Dear members of the Kildare Ministries community,
It is true what they say, that the years fly past so very quickly and here we are at the end of our second year. Since its launch in March 2014 the trustees have met 16 times; have visited and conducted their meetings at six schools and ministry works. They have also hosted three meetings with the Members’ Council, Chairs of the Boards, Principals and Managers, attended numerous formal functions and have undertaken three Professional Learning activities and formation activities together. At last Saturday’s meeting another milestone was achieved with the launching of the Vision, Mission and Values Statement. At this meeting, our leaders gathered to further add meaning and identity to Kildare Ministries and to commit to certain actions for 2016.
One such focus area was determining the Kildare Ministries theme for the year. Given that the Pope has declared it the Year of Mercy, the Trustees of Kildare Ministries in complementing this theme, have chosen the value of Compassion as the focus for 2106. As Kildare Ministries we describe this value as, Compassion – walking with and having empathy for all. Compassion as derived from the Latin: patior - to suffer, and com – with. To suffer with the other, is an active and engaged concept that is at the heart of the Christian message.
Our Trustee, Vicki Ward, in her brief dissertation about Compassion at a recent meeting said,
“Jesus’ message was about the mercy and compassion of God flowing from God’s all-embracing love for creation. When you think of it, this is remarkable. Our God is not aloof or vengeful but a God who is prepared to enter into our lives and suffer with us. Our God lives in intimate connection with us. For God and for us, compassion is not just feelings of pity. It is a commitment to enter the space inhabited by the one who is suffering to listen and to learn all we can about the causes and effects of that suffering, to try to understand that person’s reality, to give voice to those who cannot manage to have their cry of distress heard and to seek to alleviate that distress where possible.
Compassion is an active thing. “
We have entered the four Sundays of Advent. It is our time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. Pope Francis has called upon us to be living signs of God’s love for the world and Advent is our time to reflect upon and respond to the themes of Mercy and Compassion. This Advent what small steps could we take to be inclusive, tolerant and humble; to be missionaries for those who suffer or who are alone at Christmas; to show mercy where others might be quick to punish and to be advocates of equality where all humans are valued as sacred and a gift from God.
With the recent bombings in many parts of the world; with the growing momentum around the issues of climate change; with our increase awareness about domestic violence especially against women and children and with the ever present shame we should feel about the way refugees are treated at our own doorstep and in the world, there are ample opportunities where we might take a small step or a giant leap to make our presence felt this Advent.
I take this opportunity to thank Kate and Monica for their generosity of heart and great spirit of co-operation as they committed to the work for this year. And then of course, we will bid farewell to Marguerite who has been the backbone of Kildare Ministries and the keeper of the flame for many years now. She has been devoted to and passionate about the promise of what Kildare Ministries will become and I am sure she will carry a small flame in her heart for us as the Kildare Ministries story continues to unfold. Marguerite has been a very significant contributor to the story so far and we wish her every success as she and Paul embrace their new adventure in the Philippines.
The Resource Team wish you all a blessed and sacred Christmas. May you all find time for stillness, peace and joy and may 2016 begin in the company of family, good friends and the festive cheer.