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‘Hands of Mercy’ joins together Catholic youth and elders

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Sydney Catholic Youth volunteers gave up their Saturday for “Hands of Mercy,” and elderly outreach event to encourage young people to perform a corporal act of mercy this Lent. Photo: Supplied
Sydney Catholic Youth volunteers gave up their Saturday for “Hands of Mercy,” and elderly outreach event to encourage young people to perform a corporal act of mercy this Lent. Photo: Supplied

In a society always in a hurry, there was a brief pause for perspective last weekend when the team from Sydney Catholic Youth bridged the generational divide to learn a bit more about the beauty of taking things slow. 

A team of a dozen Sydney Catholic Youth volunteers gave up their Saturday to spend time with residents at Mount St Joseph’s Home in Randwick, an aged care facility run by the Little Sisters of the Poor.  

The outreach initiative, called “Hands of Mercy” was intended to encourage young people to perform a corporal act of mercy this Lent.  

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It was an opportunity for young adults to spend time with elderly Catholics in the Archdiocese of Sydney, many who have limited contact with young people. 

Youth Officer Anna Harrison said it was an enlightening opportunity to learn lessons from those who have a thing or two to share about navigating life. 

“It was a great experience to learn about finding joy in simplicity. Coming from a generation which is all go, all the time, it was delightful to learn from these inspirational people the importance of pausing and being thankful for the little things,” Harrison said. 

The Sydney Catholic Youth team was on hand to run Bingo, prepare and serve afternoon tea, and tour the facility speaking with residents from all walks of life. 

“One resident Vicki shared experiences of her younger years, the turbulent times of the mid 20th century, and her passion for dancing,” Harrison said.  

“To this day she’s appreciative of the sisters’ efforts to provide opportunities for her to enjoy dancing, as they attentively support the residents in things that matter to them.  

“Vicki expressed her gratitude for the sisters and how they have blessed her own life and created a real community of joy and love in the home.” 

The initiative, in its second year, was a chance for aged care residents to meet young people and engage in a meaningful and positive way, sharing a simple afternoon tea, and hearing stories from the residents and their invaluable life experiences.  

“I definitely get a lot out of it, but I feel the residents also enjoy the hope that comes with having young people around,” Harrison said.   

“There is a positive experience that comes with intergenerational contact that enriches us all.” 

The afternoon ended with an opportunity to pray together in the Chapel, with special thanks to the sisters who gave great comfort to young and old. 

“The Little Sisters of the Poor are such an inspiration. The home is a wonderful place filled with happiness, joy and care. Seeing the compassion, attentiveness and devotion of the sisters really makes you proud to be Catholic,” Harrison said.  

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