‘The Medicine of Mercy’

Really, this couldn’t be some fluke.

A couple miles north of the United States Capitol, where our nation’s elected Congress is debating universal healthcare coverage, sits another stunning, domed edifice — the Basilica of the National Shrine of The Immaculate Conception, where the North American Congress on Mercy convened Saturday, Nov. 14.

While the politicians down the road at the epicenter of our democracy debate the dispensation of healthcare for the body, 700-plus people gathered at our nation’s epicenter of Catholicism to immerse themselves in the only sensible cure for the soul.

It was no debate at all. The curative is contained within the Sacraments of the universal Church. And, as the Mercy Congress keynoter Dr. Scott Hahn pointed out in his talk, titled “Lord, Have Mercy,” the Sacrament of Reconciliation is the means by which we can bring hope and healing to our own lives and to the whole world.

“Penance. Confession. Whatever you want to call it,” said Dr. Hahn. “I call it the medicine of mercy.”

Indeed, St. Faustina Kowalska, the Polish nun whose revelations in the 1930s have sparked the modern Divine Mercy movement, would have no qualms with that prognosis. Jesus explains to her that by means of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, our lives can be restored to the divinity that God intended for us at the beginning of Creation.

Christ tells St. Faustina that when we go to confession, “the misery of the soul meets the God of mercy” (Diary of St. Faustina, 1602).

‘A Debt is Paid’
Dr. Hahn, an internationally known author, speaker, and Catholic convert, spoke of how years ago when he was studying Scripture to become a Baptist minister “everything kept coming up Catholic.” He said Scripture — both the Old and New Testaments — speaks of the need to confess our sins and pay restitution through penance.

The first time he went to confession — the first time he heard those words that he was absolved from his sins — he came out knowing “Christ paid a debt He didn’t owe me because I owed a debt I couldn’t pay. I had never experienced the liberating power of His mercy like I did that day.”

Through confession, we do not reveal any secret that “God Himself doesn’t already know,” Dr. Hahn said. Rather, God is letting us in on His secret, “and that is the power of His mercy, which is a medicine that can heal you.”

Indeed, it can heal us in a way we cannot do on our own.

What ails humanity is not debatable. Our misery is due to our sins, and our sins are what separate us from God, and in that separation, true lasting joy is unattainable.

Through sin, “we have, in effect, run away from home,” Dr. Hahn said. “We have done what the Prodigal Son did. We’ve disinherited ourselves.”

He added, “When the priest says I absolve you, God is restoring infinite life to the soul of the Prodigal Son in us.”

‘A Sure Cure’
Dr. Hahn urged Congress attendees to go to confession on a regular basis. And don’t be frustrated.

He shared how one time he told his priest how he could have just photocopied the list of sins he committed from the previous week’s confession. The sins were the mark of repeated struggles, week after week.

“So what are you telling me? Are you looking for new sins?” his priest asked.

“No, Father,” Dr. Hahn replied. “I’m looking to get rid of old sins.”

“Well, if you stop coming in and confessing, I can guarantee you’ll have new sins!”

“That man’s insight drove right to my heart,” Dr. Hahn told the Congress attendees. “I knew it was right.”

Confession is meant to be humbling, he said. Being humbled leads to humility, and humility is a virtue that “takes out the source of all sin, which is pride.”

“This isn’t a quick fix,” Dr. Hahn said. “It’s a sure cure, but it’s long-term therapy. You’re in rehab, and you’re in it for the life long. We need long-term therapy. That’s what we have in the Sacraments, and that’s what we have in all the saints, and especially what we find in the Blessed Virgin Mary, the masterpiece of Divine Mercy.”

Dr. Hahn also urged Congress attendees to be assured that Christ Himself is present in the confessional. Indeed, Christ told St. Faustina, “Make your confession before Me. The person of the priest is, for Me, only a screen. Never analyze what sort of a priest it is that I am making use of; open your soul in confession as you would to Me, and I will fill it with My light” (Diary, 1725).

“The Lord is not outdone in generosity,” Dr. Hahn said. If you are led to accept responsibility and make restitution, “do not give in to fear. Give in to faith,” he said.

He added, “When you tell Him what’s bothering you, he’ll give you the medicine that will cure you. So why go to confession and withhold any known mortal sin? That’s stupid. That’s self-destructive, especially when you know you have a divine guarantee of omnipotent mercy that will work long term, not only in your life but in the lives of your loved ones, too. This is what it means to be Catholic. Plain and simple. And this is what it means for us to come to a better understanding of mercy. Mercy is simply the most important truth of our faith.”

And it’s also the most misunderstood, he noted.

‘Divine Leniency’?
The common misconception, Dr. Hahn said, is that mercy is equivalent to “divine leniency.” That is, that God let’s us get away with sin without any consequences.

Sure, God is patient with us. Sure, He extends His forebearance. And sure, He looks upon us with great mercy because He sees us in our misery. But Jesus’ suffering on the cross does not absolve us from suffering.

“Jesus not only bears the cross, He also bestows a cross,” Dr. Hahn said. “He doesn’t bear the cross as a substitute so we don’t have to suffer and die, so that we don’t have to obey.”

Rather, the cross is an invitation for us to participate, through the Holy Spirit, in God’s original plan for us. That plan requires us to obey His commandments.

“God is not raising brats, but saints,” he said. “The Church is a hospital, not a place for people who refuse to grow up.”

For a world that’s suffering, the cure has not been lost, but merely mislaid. May this message echo from dome to dome, from sea to shining sea.

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Mary Lou – Nov 18, 2009

This is a masterpiece on why confess. Dr. Hanh, you explained it so greatly. Now, the proddings of my late mother to go to confession humbles me. She understood it rightly having walked the journey of the Divine Mercy. The unprescribed and cheap medicine of our depress time. Lord, how great is Your Mercy ! Heal us oh Lord !

Masterpiece of Mercy

By Dan Valenti (Nov 14, 2009)
What force of God can tame beasts, soften steely hearts, and through tenderness and compassion serve as object lessons in the practicality of day-to-day mercy?

Why, femininity, of course.

A gifted, young Marian priest injected a serious dose of the feminine into the North American Congress on Mercy in a stem-winding talk on Saturday, Nov. 14, centered on “Mary, Mother and Masterpiece of Mercy.”

Perfect in Virtue, Thrice-Created by God
Father Donald Calloway, MIC, borrowed his motif from Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s book on the Blessed Mother, The World’s First Love. Father Donald noted what happened with the Holy Trinity and Mary: “God the Father made His own daughter. God the Son made His own mother. God the Holy Spirit made His own spouse.”

How could such a creature not be perfect, something the Church recognizes in its teaching on the Immaculate Conception? Mary, Fr. Donald said, personifies “the superlative of all virtues.”

Our Lady is tenderness at its best, maternity at its most loving, and purity at the apogee of spotlessness. Even with that, though, Mary doesn’t remain at a spiritual distance. Far from being a woman so perfect we can’t relate to her, Mary cemented her bond with us by assenting to become the Mother of God. For this reason, she is venerated, not worshipped. For this reason, she is our mother as well.

‘The Depository of All Graces’
“She is the pattern of what it means to be a Christian, a disciple,” said Fr. Donald, the Marians’ vocation director.

Like Jesus, “we have to be born through her, for she is the depository of all graces. What you can say of Mary, you can say of the Church. She is the blueprint, the model.”

As we all are, Mary “is dependent on mercy, and mercy [Jesus as The Divine Mercy] is dependent on her. It’s a paradox,” Fr. Donald said. “So it is with us. We can’t live without [God’s] mercy, and we can’t be born again without Mary. We will never know Jesus Christ’s fullness without His mother.”

Father Donald then went in an unexpected though fruitful direction, turning to science, specifically, the phenomenon of fetal microchimerism. This recent biological finding strongly suggests that when a woman has a child, cells of that child will continue to live in the mother the rest of her life.

Amazingly, these microchimeric cells come to defend her life when she is sick. In fact, they are among the most aggressive defenders of the mother’s health. Likewise, we retain cells in our own bodies that come from our mothers. As the mother of Jesus, Mary retained her Son’s cells throughout her life (“The Church has never dogmatically declared that Mary ever died. She never died because she had the cells of the God-Man”).

Say ‘Yes’ to God
We, too, as children of Mary, retain her spiritual cells in us and ours remain in her. We can use that for strength, Fr. Donald said, because, “in some mystical way, you were born from her at Calvary, from her pierced heart.” God “planned it that way.”

Father Donald told NACOM pilgrims, “The greatest thing that we can say [to God’s call] is ‘let it be done to me according to Your word.'” Say “yes” to God; give Him your “fiat,” as Mary did. “That is the stamp of mercy.”

Visit Father Donald’s website, fathercalloway.com.
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Humble servant of God’s Love and Mercy – Dec 1, 2009

O Most Sweet Jesus, we trust that You will hasten the joyful day when the Limitless Love and Inexhaustible Mercy that is in the Triune God is in all hearts. O Lord, our contrite hearts rejoice in You or are tormented for You, but use us for Divine Mercy’s end. So be it.

Sophie – Nov 22, 2009

Thank you, Fr. Donald for always preaching the truth about how important Mary is in our relationship with Christ. She truly is the pattern of Christian discipleship and you Father are a great model for us as well. God bless you.

Erica T – Nov 22, 2009

I’d never heard of fetal microchimerism until Fr. Calloway brought it up. Amazing!! Thank you so much for all that you do, Father. I wish I could have gone to the congress. Maybe you can have one on the West Coast.

Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC – Nov 20, 2009

Wow! Great news, David! Being Catholic is the best thing on earth. Blessings to you!

David – Nov 19, 2009

Thank you. I have been a Protestant my whole life but am now entering the Catholic Church at the age of 49 because for some time now our mother Mary has been in my heart whenever I prayed to her Son. Now I can comprehend it in a way I could not before. Microchimerism will be an image that stays with me the rest of my life. God bless you Fr.Donald.

Mike – Nov 18, 2009

Huyen from Holland…
definitly get a copy of NO Turning Back, its awesome. Holland is starving for mercy!!!
You can sense it all over Europe but especially right now in Northern Europe for some reason…

immerse yourself right now in Gods mercy and immerse your entire country!

Thats the incredibly cool thing.. you can do it now! 🙂 God has handed you the power through the divine mercy image. Face it out the window. I cannot tell u how strong it is..
then trust and wait for amazing things to happen!

God bless you.
huyen – Nov 18, 2009

I don’t normally post comments on here…but I come from Holland .Father Don, I just only want to say that you are truely ‘the knight of our Lady’ gathering young souls like us to her and Jesus. Lots of my friends have been talking about you and we all think that you are a star..bling bling bling!!
we have seen your video clip via utube and we think your conversion story is really amazing. hope to get an order of your dvd and book soon Father. we hope to see you one day in Europe Father.
God bless you and everyone over there.

maryS – Nov 17, 2009

Fr.what a beautiful talked the spirit of grace in your heart is flowing YES to HIM.I hope and pray the we will a priest like so dedicated to our mother Mary.God bless.

Seven Highlights from a Weekend of Mercy

By David Came (Nov 14, 2009)
Opening Reflection: Grand Sweep of Mercy in Salvation History
As the Divine Mercy Networking Forum opened the morning of Friday, Nov. 13, Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC — the director of the Association of Marian Helpers and an expert on the Divine Mercy message and the life of St. Faustina — set the tone by reflecting on the grand sweep of Divine Mercy in salvation history. He described the great mercy of God being made up of three stages: our “being created out of nothing,” our “redemption from sin,” and our ultimate call to be “partakers of the divine nature.” In passages from the Diary of St. Faustina, Fr. Seraphim emphasized how both Jesus and Mary told Sr. Faustina — the great Apostle of Divine Mercy — that her mission was to prepare the world for the Lord’s Second Coming. And all of us who open our hearts to Divine Mercy and seek to live the message share in that mission. As Fr. Seraphim said in concluding his reflection: “The good Lord and the Holy Spirit have drawn you to be zealous instruments of [this] saving work [of mercy]. May we sing of the mercies of the Lord forever.”

Youth and Young Adults: Be ‘Courted by Jesus Christ’
At the forum’s morning workshop titled “Inspiring Youth and Young Adults,” Marian seminarian Br. Richard Mary Dolan, MIC, shared through the lens of his own conversion how young adults are looking for their identity, intimacy, and security, which can only be found in Christ. This is the “root” of the problem for young adults in today’s society, and until we address it, we will not be effective in reaching them with the Gospel message. For example, a key moment for Br. Rich came when he was discerning the call to priesthood or marriage. At that time, a priest told him, “Rich, it’s not between marriage and priesthood. It’s God’s fullest will for your life.” For Br. Rich, for young adults, and for all of us, the question then becomes, “Have I really been courted by Jesus Christ?” The reality for Br. Rich, then, in discerning his vocation came down to confessing that he wasn’t placing the Lord first in his life. As he put it, “I wasn’t letting the Lord court me.”

Evangelizing: Respect the Dignity of Those You Serve
At another morning workshop titled “Evangelizing When You Are Not Preaching to the Choir,” the famous quote of St. Francis of Assisi on evangelization helped establish the theme: “Preach the Gospel always and when necessary use words.” In that spirit, Ted Hanley, a man of action, used words sparingly in sharing about his ministry. He is the founder of one of the nation’s most effective organizations performing community-based works of mercy. It’s called the Jesse Tree and is located in Galveston, Texas. After Ted briefly shared how his ministry has been crucial in helping Galveston area residents recover from the devastation of Hurricane Ike (Sept. 12, 2008), Fr. Kazimierz Chwalek, MIC — the workshop leader and the Marians’ director of Evangelization and Development — shared how Ted’s ministry there started with a special approach to serving the poor that respected their dignity. “Ted set up a restaurant for the poor where they could make reservations for their meal a day ahead,” said Fr. Kaz. “The day before, they were given showers and needed medical attention. It was a way of taking care of their dignity before they appeared for their dinner at the restaurant the next day.” For Ted and for each of us, the message is clear: Our actions speak louder than our words in ministering to those in need.

Evangelizing: The Contemplative Outlook
At the workshop titled “Evangelizing When You’re Not Preaching to the Choir,” Marian seminarian Br. Michael Gaitley, MIC, shared briefly about another way we can evangelize while using words sparingly. It’s called the “Contemplative Outlook” and the idea comes from Pope John Paul II’s encyclical The Gospel of Life (Evangelium Vitae). “The key to winning the battle for the Culture of Life is seeing each other with awe and amazement,” (based on recognizing our innate dignity as children of God, created in God’s image), said Br. Michael. He noted that Pope John Paul II practiced this contemplative outlook. “His look at others told them that they were great. Everywhere he went and with everyone he met, John Paul would see Christ in them,” said Br. Michael. The call is to delight in everyone we meet simply by the way we look at them, recognizing Christ in them. It can revolutionize all of our relationships and be particularly effective in evangelizing. Here’s one of the main passages on the contemplative outlook in The Gospel of Life:

Because we have been sent into the world as a “people for life,” our proclamation must also become a genuine celebration of the Gospel of life. This celebration, with the evocative power of its gestures, symbols, and rites, should become a precious and significant setting in which the beauty and the grandeur of this Gospel is handed on.

For this to happen, we need first of all to foster, in ourselves and others, a contemplative outlook. Such an outlook arises from faith in the God of life, who has created every individual as a “wonder” (cf. Ps 139:14). It is the outlook of those who see life in its deeper meaning, who grasp its utter gratuitousness, its beauty and its invitation to freedom and responsibility. It is the outlook of those who do not presume to take possession of reality but instead accept it as a gift, discovering in all things the reflection of the Creator and seeing in every person His living image (cf. Gen 1:27; Ps 8:5). This outlook does not give into discouragement when confronted by those who are sick, suffering, outcast or at death’s door. Instead, in all these situations it feels challenged to find meaning, and precisely in all these circumstances it is open to perceiving in the face of every person a call to encounter, dialogue and solidarity (83).

Experts on the Panel: Tips Shared on Evangelization
During the afternoon panel discussion titled “Ask the Divine Mercy Experts,” questions about evangelization seemed to top the list. For instance, the first question (paraphrased) was: How can programs to reach lapsed Catholics inspire us? The questioner mentioned a program called “Catholics Come Home,” which has been launched in the Diocese of Sacramento, Calif. In response, Joan Maroney of Mother of Mercy Messengers said, “If people are coming back, they need to come back to the Sacraments. We need to embrace them and get them involved. We should find ways to incorporate them into the community.” When a similar question about reaching alienated Catholics was asked later in the panel discussion, Ted Hanley of the Jesse Tree ministry said, “A very simple thing we can do is to give an invitation [to come to church]. You are welcome. Come with us.” Father Joe Roesch, MIC — who is a councilor to the Marian General in Rome and the Marian responsible for Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy — shared from his pastoral experience as a priest. “People need reassurance of God’s love and mercy, so we have to be careful at Christmas and Easter [the only times when many Catholics come to church]. I try to encourage and not castigate,” he said. “I also try to take advantage of [evangelizing opportunities at] funerals and wakes. We need to be alert and have an evangelizing heart.”

Fr. Donald at NACOM: ‘Mary: Mother and Masterpiece of Mercy’
The afternoon of Saturday, Nov. 14, at the North American Congress on Mercy, Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC — the Marians’ U.S. vocation director and a Marian Press author — spoke on “Mary: Mother and Masterpiece of Mercy,” His presentation literally blew me away! It was chockfull of insights on the Blessed Virgin Mary and Divine Mercy. Here are several of his key insights, based on my notes:

• Drawing from Archbishop Fulton Sheen in The World’s First Love, “Imagine that you being divine had the power to create your own mother, you would make her the kindest, gentlest, most compassionate, most understanding, holiest, and most beautiful woman … .” Further, imagine that you being divine had the power to create your own daughter. Imagine that you being divine had the power to create your own spouse. [This is what happened with the Holy Trinity and Mary:] God the Father made His daughter; God the Son made His mother; and God the Holy Spirit made His spouse.
• What a creature [Mary] is! And it is precisely the mercy of God that did it. God has the power to do for us what He did for Mary.
• We have to be born again, and it has to come through a mother. No one can truly come to Jesus except through Mary. It can only happen in its fullness through Mary.
• [Because of the Immaculate Conception,] Mary is dependent on Mercy, and Mercy [Divine Mercy Incarnate] is dependent on Mary. It’s a paradox. So it is with us: We can’t live without Mercy, and we can’t be born again without Mary.

Homily at Closing Mass: Divine Mercy, the Marians, and Pope John XXIII
At the closing Mass for the Mercy Congress on the morning of Sunday, Nov. 15, Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, shared some fascinating facts about the history of The Divine Mercy message involving the Marian Fathers and Pope John XXIII. First, he connected the Marians and their history in the United States in spreading the message with the location chosen for NACOM:

It appears to me not to be void of significance that the first North American Congress on The Divine Mercy, which we have just celebrated, following upon the First World Congress, which was held in Rome in April of 2008 under the auspices of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, should have taken place here, in the host city of Washington in the District of Columbia, and that, at the National Shrine of The Immaculate Conception, of the Patroness of the host country. For it was from this city, more precisely, from the House of Studies of the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, located at that time on the corner of Lawrence Street, North East, opposite the former site of the Newman Bookshop, very near to this august center of worship, that the message of Jesus — The Divine Mercy — was first begun to be propagated on this continent in the Western Hemisphere, hardly two- and-a-half years after the passing into eternity of our Savior’s confidante, the now Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, while most of the religious sisters of her own community had not yet learned that their humble sister of the second choir of their Congregation was in any way involved in the matter.

Second, he shared an incident involving Pope John XXIII shortly after his enthronement in 1958 and the 20-year ban on the message and devotion, which not many people had heard before. The incident shows that at that time, there was a good chance the ban could have been permanent:

[Nonetheless] there was an effort on the part of some individuals in the Vatican to suppress the writings of Sister Faustina Kowalska, together with the devotions based on them. While I was working with an Italian priest, Don Carlo Vivaldeli, on a translation into Italian of Sr. Faustina’s Diary, he informed me that a friend of his from seminary days became a secretary to Pope John XXIII, and from him he learned that a decree was prepared to prohibit forever the spreading of Sr. Faustina’s Diary and the devotion to Jesus — The Divine Mercy, based on the “supposed” revelations recorded in it. Knowing that Pope Pius XII gave signs of being in favor of the writings of Sister Josepha Menendez of Spain on a similar topic of God’s mercy, the individuals not in favor of the subject awaited the seriously-ailing Pontiff’s demise.

The friend described to Don Carlo what followed. On the first day the successor to Pope Pius XII entered his office after his enthronement, he sat down at the desk on which a pile of documents was awaiting the new Pope’s signature. The Pope made the sign of the Cross and turned the pile of documents upside down, and proceeded to read the documents. The first one he picked up was the decree prepared against Sr. Faustina’s writings. It was evidently placed at the bottom of the pile so that, perhaps tiring from reading the preceding ones, the Pope would trust the work of his collaborators, and just sign it. Instead, John XXIII read the document carefully, and shook his head saying, “No, no, no!” And he indicated that this decree will not do — the Polish bishops should be consulted for their opinions. The document must be revised. It became a “Notification,” setting the matter aside until clarifications could be obtained. (Communication between Communist Poland and the Vatican was stopped by the Polish government. Even telephone communications were intercepted.)

These are both entries for the annals of Divine Mercy, thanks to Fr. Seraphim.

David Came is executive editor of Marian Helper magazine, the flagship publication of the Association of Marian Helpers, which is headquartered in Stockbridge, Mass. His new book is Pope Benedict’s Divine Mercy Mandate.

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michael – Nov 22, 2009

Fr Don its so true…Mary is total-gift-given and she gifts totally back to us!

I wanted so much to be at this conference but could not be..

Can the talks be purchased online for those who want to see the entire conference?

Blessings in Christ,

The Building Blocks of Faith

By Dan Valenti (Nov 13, 2009)
In one sense, one of the most memorable presentations at the Divine Mercy Networking Forum on Friday, Nov. 13, came not from a person but from a building.

The bricks and mortar that is the John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C., itself spoke a message of mercy. It did this through its architecture and in its exhibits.

Architecture is the art of cementing into physical form a building’s conceptual theme and its function. The theme driving the center is the controlling idea of Pope John Paul II’s papacy: God’s mercy for humankind. The function of the building serves as both a repository for and an expression of that theme.

A feeling of goodness exudes from a peculiarly enticing blend of intimacy and grand scale. Lots of glass means lots of light, the perfect symbol of God. High ceilings invoke the interior spaces of grand basilicas. A gradual marble walkway sloped to a subtle incline takes the place of stairs, signifying the gradual process of walking the spiritual journey. “Steps” are not what one walks on to ascend but the action one takes to reach the top.

Other Faiths, Same Destination
Of the many exhibits, one stands out, on the lower level, devoted to the religions of other faiths. The world’s major faiths are presented in a respectful treatment, each shown as alternate paths yet viable to the same ultimate reality of God.

Baha’i, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Shintoism, Confuscianism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Taoism, according to the exhibit, share seven major qualities or beliefs:

1. The reality of a higher power
2. Surrender to the higher power
3. Reciprocity, summed up in the Golden Rule (here we find the need to show mercy to others)
4. Worship
5. The human spirit, that is, the concept of the soul
6. Other worlds, or a belief that humans can move from one world to another, for example, from earth to heaven or moving through the stages of reincarnation to nirvana.
7. Paths to God, or the notion that human nature can be changed for the better through the teachings of faith.

The display presents a refreshing, multicultural, interfaith statement on the powerful drive in all humans to find their way from the tangential experience of life on earth to the absolute realm of a Supreme Being. The destination is one. The paths are many. The journey is to Home.

As Terry Muzones, one of the presenters in the Divine Mercy Networking Forum put it, “If we have God in our hearts, He leads us to where we are going,” that is, where He wants us to go, ultimately, back to Him.

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Meet the Mercy Experts!

The following is the list of presenters and panelists for the Divine Mercy Networking Forum on Nov. 13, in Washington, D.C.:

The Most Reverend Robert W. Finn, DD, Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph (Missouri), serves as chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Task Force on the Life and Dignity of the Human Person and as consultant to both the Pro-Life Secretariat and the Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. As a priest in St. Louis, he was involved in planning the first archdiocesan celebrations of Divine Mercy. In his own diocese he has encouraged the Divine Mercy devotion. Shortly after becoming ordinary, he established the Diocesan Shrine to the Divine Mercy and St. Faustina.

Father Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, will serve as homilist for the 10 a.m. Mass on Sunday. Father Seraphim is a world-renowned expert in the message of The Divine Mercy. He served as vice-postulator for the canonization cause of St. Faustina Kowalska, whose revelations in the 1930s led to the modern Divine Mercy movement. He serves as director of the Association of Marian Helpers in Stockbridge, Mass. He is a familiar face to EWTN viewers from his appearances on instructive and inspirational programs dealing with The Divine Mercy message and devotion. He was directly instrumental in the publication of the very first edition in the original Polish language of St. Faustina’s now world-famous Diary, as well as involved in the preparation of the same in several other versions. He also was a firsthand witness of the miracle attributed to St. Faustina’s intercession that opened the way for her being declared “Blessed” in 1993, and he coordinated the efforts that served to verify that miracle as well as a second one that led her to be declared a “saint” in 2000.

Father Kazimierz Chwalek, MIC, is director of Evangelization and Development for the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception and vice-president of the North American Congress on Mercy. Before he joined the Marians in 1980, he worked on the first Polish edition of St. Faustina’s Diary. He later assisted with the English translation. He has served as director of the Association of Marian Helpers and has worked in seminarian formation. His love for Pope John Paul II led him to be the editor of the English edition of The Making of the Pope of the Millennium: Kalendarium of the life of Karol Wojtyla, a compendium of primary sources that chronicle the life and activities of pre-pontifical period of John Paul II. Fr. Kaz was a member of the executive committee of the World Apostolic Congress on Mercy. He is vice president of the North American Congress on Mercy.

Father Donald Calloway, MIC, will speak on the topic “Mary: Mother and Masterpiece of Mercy.” He is the editor of two books: The Immaculate Conception in the Life of the Church(Marian Press, 2004) and The Virgin Mary and Theology of the Body (Marian Press, 2005). He is the author of the book Purest of All Lilies: The Virgin Mary in the Spirituality of St. Faustina(Marian Press, 2008). His new book, No Turning Back: A Witness to Mercy, will be released in January. Father Donald is the house superior of the Marian House of Studies in Steubenville.

Father Anthony Gramlich, MIC, is rector of the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass.

Father Joseph Roesch, MIC, member of the Marians’ General Council in Rome. Father Joe has been heavily involved in establishing the Marians’ new Divine Mercy mission to the Philippines. He was host of the “Cenacle of The Divine Mercy: EWTN Program Series II.”

Father Daniel Leary, who has been leading men’s and women’s retreats for more than 12 years. His focus on Divine Mercy as an instrument for healing and grace has drawn many people closer to Christ, strengthened their faith, and led to an enriched prayer life rooted in the sacraments. Ordained in 1997, he serves as pastor at Jesus the Divine Word Church in Huntingtown, Md.

Brother Michael Gaitley, MIC, hopes to be ordained a priest next year. He lives in Stockbridge, Mass., and is an assistant to Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, on matters relating to the message of The Divine Mercy. He has appeared several times on EWTN.

Brother Richard Mary Dolan, MIC, is a theology seminarian at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. He is Fresh Anointing’s college outreach coordinator for the Washington, D.C., area, ministering to young adults from 18-35 but primarily to college-age students. He leads a discussion group and helps out with retreats, catechesis, prayer teams, and a weekly Life in the Spirit seminar.

Dave and Joan Maroney are founders of Mother of Mercy Messengers (MOMM), an apostolate of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. MOMM is dedicated to taking the heart of the mercy message emanating from the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass., to local parishes and schools. They’ve also produced two best-selling DVDs, “Tell All Souls About My Mercy” and “Divine Mercy for Young Hearts.”

Dr. Robert Stackpole, STD, is director of the John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy, an apostolate of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. He is the author of several books, including Divine Mercy: A Guide from Genesis to Benedict XVI (Marian Press). He is also the writer of the popular “Divine Mercy Q&A” column on thedivinemercy.org.

Dr. Bryan Thatcher, MD, is the founder of Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy (EADM), an apostolate of the Marians Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, that’s based in Riverview, Fla.

Marie Romagnano, RN, is the founder of Healthcare Professionals for Divine Mercy, an apostolate of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception that specializes in training healthcare professionals and caregivers on the healing power of The Divine Mercy message in caring for patients. She is the founder/president of Medlink, a critical care service in the Boston-Worcester, Mass., area. She is the author of Nursing with the Hands of Jesus and the organizer of Divine Mercy conferences for healthcare professionals.

Terry Muzones of Chicago, Ill., is a longtime promoter of the message of The Divine Mercy. She has helped set up Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy cenacles in the Philippines, United States, China, Holland and Africa.

Ted Hanley is founder of one of the nation’s most effective organizations performing community-based works of mercy, The Jesse Tree, based in Galveston, Texas.

Patrick Massari is a graduate of Georgetown University who practices civil rights law in Washington, D.C. He started the Divine Mercy Cenacle at Our Lady’s Center in Ellicott City, Md., a Marian shrine and bookstore, where he also serves on the board of directors. He is a member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, in Ellicott City, and serves as lector. He’s a member of the Legion of Mary. He also serves in prison ministry.

Janis Clarke is a singer, songwriter, and speaker who recently launched “Word for Life Rosary Mission.” In collaboration with renowned scripture scholar Fr. Francis Martin, Janis produced “Commuter Rosary” CDs to draw Catholics deeper into the Word, the sacraments, and the new evangelization. She sang for Pope John Paul II in Toronto during World Youth Day 2002 and received his blessing. In 2006, she founded the Eucharist for Life Children’s Mission, which encourages children to pray for priests, for the unborn, and for mercy on the whole world in communion with the Blessed Mother and the Holy Innocents. She lives in Gaithersburg, Md.

Marlene Schlecht, a delegate to last year’s World Apostolic Congress on Mercy in Rome, is the facilitator of the Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy cenacle at her parish, St. Peter’s in Kenosha, Wis., where she also has helped start youth ministry and bereavement ministry programs. Marlene is also a lector, an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist, a catechist for confirmation and RCIA programs, and president of the St. Peter’s Women’s League. She is involved in a hospital ministry and has long been involved with supporting religious vocations. She was involved in the start of a parish twinning mission with the Marians in Rwanda. She enjoys working to promote the works of the Marians and Divine Mercy.

Dr. John Bruchalski, MD, founded of the Tepeyac Family Center in Fairfax, Va., in 1994 with the mission of establishing an obstetrical and gynecological facility that combines the best of modern medicine with the healing presence of Jesus Christ — providing affordable healthcare to women, in particular, those with crisis pregnancies. In 2000, he founded Divine Mercy Care, a non-profit organization performing spiritual and corporal works of mercy in northern Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. He serves as chairman of Divine Mercy Care’s board of directors. In 2005, Tepeyac Family Center became a part of Divine Mercy Care and currently operates as the first Catholic health care facility in the Diocese of Arlington.

Kellie Ross will give a talk titled “Imitating Christ through the Image of Divine Mercy.” She is the co-founder and director of Missionaries of Our Lady of Divine Mercy in Manassas Va., which operates the House of Mercy, a thrift store that provides free clothing and new shoes as well as spiritual resources to the poor and needy. The Missionaries opened a new mission in June in the west African nation of Cote d’Ivoire (read our nine-part series). After her powerful conversion in 1998, Kellie declared, “I spent half my life offending God. In the second half of my life, Divine Mercy is my ministry in reparation.”

Drew Mariani is a radio talk show host and managing editor at Relevant Radio, based in Green Bay, Wis.

Theresa Bonopartis has been involved in post-abortion work and counseling for 20 years. She will address the Congress on the topic “Where Mercy Meets Faithfulness,” touching on how God not only healed her from an abortion but radically changed her life. From Westchester County, New York, Theresa is director of Lumina, a post-abortion referral service that operates under the auspices of Good Counsel Homes founded by Christopher Bell and Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR.

Harold Cassidy, a Pro-Life attorney from New Jersey, served as chief counsel in the famous Baby M case, the first case in the United States to strike down surrogate parenting contracts as illegal, unenforceable, against public policy, and exploitive of women. Among his many achievements, he was selected Person of the Week by ABC World News with Peter Jennings.

Susan Wills is assistant director for Education and Outreach in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities. An attorney, she holds a J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law and an L.L.M. degree in International and Comparative Law from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. Since joining the USCCB in July 1993, she has overseen the preparation of the annual Respect Life Program materials. Susan has written articles for Catholic periodicals, secular outlets, and law journals and writes the bishops’ pro-life newsletter, Life Insight. She also produces the monthly “Word of Life” series, a liturgical resource for pastors. She is a frequent speaker at diocesan conferences and has been a guest on Catholic, Christian, and secular television and radio programs.

For more information on the Divine Mercy Networking Forum and the Mercy Congress, visit mercycongress.org.

‘What the World Needs Right Now’

Organizers for the upcoming North American Congress on Mercy on Nov. 14-15, are pleased to have Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, among the speakers. In the following Q&A, Fr. Donald, whose powerful conversion story will soon be published in the upcoming book No Turning Back: A Witness to Mercy, looks ahead to the Mercy Congress:

So what are your initial thoughts about the Mercy Congress?
I’m really happy to be a part of this. It’s really a major event in Church history, and there couldn’t be a better place to have it than at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in Washington, D.C. It’s such a beautiful place, and it’s considered the center of Catholicism in the United States and America’s shrine to Our Lady. Also, for me, being able to give a talk at the Basilica is significant because that’s the place where I was ordained a deacon. For me to be able to go back there and preach is neat because that’s kind of where it all started for me.

So what will your talk be about?
The title of my talk is “Mary: Mother and Masterpiece of Mercy.” My community’s charism includes spreading devotion to Mary Immaculate and spreading the message of The Divine Mercy. So, as I did in my book Purist of All Lilies, I will integrate the message of The Divine Mercy with the role of Our Lady. I’ll show how Our Lady is really the greatest recipient of God’s mercy and is really the masterpiece of creation, the masterpiece of mercy. Hopefully, I’ll get people thinking about Our Lady’s role in the whole Divine Mercy message, how she really is the one who has the deepest knowledge of God’s mercy, and how we can turn to her to help guide us deeper in our relationship with The Divine Mercy.

Why do you think the Mercy Congress is such an important event for the Church?
The theme of the Mercy Congress is “Mercy: Our Hope.” The message of The Divine Mercy certainly gives people a lot of hope, and that’s the thing people need most in this world. I think there’s a lot of people who don’t understand that God’s greatest attribute is mercy: He’s our Merciful Father. His mercy is greater than our sins. But people still think they can’t be forgiven. They still feel they’ve done so many bad things and that God doesn’t love them anymore. Nowadays, many people have just given up — on each other and on themselves. They think that others will never change, or that they, themselves, can never change. The Divine Mercy message teaches us how we can change, and the key to change is through trust in Jesus. His mercy is greater than our sins. He knows everything looks like chaos. He knows how families have a lot of problems. But the key to overcoming our sinfulness, overcoming evil, and overcoming the brokenness in the world is through trust in Jesus. We can’t overcome these things by simply trusting in ourselves or trusting in political regimes or trusting in the latest fads. What the world needs right now is to hear the message of truth from God — that He’s all merciful, therefore we don’t have to go into panic mode. We can rely on Him and have a hope that doesn’t diminish. He doesn’t promise to take away all our problems. He will give us something that will sustain us. “My peace I give you,” He tells us. Through trust we attain hope.

What do you hope the effects will be of the Mercy Congress?
I think the fruit of this Mercy Congress is that people are going to come together and rejoice together in God’s mercy and receive a lot of instruction about mercy, but that’s not all. They will then be inspired to become apostles of mercy to their families, their neighbors, and their community. I think there’s going to be a lot of brainstorming at the Congress about different ways to do that. But the bottom line is that the Mercy Congress is not intended to just be a weekend to come together and feel good. It’s intended to inspire people to take this message and make mercy a part of their lives so that they not only receive and experience the mercy of God but also practice mercy towards others.

In what ways can people practice mercy?
They can practice mercy in so many ways, such as by starting or joining a Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy cenacle or through the many ways of serving the less fortunate, visiting the sick or dying or imprisoned, or just little things done with great love.

This must be a particularly exciting time to be a Marian of the Immaculate Conception since the Church has so clearly embraced the message of The Divine Mercy, a message the Marians have been entrusted to preach and spread throughout the world.
It really is an exciting time for us. Now we’re kind of known as the “Divine Mercy priests,” and it’s a real gift to us as Marians because God has used this tiny community to do some tremendous work in our time with this message. I think that we have been really blessed by the message because it enables us, as Marians, to really embrace this message ourselves. It helps us embrace a priestly spirituality — of being men of compassion and mercy and being easy to talk to. People can approach us. I think when you represent something so awesome as mercy it really opens you up to many graces. We’ve been blessed with a lot of vocations, recently. We have been able to help a lot of people through spiritual direction. We see the blessings at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy where we have confessions every day for hours. It’s just awesome. People see us as priests they can come to because we’re the “mercy specialists.” We know this message changes lives. Our role really is to just hand on this great gift to others so that their lives can be transformed through God. It’s awesome for us as Marians to be a part of what God is doing with this message. And this Mercy Congress is one more sign that God wants us to spread His mercy throughout the world.

* * * Learn more about the upcoming North American Congress on Mercy, to be held in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 14-15, including how to register. * * *

Father Donald Calloway, MIC, serves as vocation director of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. Visit his website, fathercalloway.com.

Be a part of the discussion. Add a comment now!

michael – Nov 12, 2009

To those in Europe and England,
who are asking Fr Don to come,
that would be awesome!
but, in the meantime, be active and prayerful as possible about the message of mercy yourself. Because of The Holy Spirit dwelling in you, you yourself can do what Fr Don is doing- right now- and produce those same fruits! Do you realize that?

Ask Jesus to multiply your effect- he can and will!
You are the leaven for people like Fr Don. Think of the fledgling communities of the new testament, how they longed for the apostle Paul to visit them! And oh how Paul longed to do so- but did Paul come immediately? No. But, did they stop hoping,because Paul could only be in one place at one time? No!
These people tilled the soil till a great apostle returned. And you know what? Many great priests and saints have creditied people JUST LIKE YOU for their conversion! Thats so correct. Most enormous conversions come from someone else’s prayers! Pray for more “Fr Dons” right in your own midst and God will send them, trust me.

All Im saying is dont get discouraged out there! Pray for the Holy Spirit to set on fire the hearts of the young! There are many Fr Dons out there just waiting to be “discovered”! It might need your witness- right now, and your fervent prayers- tonight to discover them!

Praise be Jesus and Mary!

liezy – Oct 27, 2009

Fr. Donald..you are a role model for us all to follow to jesus and Mary. Ever since I know you I started to read the devine mercy from saint faustina and say the chaplets and rosary every single day. You are a star Father! please come to The United Kingdom one day to preach. Young kids like us need lots and lots of good priests like you. You are not afraid to speak the truth and I have great enormous respect for you. I have seen your website and I think it’s cool! you are the best!! keep up with the good work Father. God bless you and everyone in your congregation.

Editor – Oct 21, 2009

For anyone in the Buffalo, N.Y, area, there’s a bus pilgrimage to the North American Congress on Mercy. Call 716-662-0156.

Amylisa – Oct 19, 2009

Fr. Donald, you are one of the instruments Jesus used in drawing me to the Church and also to His Mother. You are in my prayers, I am so thankful for you! God bless and keep you always, you’re an inspiration to me and to so many others.

daisyholland2005 – Oct 19, 2009

Its a pity that we’re living in The Netherlands and unable to come to hear you preach Father Donald. I think Europe ( especially in The Netherlands now) needs priests like you to remind them that God is Mercy. Every one’s talking about you. Dutch people over here are very radical..and many Churches got shut down as a result and it’s just so sad. It would be so wonderful if you could come over to Europe to preach Father..I’m sure millions will repent and return back to The Devine Mercy and his mother Mary. We hope that you would one day come over to Europe to preach.
European people are in need of priests like you Father.
May God bless you and all the Marian priests.

Sophie – Oct 18, 2009

Thank you, Father for reminding us that we can practice mercy by doing little things with great love. I am looking forward to the conference next month.

Prudence – Oct 18, 2009

Thank you Fr. Donald and all of the Marians for doing so much to spread the message of Divine Mercy. The world really needs to hear this message so please continue to do what you do. God bless you!

Erica T – Oct 17, 2009

How exciting, I wish I could attend. Will you ever have one on the west coast? We are in great need of the divine mercy out here.

mary – Oct 16, 2009

fr.donald your book,may be of importants on the mother of god,since churches are getting closed and praying for mission churches to come back your in my prayers god bless you in your journey

maryS – Oct 16, 2009

praying for your in this big event,Are you coming to the Philippines this November 20,22,23 for the upcoming AACOM congress?I am sure million of the devotees of the Divine Mercy will love to hear from you,God bless you Father.

Mercy Takes to the Airwaves

Following the concluding Mass of the first-ever World Apostolic Congress on Mercy (WACOM), held in Rome in April 2008, Pope Benedict XVI gave Congress delegates from around the world “a mandate” to “go forth and be witnesses of God’s mercy.”

Those words not only laid the groundwork for the upcoming North American Congress on Mercy (NACOM) in November, they became the inspiration for a book, Pope Benedict’s Divine Mercy Mandate (Marian Press), by David Came, executive editor of Marian Helper magazine. The book, released in January, has since become the field guide, of sorts, for understanding how and why mercy has become the Church’s top talking point.

Mr. Came was the guest on EWTN Radio’s “Catholic Connection,” with host Teresa Tomeo, on Friday, Oct. 25, where he discussed his book and the upcoming mercy congress.

***We invite you to listen to the interview.***

“As people know who have studied Pope Benedict’s speeches,” Mr. Came told Ms. Tomeo, “he chooses his words with great care. So to use the word ‘mandate,’ and to use such strong language about going forth and being witnesses of God’s mercy for every person and for the whole world is phenomenal.”

As Mr. Came noted, the fruits of the Holy Father’s mandate is being writ large this year and next, as continental congresses are being held around the world as a follow-up to WACOM.

On Nov. 14-15, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., the Church will hold the first-ever North American Congress on Mercy with a specific goal of fulfilling this mercy “mandate” given to us by the Holy Father. The theme for the Congress is “Mercy: Our Hope.”

“People will be hearing inspiring witnesses,” said Mr. Came. “They will be inspired to go back and live Divine Mercy in their own parishes, prayer groups or what have you.”

The speakers will include:

• Dr. Scott Hahn, an internationally known speaker and author, who will give a talk titled “Lord Have Mercy.”
• Theresa Bonopartis, who has been involved in post-abortion work and counseling for 20 years. She will address the Congress on the topic “Where Mercy Meets Faithfulness,” touching on how God not only healed her from an abortion but also radically changed her life.
• Dr. John Bruchalski, MD, who founded the Tepeyac Family Center in Fairfax, Va., in 1994, an obstetrical and gynecological facility that combines the best of modern medicine with the healing presence of Jesus Christ — providing affordable healthcare to women, in particular, those with crisis pregnancies. In 2000, he founded Divine Mercy Care, a non-profit organization performing spiritual and corporal works of mercy in northern Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.
• Kellie Ross, who will give a talk titled “Imitating Christ through the Image of Divine Mercy.” She is the co-founder and director of Missionaries of Our Lady of Divine Mercy in Manassas Va., which operates the House of Mercy, a thrift store that provides free clothing and new shoes as well as spiritual resources to the poor and needy.
• Sister Mary Joseph, OP, who will give a talk titled “God Be Praised for His Mercies.” She is a member of the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne, who preach the sanctity of life by caring for incurable cancer patients in the United States and in Kenya who do not have the resources to pay for the care they need.
• Father Donald Calloway, MIC, who will speak on the topic “Mary: Mother and Masterpiece of Mercy.” A convert to Catholicism, Fr. Donald is a member of the Congregation of Marians of the Immaculate Conception.
• Father Patrice Chocholski, who will give the concluding reflection. From the Diocese of Lyon, France, Fr. Patrice is a well-known lecturer and theologian on The Divine Mercy message. Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of the Archdiocese of Vienna, Austria, commissioned him to coordinate last year’s WACOM.
• Most Rev. William Lori, STD, the Bishop of Bridgeport, Conn., and the episcopal advisor to the North American Congress on Mercy. Bishop Lori will be the principal celebrant of Holy Mass on Saturday evening.
• Father Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, who will serve as homilist for the 10 a.m. Mass on Sunday. Father Seraphim is a world-renowned expert in the message of The Divine Mercy. He served as vice-postulator for the canonization cause of St. Faustina Kowalska, whose revelations in the 1930s led to the modern Divine Mercy movement. He serves as director of the Association of Marian Helpers in Stockbridge, Mass.

Why Mercy?
Ms. Tomeo noted how since Pope Benedict was elected in 2005, he has seemed to put his “stamp of approval” on the work of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, who was known as the “Great Mercy Pope.” In his writings and homilies, Pope John Paul II described Divine Mercy as the answer to the world’s problems. He beatified and canonized Sr. Faustina. He established Divine Mercy Sunday (the feast day associated with the message of The Divine Mercy) as a feast day for the entire Church.

Mr. Came agreed. Pope Benedict, he said, has not only solidified the Divine Mercy legacy of his predecessor, but has taken that legacy further by declaring the Mercy Congress — the first time in more than 100 years that the Church chose to emphasize a specific, vital aspect of the faith by declaring a Congress in its name.

“In his first message as our Holy Father, [Pope Benedict] spoke of having received a gift of Divine Mercy through the intercession of Pope John Paul II,” said Mr. Came in explaining why he wrote the book. “So that begged the question: Is he the next mercy Pope?

“During the three years that I studied his papacy and what he has said about Divine Mercy,” Mr. Came continued, “it became very clear to me that he is our new mercy Pope, following in the footsteps of Pope John Paul II.”

Mr. Came added that the Mercy Congress is not merely the result of Papal enthusiasm for the message of The Divine Mercy, but the result of a grassroots groundswell. Through the message of Divine Mercy, Catholics around the world have been rediscovering the core of the Gospel — that God is, first and foremost, our Merciful Father who seeks to extend mercy to us all, regardless of our sins and shortcomings. God wants us to receive His mercy and share it with others.

“So many people are convinced that their sins are unforgivable,” Ms. Tomeo said.

“As long as the heart is beating there’s a chance for repentance and conversion,” Mr. Came said.

NACOM will preceded by a Divine Mercy Networking Forum on Friday, Nov. 13, hosted by the Marians and held at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C.

To learn more about the Mercy Congress and the Divine Mercy Networking Forum, please visit mercycongress.org. You can register for either event or both by clicking here.

Promoting Mercy and NACOM

By Dan Valenti (Aug 3, 2009)
Rick St. Hilaire isn’t your “typical” Divine Mercy devotee, if such a thing exists. Every workday as district attorney in Grafton County, N.H., the law requires that he be concerned with justice, not mercy.

As chief prosecutor and senior law enforcement official in northwestern New Hampshire, he spends his days fighting on behalf of victims of homicide, arson, sexual assaults, and other type of egregious crime.

But, again, Rick St. Hilaire isn’t your “typical” district attorney. He has a strong devotion to the message of Divine Mercy that colors his approach to enforcing the law. Justice demands punishment while mercy requires forgiveness: How do the two seeming opposites intermingle?

“Administering justice is a responsibility given to me as a prosecuting attorney,” Rick says. “While justice is rooted in jurisprudence and legal precedents, mercy is typically a function of the individuals who apply the law. That is why it might be said that justice operates under the law while mercy operates through trust.

“Saint Faustina Kowalska provides insight into the operation of mercy and how it’s distributed when she explains that trust is an essential condition to receive mercy,” he says. “So when an offender takes responsibility for committing a crime and places trust in those with authority, it is possible to attain mercy.”

To deepen his knowledge of Divine Mercy, Rick plans to attend the North American Congress on Mercy, Nov. 14-15, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., where he first learned of Divine Mercy while in the nation’s capital as a law student. Rick sees this as part of his plan to help develop the growth of the Divine Mercy message and devotion in his parish.

With the permission of his pastor, Fr. William Kaliyadan of Sacred Heart Parish in Lebanon, Rick is organizing a bus group to make the pilgrimage to the Congress.

“So far, my volunteer work for the Congress is in organizing this parish trip,” Rick says. “Other than that, I wrote an e-mail offering to volunteer and have not been told what might need to be done. God will let me know what I’m doing, I am sure.”

Rick also says he has met with Fr. Kaliyadan about forming a Divine Mercy prayer group. His pastor has become interested in the message of God’s mercy.

“My hope is that NACOM will contribute to the revitalization of the Catholic Church in America by broadcasting the message of Divine Mercy,” he says. “This message strengthens vocations to religious life, restores broken families, promotes a culture of life, and reignites cooled faith.”

Rick hopes that by attending NACOM, he can find “a fresh approach” to experience God’s love and to share it with others “so mercy can be put into action.” He intends to do this at the local level, in his parish, where he can have the most impact.

If, like Rick, you want to put mercy into action through NACOM, visit mercycongress.org.

Be a part of the discussion. Add a comment now!

Joesph – Aug 9, 2009

The important of what Rick is doing is provising an example of the integration of one’s work (and daily life) and living a spiritual life. All of a person’s life IS spiritual. His work speaks for itself, as does his intentions for the North American Congress on MErcy. In thankfulness, blessing, joy, peace, love, and gratitude for sharing his story.

Marietta Po – Aug 7, 2009

im thankful for the divine mercy message w/c ive read frm rick i pray n cont reading yhanking God of rick’s faith.

Randall – Aug 6, 2009

This dilemma has often puzzled me, tha balance between justice and mercy. This article helps explain it as best as I have ever read. Thank God for men like Rick, who live their faith, which is what we all need to do, regardless of our occupations in life.

Liffy – Aug 4, 2009

Wonderful story of a man who puts his faith into action. I wish Rick all the best and will keep him in my prayers.

EFI, Vandergrift, – Aug 4, 2009

Rick will succeed! From several states away, I can feel his energy and Trust, and pray that more of us will become committed to The Divine Mercy.

‘Mercy and Hope’ – Congress Plans Take Shape

Father Kazimierz Chwalek, MIC (left), and Fr. Matthew Mauriello (right), met in March with Fr. Joseph Holcomb, the associate rector and director of pilgrimages for the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, where the congress will be held in November.

Mercy Congress Plans Take Shape

Scott Hahn To Be Among the Speakers

Popular Catholic author Dr. Scott Hahn will be among the speakers at the North American Congress on Mercy (NACOM), set for Nov. 14-15, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in Washington, D.C.

“The theme of ‘Mercy: Our Hope,’ will orient this important event,” said Fr. Matthew Mauriello, Congress president. “It will serve as a kind of ‘North star’ in pointing our plans to emphasize hope as an offshoot of mercy. The relationship between mercy and hope will be explored and shown in action during this great meeting.”

“Please mark your calendars and plan to join us for this wonderful opportunity to learn more about the abundant mercy of the Lord and to put mercy into practice in our own lives,” Fr. Matthew said.

Hahn, who has delivered numerous talks nationally and internationally as well as released many books and videotapes related to Scripture and the Catholic faith, will speak at 9:30 a.m., on Saturday, Nov. 14. He is a professor of theology and scripture at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, where he has taught since 1990. Hahn is author of the bestseller The Lamb’s Supper and other bestselling titles.

That morning at 7:30 a.m., registration for the Congress begins with a welcome and prayer by Fr. Matthew, slated from 9 to 9:30. Father Matt is pastor of Holy Rosary Church in Bridgeport, Conn. The Most Rev. William J. Lori, Bishop of Bridgeport and Episcopal Adviser to NACOM, appointed Fr. Matt as Congress president in 2007.

The Marians of the Immaculate Conception have been assisting Bishop Lori and Fr. Matthew with much of the planning and logistical work for the Congress. The North American Congress is one of several continental congresses being held this year and next as a follow-up to the first World Apostolic Congress on Mercy in Rome last year.

From 10:15 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Teresa Bonapartis, who has been involved in post-abortion work and counseling for 20 years, will address the Congress. She is director of Lumina, a post-abortion referral service that operates under the auspices of Good Counsel Homes founded by Christopher Bell and Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR.

Following a break and testimonials by witnesses, lunch will be served continuous with time for confessions, from 12:30 to 2:15 p.m. At 2:15 p.m., Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, will speak. Father Calloway’s dramatic conversion story has been captivating audiences for years, providing a compelling witness to God’s mercy. He is the author of Purest of All Lilies: The Virgin Mary in the Spirituality of St. Faustina and editor of two books on Mary.

Following Fr. Donald’s talk, the day concludes with a holy hour (3 to 4:15 p.m.) and a vigil Mass at 5:15 p.m. On Sunday, NACOM concludes with a closing Mass. The main celebrant for the Sunday Mass had not yet been announced.

Register for NACOM

‘A Grace-Filled Opportunity’

During the World Apostolic Congress on Mercy in Rome in April 2008, Bishop Lori urged attendees of the mercy congress to build a civilization based on love. How? Through the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

By Dan Valenti (Jan 13, 2009)
The adjective “episcopal” means “of or pertaining to a bishop.” When the Church uses the episcopal label, therefore, it signifies an action or event of great import.

In his role as episcopal advisor to the upcoming North American Congress on Mercy (NACOM), set for Nov. 14-15 in Washington, D.C., Bishop William E. Lori of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn., understands that he represents a line of continuity to Pope Benedict XVI. It was Pope Benedict, who approved the first World Apostolic Congress on Mercy (April 2008 in Rome) as well as blessing and encouraging its mission.

Through World Congress President Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna, Austria, the Pope has given Bishop Lori the key role of advisor in planning the North American Congress. Working closely with his point man for day-to-day NACOM administration — Fr. Matthew Mauriello, pastor of Holy Rosary Church in Bridgeport and NACOM president — Bishop Lori sees the format of a Congress as a good match for as powerful a message as God’s mercy.

Bishop Lori was interviewed about NACOM by this reporter.

“Any Congress is a grace-filled opportunity to gain a deeper and more profound knowledge and understanding of the subject, in this case, Divine Mercy,” Bishop Lori says. “Whether it be a Marian, Eucharistic, or Mercy Congress, the speakers help to give us, the participants, wonderful points for meditation. I hope that all of us will leave the Congress with positive resolutions to put into action what we have been inspired to do through participating in the Congress.”

Bishop Lori says God’s mercy is a crucial subject.

“We are in a difficult time in the world,” Bishop Lori says. “We need to rely on the goodness of the Lord more than ever. Part of the mercy message includes, ‘Jesus, I trust in You!’ This is certainly a time when we need to trust in the Lord as we embark on a new year with all the challenges that face our world, our nation, and each of us individually.”

Bishop Lori says each of us should learn more about mercy, particularly the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

“In that way,” he says, “we can see how to bring mercy to others. We are in this world to know, love, and serve the Lord. We serve Him by being of service to others in their needs. It is important for the hierarchy and laity alike to realize that the mercy of God is not a new phenomenon or topic. It is scripturally based, and we can see the merciful action of God at work throughout the ages in both the Old and New Testaments. The very fact that Jesus was sent ‘for our salvation,’ as the ‘the Creed’ puts it, was itself an act of mercy on the part of heaven.”

Bishop Lori notes the phenomenal interest people have taken in the message of Divine Mercy.

“This is part of the providential plan of the Lord Himself,” Bishop Lori says. “In the 1930s, Jesus chose St. Faustina as His instrument to bring His tender mercy to the forefront and give new emphasis to His enduring message of love for each one of us. The faithful are accepting and assimilating this message, and it has blossomed and flourished.”

Bishop Lori notes that the executive board of the United States Conference of Bishops, of which he is a member, will be meeting in Baltimore the same weekend of NACOM. He says he is hopeful that he, along with his brother bishops, will be able to attend “some of the events after the morning session, in particular, Holy Mass at 5:15 p.m. [on Nov. 14].”

He closed the interview with a blessing: “With all my heart, I am pleased to bless all those who are working so hard to make the Congress a great success, as well as all those who will make the sacrifice and participate.”