Mercy from the stranger

I think, sometimes, that year-long celebrations of certain events can lose their luster during the course of 365 days.

I think back to 1976 when the good old U.S. of A. was celebrating its bicentennial. Things were pretty revved up around Memorial Day that year, as well as during the Fourth of July week. But other than that, folks grew tired, or simply lost interest in our country’s 200th birthday.

Last December, Pope Francis called for a Year of Mercy, encouraging his sheep to try to live God’s mercy in all that we do and all whom we meet.

It’s hard to believe that the Year of Mercy is already half done, and I do believe that some have lost a little bit of the zeal with which they began the Year of Mercy. I know I sometimes forget good Pope Francis’ rallying call for mercy. And I’m willing to bet others have, do and will as the last six months of the jubilee progress.

It’s not a bad thing, more than it’s a human thing. We human beings, by and large, seem to have a short attention span. That’s why we have appointment calendars, iPads, smart phones, and a plethora of other devices, instruments and methods of reminding us of what we need to do, and when. It’s like writing a note to one’s self on one’s palm, but only more high tech.

What I have noticed during this Year of Mercy is that the sources of mercy of which I’ve experienced have come, to a great degree, from strangers. And I’ve also sensed a disturbing lack of mercy has come from those whom we would expect the total opposite.

One of the greatest examples of mercy which has affected me is the outstanding support of friends of this fine publication, The Anchor.

As most know by now, the parishes, because of the financial crunch felt by most of us, could no longer support the mainstay that has appeared in mailboxes across the Diocese of Fall River for 59 years.

To help keep this paper alive and kicking and showing up in mailboxes from the Attleboros through Cape Cod and the Islands and beyond, The Anchor asked for the help of those whom the publication has informed, entertained and inspired all these many years. And I must tell you that the response was heartwarming to say the very least.

We have received donations from diocesan faithful too numerous to mention individually. We have received $5 and $10 checks from seniors on fixed incomes; larger amounts from generous readers who realize how much they have been blessed in life; from priests and Sisters; and from various religious ministries.

Believe me when I tell you that every single dollar we have received via donation was greatly needed, and more so appreciated.

As we switched subscription methods, the patience of our readers has been outstanding, and the glitches we’ve encountered have not shaken our faithful readers.

I would like to say here and now a great big thank you to all of you who have shown mercy to The Anchor in its greatest time of need. And a simple thank you isn’t nearly enough, but it’s all I can extend at this time.

And, just as importantly, I cannot count how many wonderful folks have told me via email or on the phone that The Anchor is in their prayers. There’s no price that can be placed on that.

We still have a long road to hoe, but we’re still at it. To those who have given $1 or $500 or more, please be assured of my prayers and gratitude — truly mercy in action — a Sacred lesson that could be learned by others.

© 2018 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing   †   Fall River, Massachusetts