Look to the Stars

Friday, November 12th was a clear, crisp and “stellar” evening in St. John’s!   It was perfectly still and just right for star-gazing. The weatherman on the CBC Evening News told viewers that it was a perfect night to see the stars and dotted his weather map with them. Members of the St. John’s Centre Royal Astronomical Society set up their telescopes and high-powered binoculars to view the moon and stars and other treasures of our expansive universe. Adults and children gathered in the garden of the Mercy Centre for Ecology and Justice on Mount Scio Road at 6:00 p.m., waiting patiently as the scientists set up their delicate, yet powerful instruments. Craters and mountains on the moon were visible- no one saw the man-in-the moon! Other planets and constellations of stars could easily be seen.  Even the space station came into view. 


We appreciate the effort of the Astronomical Society to provide this special opportunity. We thank Sister Mary Tee, Coordinator of the Mercy Centre for Ecology and Justice,  and her committee for making this possible. We hope to have another opportunity to look to the stars.



Associate Groups Meet

A Gathering of Associates and the Religious

Who Journey with Them

St. John’s ,NL     Associates and Religious from the Redemptorist, Presentation and Mercy Congregations gathered at the Lantern on October 15-16, 2010 for their first joint Associate/Religious Conference. Three Associate members representing the Congregations of the Sisters of Charity, the Sisters of St. Martha of Nova Scotia and the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Halifax came also from Nova Scotia to participate in the conference.


The theme of the conference, “With Burning Hearts: Together for Mission”, set the tone and grew in intensity as the conference unfolded. At the opening session on Friday evening, Archbishop Martin Currie, Sister Sharon Fagan, Sister Elizabeth Davis and Father Stephen Morrisey greeted the gathering with words of inspiration, support and encouragement.


The conference presenters, Peg Maddigan and Ann Godfryd, both Associate members of the Congregation of Notre Dame did a magnificent job in facilitating exploration of the three main components in the Associate Relationship: Spirituality, Community and Mission. Through the process of Theological Reflection in the company of revered Scripture personages each phase of the Associate Relationship unfolded. 

Session one dealt with The Spirituality of Associate Relationship, with the sub-title “Like a fire burning in us…” from the Emmaus story. It was in the company of Mary and Cleopas as they journeyed to and from Jerusalem that Associates were led to examine their own stories. Allowing Jesus to reinterpret their stories as He had done for Mary and Cleopas, Associates found new insights and deeper meanings which they shared with one another in their groups.

Session two, Journeying Together: “Let me go with you…” (Ruth 1: 11-19) was the focus for the reflection on community. Answering the call to Associate Relationship can mean a real metamorphosis in one’s life – an experience of loss, change, on-going conversion and transformation. In examining the journey of Ruth and Naomi, Associates were asked to reflect and share on the questions, “Who has been like Ruth in my life, supporting me on my journey?” and “What strengths and vulnerabilities do I bring to my spiritual friendships?” 


Session three, Partners in Mission and Ministry : “they took him aside and explained…” (Acts 18:24-28). The story of Apollos, Priscilla and Aquila provided an excellent example of the different gifts that we all bring to mission and ministry and how these gifts complement each other. It is in the humble recognition of one’s gifts and in collaboration with others that the richness of the community is offered in service to the Mission of Jesus.


Throughout the conference the prayer, reflection and sharing of one session flowed with ease and growing depth of sharing into the next. The final session provided an opportunity for the Associates and Religious of each congregation to meet together to examine the questions: “What is working for us?” and “What needs to be developed?” These questions led to open and honest sharing resulting in some suggestions and challenges for life and growth.


The final step on the conference journey was to the Basilica for Liturgy. Associates were invited to share in the various ministries at Liturgy and as such were able to give further witness to their role as lay ministers. Archbishop Mart 

in Currie spoke in his homily of the Associate Relationship as a valuable lay movement sharing the charisms of their religious congregations for the Mission of Jesus in the Church.

All who participated in this first joint con

ference of NL Associates and Religious came “with burning hearts: together for mission” and left with vessels of rich fuel for feeding the flame. We express deep gratitude to those brave pioneers who set the sparks of Associate Relationship in our congregations and to those many Religious and Associates who have stirred the embers and nurtured the flame throughout the years. 

God is indeed doing a new thing among us. It is flaming forth  and we are open to perceive it.


Maureen O’Keefe

Coordinator of Mercy Associates


With Burning Hearts: Together For Mission

Reque and the Sisters Mourn Padre Victor

On September 29, 2010 Feast of the Archangels Michael. Raphael and Gabriel and birthday of Venerable Catherine McAuley, Padre Victor was buried in the garden of his parish church in Reque, Peru.
Three days earlier, after weeks of serious illness and hospitalization, Padre Victor made his final life’s journey surrounded by loving prayer, song and attentiveness, hope and patient waiting of his people. Victor was much loved. He dedicated his life to being the padre to his parishioners and their families. He loved his life, his faith and his church and his God. He lived the joy of the gospel and stood strong in the face of injustice- he was fierce advocate for his people and cared not only for their souls but also for their dignity and rights. Padre Victor was a strong man yet sickness was stronger and defeated him, in body, but not in spirit nor in the legacy that he leaves to those who knew him. Padre Victor will not be forgotten.
Padres Emigido and Lucho have shared so much of life with Victor from their young days.  The three were lovingling known as the three amigos. In speaking of Victor throughout the days before the funeral they stressed over and over his gift of love of life, his “Alegria” which he passed on to all, his total dedication to the people especially the “más pobres”, his untireless service not only to his parish, but nationally, to the whole diocese.  There was lots of great singing led by Reque Parish choir, lots of clapping in the midst of the reflection, etc. 
The funeral was an especially blessed moment.  There were crowds in the thousands in the plaza where the funeral took place.  The altar was set in the door of the church facing the plaza.   The Bishop officiated with fifty-two priests attending.  Among the priests were Eugene Roy from Ontario and Jose Alverez Calderon, a great liberation Theologian based in Lima.  There was extensive lay participation in the Mass          

After Mass, the body of Padre Victor was brought in procession around the plaza with a special ceremony in front of the Municipal building.  His body was then taken to the garden in front of the church where Victor is now buried.  There is a small plaque marking his burial place, but a bigger monument is being planned for.  Words used to describe Victor were “the saint of Reque,” “our joyful, happy saint in heaven,” and “the alma (spirit) of catechesis familiar.”

Victor was known and loved by many Sisters of Mercy of Newfoundland and by some of the priests who worked with him in Peru.  He is sorely missed.

Tu nos has muerto; viveras en nuestros corozones y te recordaremos