Well, Now Here is a Conversation Starter
By John Nichols
For the past 15 years, I have been a minister of care for St. Patrick's Church in Scottsdale, Ariz.
I bring Jesus in the Most Holy Eucharist with me when I visit patients in a local hospital, nursing home, and healthcare facilities. I am devoted to the message of Divine Mercy and witness this reality to the many patients with whom I visit.
I became friends with Stella DiPasquale, who worked at the reception desk at the hospital. One day she shared this story with me.
Stella and her husband, Carmelo, lived in New York most of their lives (they moved to Arizona 11 years ago). Carmelo is a big, burly guy who worked in construction. Stella is devoted to our Lord and Our Lady of Fatima. Carmelo did not share her spirituality back then, but he did not oppose her faith or her desire to raise their children Catholic.
In the fall of 1989, Carmelo suffered a heart attack. The doctors scheduled him for a triple bypass operation on Nov. 1, All Saints Day.
On the night of Oct. 31, hours before surgery, Carmelo found himself alone in the hospital and turned to Jesus in prayer. He had lost his father when he was 10 years old, and he did not want this to happen to his children.
The next morning, the nurses took him to the operating room, and the staff prepared him for the operation. They tried to keep him warm, since the operating room was so cold.
Carmelo felt a comfortable warmth in his chest. He then noticed there were two rays of light across his chest, one white and one red. They were coming from the side of the room. Then he noticed an image with both rays coming from the image's chest. The apparition, which Carmelo thought was an angel, extended its arm. Carmelo believed he either heard or found himself thinking these words: "I have heard your prayer."
The operation went well. As soon as Carmelo was able to talk, he told Stella about the apparition. When he arrived home, Stella showed him many images of saints and angels, but none was similar to what he had experienced.
Several years later, the local Legion of Mary called Stella to tell her that they were bringing a pilgrimage statue of the Blessed Mother to her home. The Legion brought rosaries and an image of The Divine Mercy. Carmelo joined in the prayers. When he approached the altar with the statue of Mary, he was stunned to see the image of The Divine Mercy. He turned to Stella and told her this was the person who had appeared to him on Nov. 1, 1989.
Today Carmelo has a large tattoo of the image of The Divine Mercy on his left arm. It extends from midway on his upper arm almost to his shoulder. When he is asked about this, he explains what happened to him. This is how he evangelizes. When Carmelo told me this story, I could see Jesus in his eyes and feel His Presence. Carmelo is a powerful witness to the reality of God's mercy.
John Nichols lives in Scottsdale, Ariz.