Update January 2014

The Lord bless you and keep you;The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. (Number 6: 24-26).

These three verses are called the priestly blessing in the OT. It is a blessing that the priests give over the people when they part from the Temple or the synagogue. Those who receive the blessing bow their heads and listen attentively to the words of the priest.
Some Bible scholars see in it a reference to the Trinity. There is a triple invocation of the Lord to bless the people of Israel:
      The first verse refers to God the Father who protects;
      The second concerns God’s face, Christ, who is gracious and forgiving;
      The third verse is a peace blessing which can be attributed to the Holy Spirit who descends upon Jesus like a dove.
Recently a silver amulet was discovered with this blessing in it. It is believed the amulet goes back to the 7th century Before Christ. Therefore, it is considered the oldest known remnant of Scripture.
It is a beautiful blessing for the whole year. A blessing to be bestowed upon us and upon the world. It is a blessing that gives us the sense of God’s Call to be and become a Blessing. A blessing that shows our Identity as a family, a community, fashioned and moulded in the likeness of the Trinity. A blessing that gives us hope and encourages us to keep the flame alive, so that Mercy House may continue being a blessing to our society and especially to those who journey through life under its wings!

“May the Lord bless you and keep you, may he let his face shine on you and give you his peace.”
Fr Jeremias

When looking back at the highlights of 2013 we have to acknowledge that Mercy house has to be one of God’s favourite and most favoured creations! Indeed, it was a year of achievement, joy, blessings and grace, as the following summary shows..
In January we had our first Mercy House Information Morning, which proved to be highly successful and beneficial for our benefactors – the invited guests – good for them to get a closer look at our work.  11 of our children went back to school and 6 tertiary students to their colleges and universities. Everyone in the house was doing some form of training… even the ladies doing courses in dressmaking and handcrafts. 
In February, English classes for refugee women were started, with courses running the whole year. 

Easter was quite unique since, for the first time ever, a huge Easter Bunny came to visit us, an occasion of great joy. In May, after 4 years of study, Meshack Rafik graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Education. During 2013 he did his honours degree at Wits, on implementing Information Technology programmes in schools.  He did so well in this that Wits has now given him a bursary to his Masters’ Degree there during 2014. We congratulate him for this.

In May we met and were able to assist 5 Congolese siblings, seen in the picture below, whose parents and whole extended family had been killed in an explosion beside their home in Congo.

In June, Nigerian Stella Ozoane joined our team of co-workers, and got down to teaching English to newcomers.  She was joined by Sister Clementine of the Holy Family Sisters, who started preparing children for Baptism and First Holy Communion. 

In August we received 12 year old Danny into our house community, coming from Goma in Eastern DRC, where his whole family had just been killed by the M23 army.

On 24 September we held our second Mercy House Information morning which was also a great success.   

In October Mr John Faller joined our Mercy House Management team to help with accounting services.  Also in October, Jean Paul and Donatien moved out, having studied for 5 years to become fully qualified Netcare nurses, now working at Rosebank Clinic and LInksfield Hospital respectively.  

On 10 December Shadadi graduated from Wits Medical School as a Clinical Medical Practitioner.  

Kenny passed his matric with a distinction in Business Studies and is hoping to study at Wits in 2014 pending finance.

Early in December the national assembly of the Association of Catholic Tertiary Students (ACTS) came to Mercy House on a day of service, doing a splendid job in cleaning up and painting the place.  

Also in December, Mercy House acquired a new baby, in the form of 6 six week old Charlie, a German shepherd puppy, bought from a man standing on the nearest street corner.

He has kept everyone very busy, shredding everything he can lay hold of, and irritating the older canines, Princess and Lady, but he is quite adorable, bringing much joy to our community. Welcome Charlie!

December 16th saw our first Holy Mass in our play centre. 

From left to right: Fr Jeremias, Mr and Mrs Rademeyer and Angela , Judy and Alphie Dumbutshena after Holy Mass

We were privileged to have Father Jeremias of the Comboni Fathers to offer this Holy Mass for us.  Christmas was the crowning glory of our year: a truly beautiful occasion, with a play and the arrival of Father Christmas on a bicycle, bringing gifts for all.  We were again privileged to have with us Comboni Fathers, John Converset (visiting from USA), Father John Maneschg and Provincial Father Jeremias, as well as Bez Valley parish priest, Father Arnaldo, all seen in the photo below. All in all, about 60 people joined in our Mercy House Christmas celebration. 

Playing for the Christ Child
Moise on the drum and Norbert on the recorder

Indeed, 2013 tells us once again that the “finger of God” writes on…  Clearly, it is His work…
For 2014, we look forward to a year of “walking with God”: He who began our work most certainly will also sustain it. It is only in this belief, that, with hope and joy, confident in the future, we go into the year ahead.  We thank and pray His blessing on everyone who supports our work and all those who work with us to make Mercy House a joyful, healing and fruitful place, “a little bit of heaven on this earth!”