were already well primed. In 2015, Bishop
Scharfenberger had encouraged his diocese to
make the consecration to Mary using
to Morning Glory.
“It was like a grace bomb was dropped on
our diocese,” says Bishop Scharfenberger.
By means of the consecration, which nearly
2 million people worldwide have made, Bishop
Scharfenberger and many of his pastors wit-
nessed a spiritual hunger that had hitherto
He isn’t the only bishop to now turn his
diocese’s gaze to
33 Days to Merciful Love.
Archbishop of Kansas City Joseph F. Naumann,
too, has encouraged his flock to conclude the
Jubilee Year by making the consecration.
It makes perfect sense to pastors such as
Fr. Rendell Torres, who leads two parishes in
the rural northern reaches of the Diocese of
Albany. Like many clergy, he was struggling with what
it might mean when the Holy Father concludes the
Jubilee Year, which coincides with the closing of desig-
nated Holy Doors at basilicas, cathedrals, and shrines
around the world.
“Does mercy ‘close’ with the end of the Jubilee Year?
Obviously not,” says Fr. Torres. “So the consecration to
Divine Mercy is such that the doors of our hearts will
now be opened. We can receive the mercy of God that
others reject and then give it back to the world by being
channels of His mercy through our actions and testimony
to the mercy of God in our lives.”
“To be consecrated means we become seeds planted in
our diocese,” Fr. Torres says. “I don’t know how quickly
the change will occur, but I do know we really need
‘I wring my hands’
Back at Holy Trinity Parish on the opening night, Fr.
Slezak leads a closing prayer, which is punctuated by a
round of applause.
A life-size image of Jesus, the Divine Mercy,
is set front
and center in the gymnasium. In the image, Jesus steps
from the darkness — His right hand raised in blessing,
His left hand opening His garment to expose His wound-
ed Heart. To those who eschew Christianity in no small
part due to the misperception that God is a wrathful
judge, punitive to rule-breakers, it’s worth noting that in
this famous image, Jesus is not pointing fingers.
“You know,” says Alice, making her way past the
image and toward the exit, “I wring my hands on a daily
basis: ‘What else can I be doing?’ There is nothing else I
haven’t already done. I’m reminded tonight that when
you don’t know what to do, when you feel hopeless, all
you can do is to put it all into God’s hands and say, ‘You
got to help me with this.’
“I think that’s where we are as a diocese,” she says.
“That’s where we are as families.”
Father Slezak opens the door for her.
“Well,” he says, “what I do know is that God is at work
here. I know He is.”
For the sake of their family and their diocese, David and Alice
Benamati of Cohoes, New York, will consecrate themselves to the
Divine Mercy on Nov. 13.