2021-04-01 18:00:00
2021-05-01 01:00:00

Take our pledge

April is Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month.

Help End Child Abuse

Help End Child Abuse

This month is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Take our pledge to end child abuse and neglect.

Minimize

Time's Running Out

There are only a few hours left to help out families affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Gifts made today will be matched.

#GivingTuesdayNow is almost over. Only a few hours left to help our families affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Gifts made today will be matched up to $50,000 thanks to the generosity of a dedicated group of employees at William Blair and its matching gifts program.

Minimize

Your Gift Doubled!

Last chance for your gift to go twice as far!

Support March For Kids

It Begins With You

You can help create a brighter future for Chicago’s children by supporting Mercy Home’s March for Kids this month.

Minimize

Minimize

Celebrating Easter and Seder at Mercy Home

Celebrating Easter and Seder at Mercy Home

Fr. Scott addressing the kids and coworkers on Easter

The young people of Mercy Home celebrated Easter in a special way this year—by participating in a Seder Meal. This iteration of the traditional Easter Spiritual Celebration allowed our kids to learn about the beliefs and customs of another religion, as well as enjoy time together as a community.

Seder is a ritual feast that marks the beginning of Passover, the Jewish holiday commemorating their emancipation by God from slavery in Egypt. The meal is traditionally shared among family members, but more recently has also been celebrated in larger groups. It was a great opportunity for the Mercy Home family to join together in celebration.

After an introduction from the Manager of Spiritual Development, Marc Velasquez, Fr. Scott Donahue addressed our kids and coworkers. He noted that the Seder meal everyone was celebrating was very similar to the meal that Jesus shared with his disciples on Holy Thursday.

“On this night we gather to celebrate the savior of the world honoring our Jewish sisters and brothers, having a meal together and realizing how much God loves each and every one of us.”

“Tonight, we do what the Israelites did over 3,000 years ago,” he said. “They were captured as slaves, they were being set free and led by Moses. They have this meal that we talk about tonight and celebrate tonight. Then they’re led through water, the Red Sea, and they go from death to life through water. They go from slavery, which is death, to freedom through water. There is so much commonality in the Hebrew tradition and the Christian tradition. We experience death and we’re baptized in water.

“On this night we gather to celebrate the savior of the world honoring our Jewish sisters and brothers, having a meal together and realizing how much God loves each and every one of us.”

Harmony, Hope & Healing choir leading the group in song

At the girls’ celebration, the Harmony, Hope & Healing choir led the group in song before the meal began, with Velasquez serving as the leader through the evening.

He explained to our young people that drinking each cup of grape recalled God’s promises of freedom; our youth learned that eating bitter herbs, which represented new life, acknowledged the pain and suffering experienced during slavery; as they ate matzah, our boys and girls recognized that the unleavened bread symbolized the hurry in which the Jewish people fled Egypt.

In keeping with Seder tradition, our boys and girls also led and participated in the ceremony, from asking the Four Questions to the ritual cleansing of hands. Two of our young people, Iyonna and Tyrone, also led a reflection and discussion on past and present injustices across the world.

Celebrating Easter and Seder at Mercy Home

“A traditional part of the Seder meal is to now read a line that says, ‘We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt. Now we are free’,” Iyonna said. “But the effects of slavery in this country are long lasting. … I feel like the community should come together as one, stand up and say, ‘we remember our past, but we will be oppressed no more’. There is a better way.”

Tyrone shared the background of slavery throughout the world and discussed how socio-economic status can serve as its own form of slavery today.

” I feel like the community should come together as one, stand up and say, ‘we remember our past, but we will be oppressed no more’. There is a better way.”

“In an attempt to maintain power, the ruling class has established laws” he said. Yet, due to the fact that the laws were created by individuals who in some way, shape, or form were touched by the dysfunction of our society, said laws engender a vortex of impoverishment and racial disparity, as they are set up to target low-income communities. What used to be blatant slavery is now an institutionalized system based upon one’s socio-economic status. … This is turn leads to a disconnect between the impoverished and those in control. As a result, the impoverished cannot advocate for themselves, so their conditions never improve, and depression ensues. Due to the lack of, quality, public health-care, and the stigma society places on mental illness, many individuals living within poverty cannot afford the treatment that they need, and/or do not seek it out. As a result, it is harder for them to become productive members of society and some land in jail. … [After their release from prison], falling back into the same habits, they simply repeat the cycle of poverty, mental illness, and incarceration, and this cycle is simply a legalized form of slavery.”

Mercy Home kids participating in a Seder Meal

Discover More