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Photo: Felix Carroll
They See the Light
By Dan Valenti (Jul 27, 2012)
If it's better to light a candle than curse the darkness, what do you think 1,000 candles can do?
Answer: Help dispel evil and induce the healing that comes from dedicated prayer when it's done for people's special intentions.
Welcome to the Eucharistic Apostles of Divine Mercy prayer cenacle of St.
Mary's Parish, Lee, Mass., about five miles from the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy on Eden Hill, Stockbridge, Mass. Group facilitator Mary Nowe, who began the cenacle eight years ago, says the proximity of the National Shrine has been more than convenient.
A Cenacle Morning
"We try to incorporate our work as a cenacle with the work of the National Shrine and the Association of Marian Helpers, particularly the prayerline," says Mary. The cenacle meets Tuesday mornings for an hour in a room made available to them at the Pilgrimage Center at the National Shrine. Following that, they attend the 11 a.m. Mass celebrated daily at the Our Lady of Mercy Oratory located in the Marian Helpers Center.
The group, which has grown to eight members, concludes its cenacle morning in a dual exercise in mercy. A couple of the members remain in the chapel to pray for the specific intentions that have come into the Divine Mercy Intercessory Prayerline. The remainder head to the adjacent candle shrine, where they light 1,000 candles for the various prayer needs.
"Each candle we light is for a particular prayer," Mary says. "As we light a candle, we say a prayer for that intention. We pray, generally, as we light them. Others in the group remain in the oratory to pray for people's particular intentions, as they come into the prayerline by phone, e-mail, or some other way."
Taking Charge by Taking Action
Mary said when she became interested in Divine Mercy, she wanted to join an EADM prayer cenacle, but she couldn't find one nearby. Consequently, she got proactive. She rolled up her sleeves and started one herself. Soon, she recruited her first member, but for a frustrating period of several years, the group was unable to attract new members.
Discouraged, she thought about folding the group, but Fr. Anthony Gramlich, MIC, urged her to keep going, trusting in God. Mary followed Fr. Anthony's wise advice, and says she then left everything in God's hands. Sure enough, other members began showing up for meetings.
There are now eight members of the cenacle. They are Mary, Susan Groshong, Barbara Scolforo, Laurie Forfa, Anne Durbe, Yola Saffioti, and Fred and Margie Paulmann.
"Our group is all about works of mercy," Mary says. "We do spiritual works of mercy as a group, for example, going to a nearby nursing home, where we pray with residents. As individuals, we bring our special intentions with us, wherever we are engaged in prayer. One of our prayers is for our group to continue to grow."
Taking a Flyer on Divine Mercy
Laurie said she learned about the cenacle after Mary gave her a flyer containing information about the cenacle.
"It piqued my curiosity," Laurie says. "I wanted to learn more about Divine Mercy." After attending the meetings for about a year, Laurie formally joined, and she says it's made a positive difference in her life.
"Just reading about Divine Mercy centered me," Laurie says. "I wanted to learn more about how to live it. Living mercy is important to me. As a member of the group, I get great fulfillment in praying, lighting candles [at the oratory candle shrine], and visiting a nursing home and praying with the people there. Being in the group has helped me look for opportunities to do more corporal and spiritual works of mercy. It has opened up a whole new approach to spirituality for me."
Back to the Church
Susan first found out about Divine Mercy from a neighbor who wasn't even Catholic.
"I had been away from the Church," Susan says. "My neighbor told me about the Shrine on Eden Hill. We visited, and we loved it. We learned the basics of Divine Mercy, and then Mary gave me a flyer on the prayer cenacle two years ago. I started attending the meetings, and enjoyed them greatly." Today, Susan regularly attends Mass and experiences the fullness of joy that comes from being an active and full communicant.
"I work at a nursing home, and I have begun to take some of what I've learned about Divine Mercy into my work there," Susan says. "I learned to take my spirituality out into the world — nothing big or heroic, just little things. For example, I started to find opportunities to pass out Divine Mercy prayercards, and when I do, I make sure I act upon it. I try to always have a supply with me, because you never know when God is going to give you a chance to reflect His glory."
Plans for a Van
In an effort to spread the word about her prayer cenacle, Mary has taken out small ads in the St. Mary's (Lee, Mass.) and St. Peter's (Great Barrington, Mass.) church bulletins. She also continues to get the word out with her informational flyers, which include an invitation to attend one of the cenacle meetings.
Eventually, Mary says her cenacle wants to do what Dr. Bryan Thatcher, M.D., does. Dr. Thatcher is the founder and director of EADM, and he has prepared many large containers of medical supplies, wheelchairs, walkers, personal-care items, and other needed items to the needy around the world. Mary says she wants to do something on a smaller scale: Maybe fill a van with donated medical supplies, baby items, and such to distribute to the needy, both locally and regionally.
"We want to grow so we can do that," Mary says.
Given her enthusiasm, drive, and determination, we have no doubt she will one day succeed. In the meantime, the eight members of the EADM Divine Mercy cenacle continue to meet each week on Eden Hill. Only God knows, of course, about the vast amount of tangible good these people are doing and the effect of their prayers, but we can say this much: They are helping St. Faustina to fulfill the great task given to her by Jesus to spread word of Divine Mercy to everyone.
Learn how to start a Divine Mercy cenacle in your area.