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8

M

arian

H

elper

 • W

inter

2016-17

 

• marian.org

I

n a low-ceilinged, sneaker-scuffed gymnasium where

generations of Catholic school children perennially

performed Christmas pageants and played dodgeball,

Fr. Brian Slezak dims the lights, switches on a projec-

tor, and takes his place on a fold-out chair, along with

50-plus of his parishioners.

On the screen, a young priest talks about how we’re

all called to become great saints.

“Saint Thérèse w

as known as the ‘bold saint,’” the

priest on the screen says. “She asked for bold things.”

The Lord, he said, desires that we do the same.

That’s welcome news for a crowd with some rather

bold requests, including the radical reordering of hearts

and minds within a 10,419-square-mile diocese planted

in the number one “most post-Christian” region in the

United States.

The greater Albany region of upstate New York holds

that ignominious title, tied with San Francisco, based

on a survey of Christian identity and practice that was

released in 2015 by Barna Group, a polling firm that

tracks the role of faith in America.

The leader of the Diocese of Albany, Bishop Edward B.

Scharfenberger, isn’t about to dispute those findings —

and he isn’t about to fall into despair, either. Too much is

at stake, and there are too many reasons to be bold.

This summer, he invited his entire diocese to conse-

crate themselves to the Divine Mercy by the close of

the extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, on Nov. 20.

W

here

s

G

od

?

By Felix Carroll

The Consecration Prayer to the Divine Mercy