Divine Mercy graces not only available to the sick and dying

| Susan Klemond for The Catholic Spirit | March 27, 2013 | 0 Comments

DivineMercy Thirteen years after Pope John Paul II established the Sunday after Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday, the image of Jesus with red and white rays coming from his side has become familiar in many parishes.

More Catholics know that praying the Divine Mercy chaplet is especially recommended for the sick and dying but not as many understand how far the graces from this devotion extend. Here are four stories that reveal how the Divine Mercy has helped transform lives.

‘He forgives’

  • Laura Nelson felt convicted that she was one of the souls with hardness of heart that she read about in a pamphlet on the Divine Mercy she stumbled upon 19 years ago at Assumption in St. Paul. But she kept reading and learned that God has mercy on souls like hers.

Although she wasn’t a practicing Catholic, she started praying the Divine Mercy chaplet because she was so happy she could receive God’s mercy. “He forgives, you know?  I started crying.”

Nelson’s introduction to the Divine Mercy devotion represents a key moment in her walk with Christ which began when she was inspired by a late-night TV evangelist and later left her self-described party lifestyle and fully entered the Catholic Church.

After her initial encounter with the Divine Mercy she started formation to enter the Church. When she made her first confession, the priest said, “OK, is that all?”  Surprised at his reaction she recalled thinking, “Is that all? Isn’t that horrible?”

But, with time, God’s mercy has become more evident in her life, and now Nelson pray for it with others as part of the Cathedral of St. Paul’s Divine Mercy cenacle group.

“If someone says God’s not mercy or love, I have to say something because I’m a witness to that,” she said. “That’s a gift every day from him. He puts me in places through the Holy Spirit and through me sometimes he brings others back.”

‘Doors seemed to open’

  • Tom Kolodzinski first became curious about the Divine Mercy devotion 25 years ago when his father was handing out pamphlets about it to strangers. The message resonated with him. “I felt the Lord, as he always has been, has been calling his people to come closer to him and to change their ways.”

He started praying the chaplet for the sick and dying in a Divine Mercy prayer group at his parish, Mary, Mother of the Church in Burnsville. He also prayed it for other intentions, such as problems at his job as a sales manager.

Eventually, like his father, he also began passing out Divine Mercy literature. “The doors seemed to open at different times, meeting or praying for people who were sick and dying as well as just because of that calling — passing out Divine Mercy leaflets at churches and other places so others could also pass the gift on to others.”

When his father was suffering with terminal cancer, Kolodzinski prayed the chaplet, focusing with each decade on a sorrowful episode Christ may have suffered and, at the same time, his father’s suffering.

From the Divine Mercy, he said he has learned better how to pray through the heart. The devotion is beautiful and powerful because God is calling his people in mercy before he comes in justice, he said.

Praying for son

  • Carol Torning and her family have experienced miracles as they’ve prayed the Divine Mercy chaplet for seriously ill and injured loved ones. When her son wasn’t expected to live after doctors had to remove half his skull following a 2010 motorcycle accident, Torning, a member of the Divine Mercy cenacle at St. Francis of Assisi in Lake St. Croix Beach, prayed the chaplet with her family throughout his four-hour surgery.

Afterwards, the neurosurgeon told how one of her son’s arteries, shredded in the accident, had miraculously clotted. Torning and her family continued to pray the chaplet and rosary during the next year as their son recovered without setbacks.
Torning added that she’s seen even greater healing in conversions after praying the Divine Mercy. “People have gone to confession after many years and been reconciled through God’s mercy with this devotion.”

Interceding for others

  • Twenty years ago Dona Traynor’s enthusiasm for the “Polish pope” led her to discover St. Faustina and the Divine Mercy. She and her husband have felt especially compelled to pray for the souls in purgatory.

“My eye is on the 3 o’clock hour every day,” she said, referring to what’s known as the “Hour of Mercy,” commemorating the hour Christ died.  “I frequently will wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning and have my rosary beads right there and I’ll pray for the souls in purgatory. It just becomes so much a part of the fabric of your life, the devotion.”

Since her first encounter with Divine Mercy, Traynor has prayed the chaplet with the sick and dying as well as for vocations, seminarians and priests. This spring, she hopes to start a Divine Mercy prayer group at her parish, St. John Neumann in Eagan.

“We all wonder what we can do for others and I don’t think there’s anything more powerful that we can do than intercede for other people,” Traynor  said. “I think it’s a special calling, a special ministry in the Church.”

For information on the Divine Mercy devotion and how to pray the chaplet and the Divine Mercy Novena that starts on Good Friday, see http://thedivinemercy.org/message.

Divine Mercy celebration

There will be a special Mass and devotion to celebrate Divine Mercy April 7 at 3 p.m. at Divine Mercy Parish in Faribault. Priests will be available for confession from noon to 3 p.m.

The day will include praying the Divine Mercy chaplet, about 15 minutes long, followed by the Mass in Spanish and English.

Beginning at 5 p.m. the parish will have its first concert on its world-class organ. Brian Carson, a world-renowned organist from St. Louis King of France in St. Paul, will join with a talented brass quintet for the performance.

More Divine Mercy celebrations in the archdiocese

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Category: This Catholic Life