Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy

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Please read the latest information about the great moments of our religious life.

Sharing of Faith and Culture

Mercedarian Friar - Monday, May 18, 2015

On May 10th, Fr Ken and I began a journey from LeRoy, NY to Georgia with a van packed with religious goods. These items (statues, stations of the cross etc.) were from the former Mercygrove property which was recently sold. The proceeds from the sale are allocated in large part for the development of a new redemptive mission to families in the United States.


The first stop on our journey was to drop off several items at Life Teen camp in northern Georgia. It felt good to be able to give these religious articles new life at a camp which each summer is packed with teens and young adults.

 

After a two hour stop, we were back on the road bringing a special gift to our 3rd Order in Atlanta. Through these dedicated lay people, Order of Mercy has been present in Atlanta for 17 years. It all began in 1998 when a little woman left Rome and arrived in Atlanta, GA. Maria Virginia's story is key to this movement which Christ would bless.

 

The spirit of merced or ransom was placed in Maria at an early age as she was educated by the Mercedarian Friars in Puerto Rico. This spirituality would continue to grow in her throughout her life. When her husband passed away in his 60’s, Maria felt the Lord was calling her to enter the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. After a few years of formation, it became clear to her that Christ the Redeemer desired her to go out to those in need” with the message of mercy.

 

Many extraordinary circumstances led, Maria Virginia to her mission field in Atlanta, GA. Seventeen years ago she set up her home in Georgia and quickly got to work. Maria got permission of the Order of BVM of Mercy to establish a 3rd Order in a place where no friars or sisters had been. With her deep faith, love for Our Lady of Mercy, and boundless energy this women was able to inspire many to follow the redemptive spirit of the Order.

 

Soon enough, it became clear that God was calling the new 3rd Order to assist the many immigrants who were coming from Mexico and settling in the Atlanta metropolitan area. These immigrants left behind all they knew seeking a better life. Yet their faith, which is the most precious treasure, was in danger in a new land. Who will teach them about Christ? Who will baptize their children? They hide in the shadows with no one to shepherd them.

 

Fr Ken and I got to experience first hand the redemptive work of our 3rd Order in Atlanta. The week of May 11th was spent blessing houses and practicing our Spanish as we enjoyed authentic Mexican food with the the people. The highlight of the week was a outdoor Mass with many immigrant families. As we struggled to speak their language, they just appreciated the opportunity to come close to Jesus and teach their children how to worship.


On this long journey into the Deep South an exchange took place. We brought statues and religious items which are plentiful in the Northeast. These are aspects of our culture which have preserved the faith of generations. We experienced tangibly the faith and devotion of the Mexican people. Hopefully our ministry among them has strengthen and enriched the faith of all.

 

May Our Lady of Mercy place her mantle around the mission of the Atlanta Chapter of the 3rd Order! She who is the refuge of the captive and persecuted Christians, will surely watch over this mission to those in the are marginalized today.

 

Life Teen website

St John the Evangelist Church Hapeville, GA

Third Order of Mercy

 


Revival in St Petersburg: 3rd Order brings new life and excitement

Mercedarian Friar - Saturday, October 11, 2014

Sue Tambasco is the president of the 3rd Order in St. Petersburg. Recently she took some time to answer some questions about their collaboration in the Order's redemptive ministry.

 

1) How many members are in the 3rd Order in St Petersburg? Any new members?

We currently have nineteen active members. Of these seven are fully active, while five show up when they can (age and health problems). We are excited to now have seven brand new members to the 3rd Order.  Also, we have three who are interested to enter formation.

 

2) What is attracting so many lay people to desire to share in the spiritual goods and redemptive‎ work of the Order?

                This is a good question. Things were not always so good with the 3rd Order. I took a two months away from the 3rd Order to be with my parent helping them out and sort through health issues (Dad 92 and mom 90 this year.) I am the primary caregiver. I let the vice president take over. I than took off for a week of prayer and solitude to evaluate my life. It came to me that we need to start over. My main question was what was keeping people from looking at the 3rd Order. What were the excuses I heard? Who in the 3rd Order was capable of doing anything? How did outsiders look at the 3rd Order?  What were my challenges with the 3rd Order that could be someone else's? Would we be able to revived this 3rd Order or not? No one wants to be part of a sinking ship. 

                The first change we made was to change the meeting time. Weekends were out. There are only four a months compared to 25 weekdays. People were not willing to giving up their weekend. Professionals look at this as relaxing time, parents for kid’s sports, and people like me were having to make choices between meetings and family events. We moved to nights that created another of issue. Many member don't drive at night. We set up a way younger members would pick them up and found some really do drive at night.  We skipped having a Mass each meeting, most were already attending daily mass. We limit the meeting to 1 very structured hour. If you have been part of a network group you can understand this and these are the type people we trying to look at the Order. Those in the professional world realized this would be one intense hour, no wasted time in their schedule. We include prayer for our monthly mission, time to share (optional: 2-3 people)) how the Mercedarian Spirit played out that month in some way in their life, news, and 30 minutes of formation.  Those 5 years or more in the 3rd Order must go to formation 4 times a year, the other meetings they have the option to spend time in the chapel praying for the new people.  We allow only half the active group to pray so there is always active members in formation with new people. 

                We opened the year with inviting new people to an open meeting... ok... two of us invited people and people and people. One other brought an aunt not really interested but to bring someone. The priest also invited some. We put it in bulletins, on the Diocesan calendar, and 2 of us went thought dozens of brochures.  At the meeting set people shared what the Order meant to them, Father shared a little history, we gave them the meeting outline, and we had food!  It set the tone, brought in new interest and God has taken it from there. We will be a scheduling another open meeting for in two months. Hopefully with the new member it will grow again. 

                 One other thing I see as very important. The group loves seeing all our priest at the meetings, even to just stop in and say hello. For them to get to know all the Priest, not just the spiritual director, has allowed then to grow and experience the order in a greater way. It makes them aware of the bigger family they are now part of, lets them see different missions and personalities are priest have. 

 

3) What are some of the redemptive activities of the 3rd Order? (collecting goods etc.)

                When the Master General was here last, and the time before, we had a chance to talk. He supported and encouraged us to continue our mission. Each month we pray and collect for a community need. The list is compiled at the beginning of each year and times for the receivers needs. Sometimes we have a place selected but will contact them as we get closer to see what is needed. Examples school supplies for needy kids when school starts, blankets for the homeless when winter begins,  food for the food banks when school get out and needs are up etc. We also include the Orders local house and Seminary. We started this program for a couple reason. One; many of our members are up in age and could not do more than this. Two; it puts the Mercedarian name out in our community at many levels and locations.

                However, now that our 3rd Order is growing we are now in the process of picking a secondary mission that is hands on. I have met with three small groups from our Lay Order for input. We have decided on a adopting a nursing home or special needs home. This has been wild in many respects, some of the member insist they need intense training, some will not go in neighborhoods they have not been in thinking they are not safe, some say no nursing home since they just lost parents, and so on. I realize I will just need to make a decision and let God take over the rest. I have a certain one in mind but need to find time to talk with Father James (who handles Eucharist Ministers at St Jude's) and one more person who I know is often there. Hopefully it will be sorted out in the next few weeks. 

The Cathedral of St Jude 

Mercedarian 3rd Order

 

 

Family Fun Day

Mercedarian Friar - Wednesday, August 27, 2014

As a society, we are learning more than ever the importance of family life. In Genesis, we hear that God created man and women to be a communion of persons. They were told to "be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 1:28)".  However, as divorce rates have increased each generation, individual family members are left with less support from spouses and/or relatives. This is not as God intends. Isolation leads to a deep spiritual and psychological loneliness which has a profound effect on the each member of the family.

 

Thanks be to God that we are beginning to realize the need to support and strengthen the traditional family unit. The Mercedarians are committed to giving our lives to help those in danger of losing their faith, because of the fracturing of family life. There are many ways of supporting family life and strengthening their faith in God. One recent event, which has taken place was the Family Fun Day in at Our Lady of Mercy Parish, LeRoy, NY. Here is our 3rd Order president's explanation of the event:

 

Our Family Fun Day sponsored by the Mercedarian Third Order was a great success. There was a large turn out of families after our 10:30 Mass.We advertised that the recreation hall would open for the Fun Day, right after the Mass and close at about 2 pm, so, many families with kids went to that Mass and attended afterward. From the beginning, the gym was full of parents, children, and grandparents. 

 

We had coffee and doughnuts for the adults and for the kids cotton candy, popcorn, cheese crackers, games, caricature drawings and prizes.The big attraction was the Blue Castle Bounce, which was in constant use. At the end Fr Ken had a sing-a-long. They all had a good time.

Peace be to you,

Gary Privitera

President, Mercedarian Third Order

 

World Meeting of Families 2015

 

Our Lady of Mercy Parish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sharing in the Spiritual Treasury of the Order

Mercedarian Friar - Saturday, August 16, 2014

An Order which has been around for 800 years is blessed with an treasury spiritual and temporal gifts. The call to lay down one's life for the captives has produced abundant fruit. From our Saints to martyrs to thousands of holy souls reigning in heaven. Naturally, Catholics from all states of life have a desire to be a part of the Mercedarian family. For centuries, lay people and diocesan priests become third Order members of the community.

 

The third Order is an association of faithful Catholics. The primary vocation of each member is the universal call to holiness which is manifested in their state in life: either diocesan priesthood, married, or single. Those who have joined the third order have a secondary call to live out a certain spirituality which gives meaning, direction, and purpose to their life.

 

Many members of the Third Order are living in the lay state. Their apostolic purpose is to evangelize and sanctify and to infuse a Christian spirit into the temporal order. Though works of mercy and charity they bear witness to Christ. Their called to serve “the Mission of the Church”, which is to “make disciples of all nations”. The laity are indispensable to the New Evangelization called for by each of our last three popes. This is a contemporary effort ensure that the saving message of the Gospel may be known in all its richness by all people through the earth.

 

From the very beginning, the Order of the BVM of Mercy has incorporated devote lay people wishing to participate in its redeeming work. These individuals share in the spirituality of the Order and collaborate in the work of redeeming captives in danger of losing the faith. In their daily lives, the members have the same intense love for the Virgin Mary under the title of Mercy, cultivate the same spirit, promotes fraternal bonds and form the “Mercedarian Family”. Inspired by the spiritual values of St. Peter Nolasco, they work to free the captives present in their communities through the exercise of the Corporal Works of Mercy. As a result of their promises they share in the spiritual treasury of an 800 year old family whose members include untold martyrs, holy virgins, and many devote souls reigning with Christ in heaven!

 

Spirit and Mission of the Order:

 

The following is essential to manifest the Mercedarian Charism:

1) Imitation of Christ the Redeemer

2) To model ourselves after Mary

3) To be imbued with the spirit of St. Peter Nolasco

4) To discover those who continue to suffer as captives

5) To grow in holiness and pray daily for the captives

6) To pray for vocations to the Mercedarian friars and sisters

7) To carry out the Mercedarian mission of redemption today

8) To practice Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy

9) To share in the graces and benefits of the spiritual treasury of the Order

10) To know and cherish the Mercedarian Saints and their lives of holiness.

 

Special thanks to Gary Privitera and the Third Order Newsletter of LeRoy, NY

 

For more information contact

Administration and Novitiate

Mercygrove / Saint Raymond Novitiate

7770 East Main Rd., LeRoy, NY 14482

Phone: 585-768-4703 Fax: 585-768-4702

 

Watch 3 people make their promises: Third Order Promises


Wikipedia Third Order

 

Serving Latinos in danger of losing the faith in Georgia

Mercedarian Friar - Monday, March 24, 2014

According to the latest Census stats: Latinos make up the largest ethnic minority in the United States The majority — two-thirds — are still traditionally Roman Catholic. However, a growing number, almost 600,000 a year, are leaving the Catholic Church. We can imagine that St Peter Nolasco's heart would be broken at these people leaving the Apostolic Faith. The Mercedarian Third Order in Atlanta, Georgia is doing it's part to preserve the faith of these immigrants.Sheila Appling, the treasurer, tells of their work and prayer:

 

We are proud and blessed to belong to such an outstanding faith community. We humbly dedicate our lives in the service of the Lord through His Blessed Mother under the title of Mercy. It is a great privilege of grace to work alongside priests, brothers and seminarians of whom we share in the redemptive mission.

 

The Third Order in Atlanta carries out the redemptive mission through the weekly recitation of the holy rosary with families that invite Our Lady of Mercy into their homes. The families we visit are immigrants mostly from Mexico. We started this mission by knocking on their doors, offering them food, clothing and asking them if they would like to receive Our Lady. Without hesitation they said yes. During these weekly prayer times, we discovered that many of the families were not attending Mass as well as numerous children and adults were in need of the sacraments. We continue the Rosary but have added another dimension of serving the homeless with food collected through donations from the rosary and our members.

 

Georgia is the largest state east of the Mississippi River. It is the fastest growing state and has a large population of Spanish speaking immigrants from Mexico. According to a 2003 Needs Assessment by the Archdiocese of Atlanta the estimated number of Latinos in Atlanta was 460,000. I believe we have surpassed that number. In one of the areas we serve we estimate over 1,000 people living in this small mobile park community. This community is in dire need of evangelizing. We have discovered many adults and children without the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Marriage. They are very opened to the Charism of the Order of Mercy. We, the Third Order of Atlanta,try to visit these captives, "break open the Gospel" and help them return to and be reconciled with Christ and His Church. The harvest is ripe indeed! There is a strong sense of urgency here in Atlanta to help those in danger of losing their faith.

Thank you for taking the time to hear efforts here in Georgia.

In Jesus through Mary,

Sheila Appling

Treasurer

Third Order of Our Lady of Mercy

 Founding of the Georgia 3rd Order

 

For More information about Latinos leaving the Church see:

Switching Sides: Latinos Ditching Catholicism For Evangelical Churches

 

USA Today

 

 

Looking Towards the Future: Our Redemptive Mission

Mercedarian Friar - Monday, February 24, 2014

On February 11th, members of the Mercedarian first Order and lay fraternity met to discuss the Order continual response to the modern forms of captivity that are emerging in today’s society. This meeting brought together friars and laity from all over the United States via an Internet telephony service. Representatives were virtually present from Cleveland, OH; LeRoy, NY; St Petersburg, FL; and Atlanta, GA. It was an amazing experience of the power of technology used to promote the work of an Order soon to celebrate 800 years.

 

The Order of the BVM of Mercy was founded to ransom Christians in danger of losing their faith. In the early 13th Century Spain, the faith was most endangered by Muslims who took possession of Christian lands throughout Northern Africa, most of Spain, Southern France, and Sicily. Men, women, and children were taken as “war booty and submitted to the absolute dominion of their Moorish owners.” “The real risk of captivity for a Christian captive in the power of the Saracens was the danger of renouncing the True Faith (Historical Synthesis, Ch. 1)”    The captives were subject “to forced labor in construction and in the fields, the infernal torment of in galleys, lack of food, diseases, dungeons, the conquerors’ scorn, the mistreatment…and the tempting offers of the advantages they would have if they converted to Islam (H.S.)”. Thousands were renouncing their faith not freely, but out of necessity of survival. It was this loss of liberty. This basic human right to choose to worship and live the Faith that lead St Peter Nolasco to action. He set out give the merced or ransom or payment for those in most danger of losing the faith. From the simple work of mercy of one merchant came a religious family which was destined spread throughout the world.

 

Now, 800 years later, the world is much different than the one that St Peter walked on. Much has changed, but deep down many of the same problems and sins are afflicting our technological age. There is still captivity. “Today there are arising in our societies new forms of social, political, and psychological slavery which derive ultimately from sin and become for the faith of the Christians just as dangerous as the slavery and oppression of former times (CO #3)”. In each country or province that the Order exists there is a need to establish some redemptive mission which becomes the focus of the efforts to free Christians in danger of losing their faith.

 

The Mercedarian friars first came to the United States in the 1920’s to minister to the Italian immigrants who because of discrimination, marginalization, and poverty were in serious danger of losing their faith. Now, 90 years later, many of these Italians and their descendants have been fully assimilated into the American society. We thank God for blessing the work of our Order in the States, but there are always other forms of captivity emerging in society.

 

It is for this reason that the Mercedarian Family came together one night in February. For as our Constitutions say, “the religious should study the spiritual values that manifest themselves historically according to the signs of the times, and everything else that would contribute to a better individual and social knowledge of man.” The Mercedarian never truly stops studying the current culture to understand how new forms of captivity may be afflicting Christians and causing many to lose the faith.

 

This preliminary meeting brought together the Mercedarian family in its many elements. From the beginning, St Peter Nolasco and his followers were dependent on the many dedicated lay collaborators. These became known as the Third Order. They did, and still do, provide critical assistance in carrying out the ransoming mission of the Order. They were present on February 11th to help us discern a possible future redemptive mission in the United State Vicariate.

 

Although, these discussions are still in their initial phases they show how the Charism or spirit of St Peter Nolasco is still very much alive today. Modern forms of captivity are holding people in bondage just as they were in 1218. Jesus the Redeemer and his holy Mother are still inspiring the Mercedarian family to reach out in true charity to help these Christians. May our Lady of Mercy intercede on behalf of our Vicariate that it may continue to free those most in danger of losing the faith in our nation!!

 

Constitutions of the Order of Mercy

 

Video on the History of the Order 

 

One women's love for Our Lady of Mercy leads her to establish a 3rd Order

Mercedarian Friar - Wednesday, February 12, 2014

From the foundation of the Order in 1218. St Peter Nolasco and the friars were assisted by lay people. These became the 3rd Order. Wherever the friars are so are the dedicated lay men and women helping the ransoming mission. However, sometimes the Holy Spirit reminds us that he is in charge. This happened when he inspired Mary Virginia Fant to establish the 3rd Order where there were no friars present. The small group has grown to over 50 active members Here is the story:

 

Small beginnings

Mary Virginia Fant first established the Georgia Chapter of the 3rd Order of the BVM of Mercy, upon her return to the United States from Rome Italy at St. Philip Benizi Catholic Church in Jonesboro, Georgia. There she was asked to serve as the spiritual director of the Legion of Mary.

 

The Spirit blows where He wills

Later Mary Virginia was offered the opportunity to move to North Georgia to head a group home for unwed mothers. Feeling that this was not quite what Our Lady wanted her to do and having a strong yearning to go out into the community she declined the offer.

Mary Virginia and Beverly White later moved to St. John the Evangelist Church where they met with then pastor, Father Vincent Douglass C.Ss.R, who gave them a blessing to go out and bring the people to the church.

 

The 3rd Order begins to take shape

Mary Virginia, Beverly and one more person, gathered clothing and prepared food to distribute among the poor immigrants living in the shadows of St. John. Initially, they would distribute the food and clothing on Saturday mornings. During this outreach, Mary Virginia began telling the people about Our Lady of Mercy and asking them if they would like to receive her in their homes to pray the Rosary. They all opened their homes to Our Lady thus opening their hearts to her Son and began attending Mass and receiving the Sacraments.

 

Captivity of the marginalized

The Third Order gained more members, mostly Immigrants from Mexico. As the number of families attending St. John grew, we knew we needed to help them organize into a group that would help with the liturgy and serve in the Mass. While the children were in Religious Education classes. Mary Virginia would meet with the parents to plan special liturgies and feast days which included The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. We worked alongside St. Joseph Hospital ‘s Mercy Mobile delivering healthcare to the poor in south Atlanta.

 

 

3rd Order


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