MOMM's flagship presentation: This film brings the... Read more
Photo: Felix Carroll
Dave Maroney takes care of some early morning paper work at a motel in south Texas before heading out to the next town for a presentation.
Dave Maroney gets a little help unloading equipment at St. Paul's from Fr. Michael Callea, MIC.
Joan Maroney, during the sound check before MOMM's presentation at St. Paul's.
It takes a couple of hours to set up for each Mother of Mercy Messengers' presentation. Dave Maroney, above, gets his workout.
He's got their back. Dave and Joan, just before their presentation at St. Paul Church, stand before the image of The Divine Mercy.
This is the first in a three-part series on Mother of Mercy Messengers, the Marian apostolate who travel the world spreading Divine Mercy.
On a warm and windy south Texas morning in February, with the palm trees waving like bobble-head dolls, Dave Maroney steps out from a motel room, stretches, and takes a deep breath.
In his line of sight, rising like a rampart beside Highway 83, stands a billboard from a retina-consulting firm that declares "Blindness is Preventable."
When you're on the frontline of popular evangelism, when you've traveled more than 250,000 miles in nine years bringing Divine Mercy to the people of God, some signs can begin to sound prophetic. Dave and his wife Joan, who call themselves Mother of Mercy Messengers (MOMM), an apostolate of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, have experienced first hand that blindness is preventable — spiritual blindness, anyway.
By RV, they travel, pulling a trailer full of sacred images, books, and sound and lighting equipment. And by a singular code of the road they conduct themselves: the need to help people see that Christ is the means for finding hope, healing and renewal. They do so through their dramatic presentations to schools, parishes and prisons throughout the United States and abroad and through their series of popular DVDs.
"There are so many people in the world who feel separated from God," says Dave. "But we know, through the message of Divine Mercy, that no matter what we have done, He will be there to love us. That's a big message for the world today — that the greatest sinner has the greatest right to His mercy."
Dave and Joan are packing up the RV. As they settle into their seats, Dave offers a prayer for the day:
Dear Lord, we offer all of our sufferings, whether great or small, we offer it all with the Passion of Jesus on the cross for the salvation of sinners. I pray, Lord, that you bring many people to the program so that they can learn about Your love for them and that they come to know Your merciful Heart and be transformed. May they take that love and take it into their families and communities so that others may see Your love shining through them. Amen.
Dave then cranks the engine, and they're off.
MOMM's next stop is St. Paul's Church in nearby Mission, Texas. It will be a typical stop for them. That is to say, it will be extraordinary.
With a mix of readings from the Diary of St. Faustina, visual effects, meditative music, and frank talk about heaven and hell, MOMM will help the parishioners to not only understand the message of Divine Mercy but to also experience Divine Mercy.
"Welcome to St. Paul's!" says St. Paul's pastor, the Rev. Gregory Kuczmanski, coming out to greet Joan and Dave as they pull up to the parish. "Everyone is excited to see you."
Indeed, for the nearly 500 attendees at this parish presentation of Tell All Souls About My Mercy, the Diary comes to life. Many realize that Jesus and the Blessed Mother are speaking directly to them. No one is in a rush to leave afterwards. Parishioner Alicia Corona wipes the tears from her eyes. "It was so beautiful," she says. "You could feel it in your heart that Jesus was present with us."
As is typical with a MOMM presentation, Eucharistic Adoration and opportunities for confession follow. The confessionals fill. "People were definitely moved," Fr. Gregory says afterwards.
A similar thing happens the following evening when MOMM gives a presentation to around 350 people, mostly high school students, at St. Paul's. The youngsters sit in the pews mesmerized. Many go to confession, including Melissa Salazar's 16-year-old son.
"He came out and he hugged me," she says. "He had a real powerful experience."
A MOMM presentation doesn't just help support pastors in the education of their flocks. It doesn't just take what the pastor is preaching from the pulpit and present it in a dramatic fashion. Clearly, something more is afoot.
"It disposes the soul to receive what God offers," says Fr. Michael Callea, MIC, the former coordinator of the Marians' Divine Mercy Apostolates, who was on the road with MOMM in February.
"Dave and Joan are generous people," Fr. Michael adds. "Rather than simply relish the Good News that they have experienced, they have a heart to bring it to other aching souls."
After the second presentations at St. Paul, people linger in the afterglow — a spiritual afterglow — speaking in soft voices or not speaking at all. Dave and Joan, meanwhile, pack their equipment, load their trailer, then bid everyone farewell.
"Our goal is for not only the people who come to be touched and to have this intimate and profound experience with Jesus," Joan says, "but that they then go out and reflect that — they go out and live the message by deed, word, and prayer."
She's talking now from the RV. Dave is driving. It's late. It's dark. On the frontline of evangelism, they're following more signs pointing to Mercy — the signs that lead to their next stop.
Read part 2.
Schedule a MOMM program in your area by calling 830-634-7765. Or purchase any one of their DVDs, including "Tell All Souls About My Mercy" or "Divine Mercy for Young Hearts".