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
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.
By Felix CarrollThe Consecration Prayer to the Divine Mercy