By Danielle Alessandra Ybañez, a 2021 graduation of Holy Cross High School, Kolambugan, Lanao Del Norte, Philippines
Mercy is fundamental to the Christian narrative, and when Mercy defines a school’s specific attribute or identity, it refers to a merciful view of God. Mercy schools, despite their geographical and cultural differences, share a history, tradition and mission. Mercy secondary and elementary education, committed to addressing the needs of young people, remains an essential component of the Sisters of Mercy’s and their partners’ mission.
A Mercy education is characterized by rigorous academics, which enable students to develop lifelong habits of questioning, critical thought and courageous action in a global society. The Holy Cross High School in Kolambugan, Lanao Del Norte, from which I will soon graduate, puts religion at the core of the curriculum, studying the life and living the charism of Mother Catherine McAuley. The teachers and administration aspire for us to develop spiritually, morally, socially, intellectually, emotionally and physically so that we can be truly Christian.
As a member of the class 2021, I will take mercy into the world when I feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, shelter the homeless, visit the sick and imprisoned, bury the dead, give alms for the poor, counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, admonish the sinner, comfort the sorrowful, forgive injuries, bear wrongs patiently and pray for the living and the dead.
Feed the hungry: I can help those without food by not wasting it, sharing what I have, and donating or volunteering at a charity.
Give drink to the thirsty: I should not be selfish and learn to share.
Shelter the homeless: I can give them hope, help them in a simple way and keep them warm and safe until they can get a roof over their heads again.
Visit the sick: I can help them find strength in my compassion and let them know people care and they are not alone.
Visit the imprisoned: I can help a prisoner know he/she is forgiven and not forgotten.
Bury the dead: I can simply be there for someone going through a loss and offer companionship, consolation and care when it’s needed most.
Give alms to the poor: I can seek out organizations that focus on serving and supporting people with life’s basic needs.
Counseling the doubtful: I can talk about my beliefs and help them find their way. The Holy Spirit will be our guide!
Instruct the Ignorant: Experience is often the best way to learn together; mission trips and religious programs are opportunities to gain knowledge and discover new things to share.
Admonish the sinner: I can be humble and not judge those who do wrong but help them see their mistakes with compassion and understanding.
Comfort the sorrowful: For someone going through a difficult time, I can let them know I care by lending an ear, or any little thing that says I am here to help turn frowns upside down!
Forgive injuries: At times it’s hard to forgive wrongdoing, but holding a grudge doesn’t do anybody any good.
Bear wrongs patiently: If someone has done wrong, instead of being bitter about it, offer it up!
Pray for the living and dead: The power of prayer is amazing! Embrace it.
Whatever we do, wherever and however we do it, as long as we support each other, it is sufficient. Each time we conduct one of these acts of love and caring, we will earn a joy in ourselves of knowing that we have contributed to making the world a better place.
It is an honor to be a graduate of Holy Cross High School. The learning and teaching of faith and beliefs have equipped me to face life’s challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s been more than one year since it started, but I have never lost hope and continue to believe. As Mark 9:23 says: “If you can believe, all things are possible to the one who believes.” Nothing is too difficult for God. And in the face of extreme impossibility, He performs miracles. He will save us from the difficulties we are experiencing right now, but He can’t do it without our faith. He wants us to believe He can.