A short reflection on a very special year of mercy pilgrimage undertaken by three students of Ballyhaunis Community School – Sive Duffy, Megan Morley and Rebecca Finn.
As part of the John Paul II awards, we organised a prayer service in honour of the year of Mercy. This Project was part of our Papal Cross award. Firstly, we decided on a suitable theme, and proceeded to arrange the prayer service according to this. We chose prayers relevant to the theme of mercy and allocated students from our school which had volunteered to read at our prayer service.
We then, with the help of our music teacher, put together a collection of music that was sung by our school choir and other volunteers. We brainstormed ideas as to how we could make our prayer service unique and important to us, which is when we had the idea to use the letters of “Year of Mercy” to spell out significant meanings for people to take into consideration during this special year of mercy. For this, we asked our woodwork teacher, Mr. Quinn, for help as to how we would go about making these signs. Another idea we came up with was to use stones as a symbol of peoples burdens to carry with them during the pilgrimage to Knock, the significance of this was for the pilgrims to be able to leave their worries and troubles in the sacred space in Knock and for them to leave worry free and refreshed. In order to make these stones distinctive we painted red and silver crosses on the stones.
Finally we travelled to Knock the evening before the prayer service to set up the sacred space in the Blessed Sacrament chapel. We thoroughly enjoyed this project and feel we benefitted immensely from it. It was a great opportunity for us to have ownership of the prayer service and we got to chose the readings, prayers, music and artwork and make it appealing to people our age. We would like to thank Fr. Stephen Farragher, Ms. Macken, Ms. Devine and Mr. Quinn for their help in making this project a success.