11 April, 2015
Easter celebrates the resurrection. It is the victory of life over death, grace that overpowers sin, mercy that replaces judgement. It is our Christian celebration par excellence.
The paschal candle for 2015 has been lit. It stands for the risen Christ who brings light and warmth to the world. Jesus is the new fire, prefigured in the burning bush that appeared to Moses; he is the column of light that marches ahead of the Israelites on their journey through the desert; he is the fire that burns in the hearts of the two disciples of Emmaus. He is the blazing flame that bursts into our darkness and warms our cold nights.
Jesus lives, he defeats death, he blots out our sins and heals our wounds. He is with us until the end of times. He walks with us and precedes us in the most unexpected corners of the world. He meets us in the face of the poor and challenges us in the suffering of the refugees and asylum seekers; he strengthens us when we are discouraged and encloses us in his embrace of love and mercy. We rejoice and we are glad, because Christ is alive.
This year Easter was again celebrated meaningfully and joyfully. We attended the Holy Week services and those of Easter Sunday. Thereafter our joyful celebration at Mercy House was well attended and, as the photos show, the children had immense joy from the visit of the Easter bunny and catching their Easter eggs. A big thank you to CALTEX for arranging the visit of the bunny to us, also to those who actually brought him.
As a thank you to our Mercy House supporters and co-workers we are planning intermittent spiritual input, in the form of occasional full-day of half-day recollection days. These are only for those who are interested in this, no pressure being put on anyone who, for one or another reason, may prefer not to attend. Our first one was held on 7 March at the Comboni Centre in Pretoria, being attended around 20 participants. Father Jeremias gave a very inspiring talk and Father Gunther assisted in other ways. We thank both these fathers for their support and help. The photos below were taken in the chapel and at the lunch.
We have started a Saturday morning learning assistance programme. In February Innocentia started helping our scholars with Zulu and Afrikaans.
In March, Alphie Dumbutshena started helping our adults with English, and finally, on 28 March, Thope and Blanche commenced classes in English, Maths and whatever else our scholars might need help with. We are immensely grateful to these enthusiastic new co-workers and so are their students, who are really excited about the assistance they see they will get.
Thanks to a notice in the Edenvale parish bulletin, our electrician, Desire, managed to get a job. We thank the Edenvale parish for helping us with this notice, and also Jose, his boss, for giving him the opportunity to prove himself. Prayer “can move mountains!”
John came to us when he was only 8 years old. The photo above shows him then with Sister Fidelis. He is now in his early twenties! In the meantime he went through his schooling where he studied catering and was made head boy of Greswold school. He got a job at Waterfall Retirement Village in their bakery and has already been given a promotion. His enthusiasm cannot be stilled: in addition to this, he now plans to start doing catering, in his spare time, from home.
We were able to find him some financial help to get his “home catery” going and our co-worker, Michael Jacobus, has mentored him admirably to get this small business off the ground. Our thanks to his sponsor, who wishes to remain anonymous, and to Michael for his meticulous and selfless guidance, and every good wish to our John whose determination and enthusiasm will get him far. Good luck John, we are proud of you!
The first course we have done this year has just reached completion. There has been a very good attendance and already 30 refugees have enrolled to start the new course which commences on 13 April. This programme certainly is much-needed and highly successful.
Our last new arrival was a baby in November! This time it is a young teenage boy, Eric. We welcome him and see that he is already very much part of the family. We are grateful to have the opportunity to help him and hope and pray that his time at Mercy House, will be happy and blessed.
WE WISH ALL OUR READERS THE GRACES OF THE EASTER SEASON.
27 January, 2015
“MY FATHER GOES ON WORKING ALL THE TIME AND SO DO I” (Jn. 5:17).
Dear Friends, Christmas has passed. The New Year has come. We look ahead to the future, hopefully positively. Around us we see, not only good things and prospects, but a lot of evil. However, the quote above reassures us that we are on a journey, always being led, and that God is alive and active in our world and personal lives. Do we really believe that? Let us remain open, alert to seeing the open doors, believing in the guidance of the Holy Spirit in all events.
At Mercy House things are always happening. Life is always on the move, hence always fresh and refreshing! This update gives evidence of that! We thank God and all our benefactors, supporters and co-workers, for their care, which enables us always to move forward with positive faith. May 2015 be a good year and don’t forget:
“All time belongs to Him, and all the ages” (Easter Vigil liturgy).
On 27 November 2014 Fido Innocent was born to Mari-Bernard and Festus. His little brother, Yuri, was very excited, and it has been a great joy and blessing to have a baby in the house! He was baptised on 8 February at the Bez Valley Catholic Church by Comboni Father Jeremias.
By way of preparation for Christmas, our residents, Ricardo, Richard, Desire and Ephrahim, set about making our house much more beautiful. We extended and repainted our front gate and repainted external walls. It looks pristinely beautiful now, much to our great joy. The photos below show our boys at work, which they did with great joy and dedication. Our thanks to them.
Christmas is always celebrated on 25 December and is the biggest celebration of our year, since we invite all our past residents and those we assist who live outside, to join us. The Rosebank Union Church, Investec and a few other friends provide us with beautiful gifts, while restaurant owner, Anna, provides us with a delicious lunch for 60 people every year. To these kind people: thank you for enabling our Christmas to be such a joyful occasion. The pictures show our young Father Christmas – BK, our 7 year old orphan from Congo – with his assistant, Zeng, giving out the gifts. We were happy to have Comboni Father John Masneschg join us for the occasion.
It is through the amazing generosity of our benefactors, that we are able, this year, in one way or another, to assist 13 children with schooling, as well as 6 tertiary students - Kenny who is studying journalism at Wits University, Robert who will start studying Chemical Engineering at Unisa, Zeng who will do a diploma in Graphic Design at Vega, and Felix who will do his Masters degree in Biomedical Technology, Riccardo who will soon start to study nursing and Festus who is already on his way in that course. Quite a tall order. We hold our breath in wonder that all this possible at all. May our students do well and reach their goals.