“Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy.” With these words Pope Francis begins his announcement of the Year of Mercy. A very small percentage of Catholics ever read the letters or announcements or encyclicals of a Pope. Most learn the message through other ways. In the case of Pope Francis, the words of mercy have been front and center since he became Pope three years ago.
After a March election, Pope Francis spent his first Holy Thursday washing the feet of boys and girls in a detention center in Rome. That photo went viral. Gone was the staged ritual of ceremonial washing of the feet of 12 important men at St. Peter’s. These young people wore jeans and sandals. They were from all faiths. They were looked upon by most as being of no value to society. Pope Francis washed and kissed their feet; and he looked happy to be with them.
The Spring Appeal focusing on the ministry of Sr. Beth Davies in Appalachia generated a huge outpouring of support. It more than tripled the amount raised in last year’s Spring Appeal and attracted over 30 new donors. The Appeal letter won an award for outstanding donor communication in the nonprofit sector.
The Office will inaugurate an Annual Appeal in September. The first Annual Appeal publication will highlight Sr. Marilyn Medinger’s ministry to detained immigrants in Chicago.
Partners in Mission, the Fall Newsletter, will be mailed in October.
The Congregation of Notre Dame’s new website, which will be launch in October, will include several pages dedicated to the Mission Advancement Office.
Sr. Kathleen Dorney and I loved "volunteering" at Notre Dame de Bon Secours the last week of August. We quickly fell into a routine of feeding off one another. Often it started with a "Hello" and if they answered in English, we asked where they were from. If they told us they were from the Boston, Chicago, Florida, Connecticut or New York area, we always asked what town? If they were from New Jersey, I deferred to Kathleen! We had great Visitation encounters, not only from the USA, but all over Canada and the world. The Japanese were thrilled when we gave them brochures in Japanese and told them of our sisters. One woman was from Estonia and when I told her I was Lithuanian, she invited me to come to Estonia. One man from Chicago greeted me in Lithuanian. We met and spoke with people from China, India, Germany, Sri Lanka, London, Scotland, and Argentina; a nun from Uganda prayed at both Marguerite and Jeanne Le Ber's tombs for her foundress's canonization! The only hard part was the Montreal Metro stairs!