Teaching music in Jerusalem an extension of Mercy sister's ministry

Mercy Sr. Mary Gomolka with Bishop William Shomali, auxiliary bishop of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

Mercy Sr. Mary Gomolka
Profession: Sister of Mercy
Lives in: Watchung, N.J.

Editor's note: This interview was conducted before the start of the current conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Sr. Camille: Mary, during our Mercy Convocation in Pennsylvania in July, you shared information about one of your ministerial experiences in a faraway place. Please describe it and tell us how it came about.

Gomolka: At the end of the school year in 2011, I reasoned that teaching full time was no longer the best thing for me to do. I requested time and resources from the leadership of the Sisters of Mercy of the Mid-Atlantic Community to spend three months at Tantur Ecumenical Institute in Jerusalem, participating in a renewal/study/Scripture program and to remain there as a volunteer in whatever ministry I could be helpful. Permission was granted, visa was arranged, doctor's testimony was secured, and then contact was made with Bishop [William] Shomali in Jerusalem. He directed me to work with the children cared for by the Missionary Sisters. So after the three-month sabbatical program at Tantur, which is an ecumenical institute with ties to Notre Dame University in South Bend, Ind., I moved in with five sisters, 23 children and a few volunteers.

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