The Congress Poses a Challenge

7 p.m.
Father Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, the vice-postulator of St. Faustina’s canonization cause, spoke before a packed crowd at the Dominican Church in Krakow this afternoon. You can listen to part of his talk while gazing at the Image of The Divine Mercy.

Read the full text of Fr. Seraphim’s talk.

So it’s onward … to write about an intriguing speech in Krakow this evening on why St. Faustina is qualified to become a Doctor of the Church.

Also, I met Cardinal Schonborn today during breakfast. He agreed to an interview later in the week.

12:46 p.m.
In the Basilica, the Holy Father’s words to Congress attendees were just broadcast. Following the Angelus, the Holy Father addressed the pilgrims. The official translation from English is below, followed by a translation from Polish provided by the very helpful press secretary here, Klaudia Tarczon.

In English, the Holy Father said:

… In particular, I extend cordial greetings to the participants in the Second International Congress on Divine Mercy in Krakow, and to the students from Iona College, Australia. The Gospel of today’s liturgy spurs us to pray for all who work in the Lord’s vineyard, especially where they face violence and threats because of their faith. May God grant them, and all of us, strength in our service to him and to one another. God bless all of you!

The translation from Polish:

With a special greeting,I invoke to the organizers and participants of the second World Apostolic Congress on Divine Mercy, which these days takes place in Krakow in Lagiewniki. My Dears, by common reflection and prayer, make your faith stronger in the Lord, in the way it allows you to carry more effectively the Good News to the world that mercy is the source of hope. God bless you!

10:30 a.m.
Holy Mass, the Basilica of Divine Mercy

Divine Mercy is the hope for the contemporary world. Not a hope, but the hope.

Day Two of the Mercy Congress has begun with morning prayer followed by Holy Mass here in the Basilica of the Divine Mercy. The chief celebrant and homilist is Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Laity.

“Your presence here is a clear sign of the fact that today the message of Divine Mercy that has originated from the Lagiewniki convent [where St. Faustina lived] reaches the farthest corners of the world,” he said, addressing both the attendees of the Mercy Congress and those listening through radio and television.

Clearly, that’s no exaggeration. Television stations are covering the event, cameras attached to booms. Radio stations have microphones trained on the proceedings. Press from around the world are packing the press room, filing stories to places far and wide (when the Internet connection complies).

This Congress — and the attention it has garnered — is a “sign of the times,” said the Cardinal, who has gained notoriety in calling for Christians to be courageous disciples of Christ in a secular world.

In view of the huge scale of problems, fears and crisis in the modern world, the Church must see as its prime task to inspire young people who lack faith in the future, noted Cardinal Rylko, who organized of World Youth Day in 1989 and 1991.

“That is why, in the Lagiewniki Sanctuary, we primarily look for the motifs of hope, faithfully gazing at the face of the Merciful Jesus and listening to His words addressed to Sr. Faustina, ‘Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy,'” (Diary of St. Faustina, 300).

His Eminence titled his homily, “Divine Mercy as the Hope to the World.”

And, indeed, all hope is not lost to the present generation, he said, addressing the crowd that includes devotees of Divine Mercy who range from teens clutching iPhones to elderly in wheelchairs. The thousands gathered here are from different countries and different social stratum. Yet all consider themselves “family,” joined in unity with the Merciful Savior who transforms hearts of stone to hearts of love.

No locale could better suit such a “family reunion” as here upon this small hilltop where in the 1930s, in a convent a mere 300 yards from this pulpit, where Jesus told St. Faustina to “Proclaim that mercy is the great attribute of God. All the works of My hands are crowned with mercy,” (Diary, 301).

“Here,” said Cardinal Rylko, “you can almost tangibly feel the particular concentration of difficult human affairs, problems, suffering, often frantic search for the meaning of life.”

Furthermore, he noted, it was here where Blessed John Paul II on Aug. 17, 2002, famously entrusted the world to The Divine Mercy. “May this message radiate from this place to our beloved homeland and throughout the world,” the Holy Father said. “May the binding promise of the Lord Jesus be fulfilled: from here there must go forth the spark which will prepare the world for His final coming.”

Our own Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, often makes note of this quote. “That’s a startling phrase,” he has said. “Some people just gloss right over it. But the Pope took the word of the Lord seriously, and he calls it a ‘binding promise.’ … So when people ask me why is the message of Divine Mercy important for the world today, the answer is simple: Through the message of Divine Mercy, our Lord is preparing us for His final coming.”

It all adds up. In Lagiewniki, St. Faustina promised the Lord she would follow His command to “conquer souls” (Diary, 1488).

How many souls have been conquered since then? How many have recognized sin as the barrier to God’s love? How many have encountered God’s tender mercy through the message of The Divine Mercy?

Thousands. Maybe millions!

“It’s a message that keeps growing and growing, by the grace of God,” said Antonio DelBello, a Divine Mercy apostle from Switzerland.

But Cardinal Rylko hastens to add that God’s love remains “unrequited and rejected” to much of the world. That’s why this Mercy Congress and this locale are crucial to the conversion of the world. They serve as “a kind of school of hope,” he said.

He exhorted the attendees of the Mercy Congress — those who “have met Merciful Christ in their lives and let Him touch them personally and transform their lives” — to be “apostles of hope” and “brave advocates of the message that originated here in Lagiewniki.”

“Christ relies on you very much,” Cardinal Rylko said in conclusion. The Congress proves that the “evangelical harvest is really plentiful, but the workers are unfortunately still few.”

+ + +
9 a.m.

Father Joseph Roesch, MIC, is here with many of his fellow Marians. What does this Mercy Congress mean to the Marians, who have been official promoters of the Divine Mercy message and devotion since 1941?

A lot. Check it out …

+ + +
8:30 a.m.

I have videos to share, but the Internet connection here has been slow or non-existent. Pray for me. Thanks!