The Year of
Brother Lawrence, who lived in the 17th century was certain that God was always present and therefore, his prayers consisted “totally and simply of God’s presence”.1
In 2019, we dedicated our programmes to the theme of Gratitude. It was a call to take a breath and give thanks. Giving thanks in the present moment before going any further, consciously – living in the present moment.
In this Year of Presence 2020 we are following in the footsteps of the Year of Gratitude.
Sometimes, “presence” is considered rather mystical. We believe that God is always around us – but we can’t see, feel and touch God as we might like to.
The prophet Elijah was imagining the Almighty God in a great wind, in an earthquake or in a fire. God was in none of these. God was present in the silence.
(1 Kings 19:11-13)
Silence can draw your memories to an experience or event in the past or open you to a new experience. It is like “calling them to mind”. Pictures or other mementos of loved ones who have gone before us, have been popular in most cultures from ancient times on. The memories that are invoked give the feeling of a person or an event to be present again.
Here in Aotearoa New Zealand, we might think of the Māori tradition of a Wharenui, the main meeting house on a Marae with pictures and carvings of ancestors and stories.
As Catholics, we believe in the Real Presence in the celebration of the Eucharist (Irenaeus). One of the Church Fathers, explained the Real Presence by stating that the “mixed cup [wine and water] and the baked bread receives the Word of God and becomes the Eucharist”.2
At Holy Mass we hear "Do this in memory of me" and we are taken into the Last Supper to experience receiving the One who gave himself for us that we might give ourselves for others as Jesus did.
In this Year of Presence, we remember the arrival of the Sisters of Mercy in Epsom in 1921. It was in the convent chapel that the first Catholic Mass was celebrated in Epsom. Read more about the chapel in this booklet.
Our programme for 2020 offers a great diversity of presentations. The regular programmes such as Retreats, Meditation, Dreamwork and Enneagram are complemented by reflective, educational and creative sessions.
We are blessed to find ourselves enriched by new presenters and their topics as you will read in the following pages. The programme includes events of building bridges between Christians and people of other faith traditions.
Living in harmony with each other improves our well-being. Being present for another who is in need gives us a special purpose.
Mother Teresa once said: “Go out into the world today and love the people you meet. Let your presence light new light in the hearts of people.”
We are looking forward to meeting you at our Centre.
Mercy Spirituality Centre
1 Brother Lawrence: The Practice of the Presence of God, Whitaker House, 1982, p. 23
2 Against Heresies 5:2 [A.D. 189]