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Marty Rotella (left) and Dave Maroney try to solve some technical difficulties.
Our Forked River 'Fiasco' (But Not Really)
We love this statue at St. Pius the Tenth Church.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is a dispatch from Dave and Joan Maroney of Mother of Mercy Messengers (MOMM), an apostolate of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception.
By Joan and Dave Maroney
In nearly 10 years of traveling the country giving our multimedia presentations that go to the heart of The Divine Mercy message, here's something that has never happened before: We had major technical difficulties!
Yep, on July 25 our "multimedia" capabilities went dead. It may sound like a fiasco, but just wait.
We were scheduled to give a presentation at St. Pius the Tenth Parish in Forked River, N.J., a gorgeous new church whose parishioners have a strong devotion to The Divine Mercy. We knew we were in a special, sacred place when we saw the parish's incredible statue of Jesus, The Divine Mercy. (We've included a photo of the statue in this post.) Behind the statue are stained-glass windows designed to shine the red and pale rays from Christ's Heart. Beautiful!
Second only to the original Vilnius image, this is the most powerful we've ever seen. As our friend Jim Mattingly remarked, Christ looks like a carpenter, a working man," which, of course, He was; we've just never seen that side of Him rendered so well in a work of art.
Anyway, as is the case with our parish presentations, we set our equipment up in preparation for the presentation. It was to begin at 6 p.m. A Holy Hour with opportunities for confession was to run from 7 to 8 p.m.
Despite a powerful storm that struck the region, by 6 p.m. we had 125 people seated and ready for the presentation. Then, the technical difficulties began.
Dave's computer crashed. We couldn't display the images we use for our "Tell All Souls" program. We had set the laptop up in the afternoon and let it play through our preparations — no problems.
In warm-ups, everything was working fine for our friend, the singer and speaker Marty Rotella, too.
The pastor, Fr. Richard Basznianin, was great. He tried to help. A gentleman from the audience also came forward to help. We tried many different ways to get it going, including trying another computer. Nothing was working, including the built-in video system the church had.
So what did we do? We remained calm and prayed for the Holy Spirit to guide us.
Marty gave a witness and sang songs. Everyone was clapping. It was like one of those old-time revival meetings. In keeping with the improvisational nature of the evening, Carol Kaczmarski, the parish's adoration coordinator, stood and spoke of the parish's pilgrim statue of The Divine Mercy. She invited families to sign up to take the statue home for a week. She also spoke of her wish to organize Perpetual Adoration.
"Come on," she said. "Jesus is waiting for you. We're a big parish. We should be able to do this."
Five people signed up for the home visits. Three people signed up to be adorers for the hours needed.
Inspired by Carol's plea, Joan gave a 10-minute talk on the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation, how Jesus is present in the Eucharist and present in the confessional.
Finally, at around 7:30 p.m., Dave got the church system working. We did a shortened version of the program that focused on the heart of St. Faustina's Diary — the conversations of the Merciful God with a sinful soul, despairing soul, and suffering soul (beginning in Diary entry 1485). Then we began the Holy Hour, with the Blessed Sacrament exposed.
Father Basznianin and another priest began hearing confessions. A lot of people went to confession. It was really heartening to see.
By 8:30 p.m., we finished praying the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy. The confessions concluded, and the two priests left.
But then parishioner Therese Gili said she needed a priest to return because a woman approached her who wanted to go to confession. This woman hadn't entered a confessional in 15 years, and finally she had the courage. Therese arranged to have Fr. Basznianin return to hear the woman's confession. Then, another woman stepped forward who also felt the Lord calling her to confession, so the priest stayed for her, too.
It was amazing. The Holy Spirit was touching people's hearts.
All the while, parishioners were telling us how much they loved the presentation — a presentation like no other we've ever given.
Things didn't go as planned. But we are certain they went as God planned.
As St. Faustina writes, when our hearts are open to God we experience Him "very quickly in other souls" (Diary of St. Faustina, 115).
We extend our thanks and prayers to the souls of St. Pius the Tenth Parish in Forked River, N.J.
Come September, we're back on the road. Visit our web page for information on upcoming events.
We hope to see you soon.
Learn more about Mother of Mercy Messengers.