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

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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