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Divine Mercy Chaplet Goes Viral After Boy's Death

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By Felix Carroll (Jul 6, 2016)
This story first appeared in the Summer issue of Marian Helper magazine. To get a free copy of the magazine, click here.

News reports announced the tragedy. The body of a teenage snowboarder was recovered at Vancouver Island's Mount Washington Alpine Resort on Dec. 22.

Plus or minus a few quotes from loved ones, including the parish priest, the bare facts about the life and death of Reid Kyfiuk were all there. And those bare facts are as follows:

He was 15, from the western Canadian town of Saanich.

He enamored his family. He had many friends.

He loved playing hockey and other sports.

His body was found deep in a hole in the snow on an ungroomed section of the ski resort.

And, inspired by the launch of the extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, which began exactly two weeks prior, the Kyfiuks made a specific plea through an attentive media drawn to the singular nature of this pre-Christmas tragedy. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) published the plea thusly:

"His older brother asked people to say the Divine Mercy Chaplet in Reid's memory."

A dozen more outlets in Canada and the United States followed suit, some even including web links for instructions on praying the chaplet, an intercessory prayer the Lord gave to the world through St. Faustina.

Add to that the millions of people who viewed and/or shared the plea on Facebook and Twitter, and the result is arguably the single most successful effort ever to disseminate the chaplet to an audience unlikely to have heard of it otherwise.

"People kept asking what they could do," said Reid's father, Andy. "The most logical response was to ask people to pray the chaplet. I said, 'I want the chaplet to be said in Reid's name, and I want it to go viral. I want Reid to be made a saint for making everyone pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet.'"

In the Hour of Mercy

When Reid's father later matched information from the ski resort's lift reports to those increasingly frantic minutes and hours after Reid went missing, he's certain that he and two of his daughters were praying the chaplet at the moment of Reid's death.

" ... have mercy on us, and on the whole world ..." they prayed as they made their way up the chairlift at 3:17 p.m. in search of Reid.

It had been a lovely day of skiing. Six inches of fresh powder. Andy and five of his six children even took a group photo at the summit to mark the occasion. As fog settled in, they figured they'd do maybe just one or two more runs and then pack it in, go back to the chalet, relax, and then go for supper. As usual, they skied as a group, and, as usual, if they were to get separated, they would meet at the bottom of the hill.

Reid — an experienced snowboarder — got separated.

A search-and-rescue team recovered his body at about 11 p.m. The coroner said he didn't suffer and did not sustain any large injuries.

"Now we're just a bunch of broken Christians trying to heal," Andy says. "He was our youngest. He was a great man, a really nice boy. We did fun stuff. We loved to sit, the two of us and his mom, Denise, and talk about life, science, human nature, how to apply God in our lives.

"We were just so close. And he's most likely with God now in Heaven. He's had so many people praying for him. But we don't have him, and it burns. It burns like hot metal."

A Time of Great Mercy
The Kyfiuks don't consider themselves "super Catholics."

"We're a regular group of people," Andy says "But I think we're being called to do the Lord's work during this Jubilee Year of Mercy."

Indeed, the family has since heard of fallen-away Catholics who answered the family's plea for prayers and who returned to the Church as a result. They've heard of non-Catholics praying the chaplet simply out of respect for Reid and the family.

"The chaplet is about asking God to take care of our world," Andy says. "The Lord said to St. Faustina that He will deluge us with His mercy. This being the Year of Mercy, we figure God's mercy is being poured out on the world. That's attractive to everyone, to people of all faiths. [The chaplet] isn't threatening, or in your face. You're just trying to do what's best for the world. People don't take offense to that, and it's not complicated."

Father William Hann, the Kyfiuk family's parish priest, said Reid told him a month before his death that he longed to make a difference in the world.

At great cost to his loved ones — he has.

Andy says, "If God stood before him and said, 'Reid, you could go to Heaven now and make the world a better place, or you could stay on earth now, but the benefits won't be that great,' he's the kind of boy who would've looked God straight in the eye and say 'I'd rather not have to be given options, but if I have to, I'll take Option A.'"

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carol Mary - Jul 6, 2016

My eldest so n friend were killed by drunk driver 1990 both 18. 3 months later i found Divine Mercy image in my sons school coat...never knew about it till then. I was born in B.C now living Ireland. Been to Poland to visit Divine Mercy shrine 6 years ago. Left testimony.
Praise God. A mother.

SUZANA - Jul 6, 2016

I PRAY FOR THIS BOYS SOUL PLEDGE he is a saint

Carol from New Zealand. - Jul 6, 2016

I have prayed the Divine Mercy Rosary daily for many years and this year of Mercy must surely benefit all mankind. I include your son that many blessings will come from his passing. God bless your family.

Rowland - Jul 6, 2016

This is beautiful and wonderful, and I pray that God in His infinite goodness receive Reid's soul. Amen. Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Nance - Jul 6, 2016

I am also praying the Divine Mercy chaplet asking God for mercy for all the souls living and dead. And everytime I pray it it gives me peace and joy knowing that God is always there for me, my family and all human kind.

Maggie - Jul 7, 2016

This family is truly an example of faith and love. I look forward to hearing more about Reids continued impact on ordinary lives , with the guidance of St Faustina,and Gods mercy .Blessings to all of you , and thank you !

Laura - Jul 7, 2016

My family got the dreaded knock on the door on August 1, 2010 at 11pm saying my oldest son's car was in a pond with him in it! Immediately, I told my two oldest daughters to start praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet for Alex. I ran to the chapel where I too prayed the Chaplet over and over again until hours later my husband came to the chapel and told me our precious Alex was dead. Later. I found out that my daughter told me this was the first time she really prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Now she is in her fourth year of the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist. Hopefully, when I die, I shall see how God guided me all through my life and how he directed every event of my life. At last I shall understand how every event, every person, and every situation in my life was a necessary part of God's work in me.