-way arrows and returned to their classrooms.
In addition to the mass, a baby supply item drive for the Lennon Pregnancy Center was also held to celebrate Mercy Day and bring awareness to the Sisters of Mercy Critical Concern of Women’s Issues. The drive accumulated almost four times the amount of donations compared to past years.
“We take for granted some of the things that Catherine did because these days it is normal for women to be strong and start business, but in 1827, it wasn’t normal for women to do what Catherine did,” said Mrs. Griggs-Dennis. “So [Mercy Day] is an opportunity to share [Catherine’s] story and to teach the kids that she is more than just a statue in the hallway.”