Mercy Home’s holiday festivities culminated with Christmas celebrations for our boys and girls. The annual tradition was held over the course of two nights and featured youth speakers, followed by special meals, and visits from Santa Claus and his band of merry elves.

Each evening began with our young men and women reflecting on the Christmas story’s themes of rejection – how Mary and Joseph were repeatedly turned away. Youth speakers related moments when they experienced rejection in their own life and how humbled they felt when they were finally accepted and welcomed.

Fr. Scott Donahue reflected on the words of the late Dutch Catholic priest and theologian, Henri Nouwen, and his concept of being a wounded healer.

“If we can learn from our woundedness, be it by rejection or by whatever trauma or wounds we have in our life – if we can learn from that and keep those wounds clean, we are able to have compassion for other people,” said Father Scott. “Then we see what other people are suffering with; what their life experience is. And what we learn from our own experience of hurt or rejection, we’re able to bring comfort, hope, and healing to others.”

Following the dinner at our boys home, all the young men put on their pajamas and patiently waited for St. Nick. At our girls home, the young women gathered next to a roaring fireplace where they opened their gifts together.

As the sounds of jingle bells filled the air, Santa and his jolly entourage of helper elves—including our facility dog Pongo – made their big entrance. Children at both campuses roared with delight in a flurry of wrapping paper, presents, and unforgettable Christmas memories.


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