Santa Barbara Catholic School celebrates Mercy Day with music and action

Mercy Day 2015 (All sisters)By Julianne Robyn Castro

Santa Barbara Catholic School both celebrated and exemplified the meaning of

Mercy for the Mercy Day celebration last September 23, 2015. They greeted the day

and the arriving Sisters of Mercy with a Eucharistic celebration. A special luncheon

in the faculty lounge followed. In the afternoon, the students prepared a short

program for Sister Jeanette Marie Pangelinan’s Feastday and Birthday on the 24th.

The school was filled with a festive cheer and the spirit of gratitude.

Special guests who attended the school’s celebration were the Sisters of Mercy who

previously ministered at SBCS. Fifteen Sisters of Mercy came – Sr. Francis Marie

Blas, Sr. Orlean Pereda, Sr. Oliva Benavente, Sr. Agnes Palacios, Sr. Brigid Perez, Sr.

Doris San Agustin, Sr. Mary David Richard, Sr. Mary Cecilia Camacho, Sister

Elizabeth Ann Uncangco, Sr. Marian Arroyo, Sr. Trinie Pangelinan, Sr. Mary Jeanette

Leon Guerrero, Sr. Bernadette Leon Guerrero, Sr. Angela Perez, and Sr. Dorothy

Lettiere.

Prior to Mass, Guest speaker Sr. Dorothy Lettiere, RSM shared her vocation story

and experience as a Jesuit volunteer at Santa Barbara in 1974 upon the invitation of

principal, Sr. Callista Camacho. “The arms of mercy were around me when I came to

Guam,” she added. Six months after arriving to teach 3rd graders, she entered the

Sisters of Mercy.

The students all sang Bernadette Farrel’s “Jubilee Song” as the Gathering Hymn led

by the school’s Honor Choir, mentored by Ms. Dolly Diaz, Honor Choir director,

along with faculty and parents. Sr. Orlean Pereda, RSM read the First Reading, and

Ron Coloma from 8A led the singing of the Responsorial Psalm.

Fr. Dan Bien’s homily focused on the theme of Mercy in light of the declaration of the

Church’s upcoming Jubilee Year of Mercy.

In explaining the meaning of mercy, Fr. Bien gave relatable situations as examples,

such as their teacher forgiving their wrongs, and helping a classmate with difficulty

in Math. “It is an action word,” he urged, as simple as listening intently to another’s

story. “You can talk, you can preach about mercy, but unless you show compassion

and kind treatment, then your words would be meaningless,” he said.

The blessing of the Sisters of Mercy who served Santa Barbara Catholic School in the

past followed. It was a touching moment as the entire school family extended their

arms in blessing the Sisters while singing Lori True’s “May the Road Rise Up to Meet

You.”

Juliana Lacson from 6B led the Universal Prayer. Sr. Agnes Palacios, RSM, and Sr.

Jeannette Maria Pangelinan, RSM offered the bread and wine at the Presentation of

Gifts.

After communion, the Sisters of Mercy presented the Catherine McAuley Scholarship

to Kayla Badar of 3B. Sister Mary Cecilia Camacho, Guam Mercy Administrator, led

the presentation of the scholarship award, assisted by Sister Trinie Pangelinan,

president of Mercy Action Marianas, Ltd. (MAML) and Sister Marian Arroyo,

chairperson of the board of MAML.

The Eucharistic celebration ended with everyone singing Dolores Nieratka, RSM’s

“Celebration” while waving red and white ribbons.

A special program to honor the Sisters of Mercy serving at SBCS and to celebrate the

birthday and feast day of Sister Jeanette Marie took place at 2:00PM at the Petrie

Gym. On stage the K4 students sang the opening prayer, Michael Smith’s “Here I Am

to Worship,” with actions. The 6th graders then presented their song-writing

projects, where they rewrote the lyrics of popular songs for themes of Sacrifice,

Faith, and God’s Mercy and Love. 6B’s song borrowed the melody of Bruno Mars’

“Grenade.” They presented this at the Archbishop’s visit to the school last month.

6A’s “Faith Song” was adapted from Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song.” As an interlude,

sisters Juliana and Marianne Fernando of 2A and KA respectively presented a ballet

number to Cupid from Don Quixo in matching tiaras and tutus.

The Youth Crime Watch (YCW) formally presented gifts to the Sisters, followed by

student representatives from each level. Finally, everybody sang a Birthday song for

Sister Jeanette Marie.

“I thank God for you everyday. My prayer is for you is that you really enjoy loving

God everyday,” she said. She asked the students do this through listening to their

teachers and parents, and to recognize Jesus’ constant presence in their lives. She

thanked the students for their prayers and gifts. “Just loving each other is a big gift,”

she said.

Sister Maria Rosario followed, sharing how the Mercy Sisters were impressed with

the liturgy in the morning, “Your singing, your participation at the mass this

morning. Beautiful! Beautiful!” Thanking the teachers and students for the making

the day “a real special one,” she offered her prayers as a gift in return.

To wrap up the program, Raisa Adriano of 7B led in the singing of the Santa Barbara

Catholic School hymn.

The yearly celebration of Mercy Day remains new. The Sisters received greetings,

food, and gifts, but the message of giving and loving resounded throughout the day.

They called the students to be God’s listening ears and arms of mercy on earth. As

Fr. Bien concluded previously, “Let the seeds of love, mercy, and compassion

planted in your hearts grow and bear fruit.” The trumpet has sounded, and the time

is here.

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