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Page Background The Congress was opened b

y the new episcopal coordinator of NACOM, the

Most Rev. Edward B. Scharfenberger, bishop of the Diocese of Albany, New


(see page 8).

The bishop had accepted Fr. Kaz’s invitation to get involved

in the North American Congresses because, he said, Divine Mercy is at the

heart of the Church’s mission to the world today.

“That’s what the New Evangelization is all about,” he explained, “telling

our experience of how good God has been to us, in spite of our weaknesses and

our sins — in fact, because of them. The more we need God’s help, the more

mercy God has available for us.

“The call of Divine Mercy is a call to look to ourselves and say, ‘What am

I doing to allow the Lord into my life?’” continued the bishop. “Public virtue

only comes when people live lives of private virtue. Only when our own hearts

are changed does the whole society change itself, like the leaven in the dough,

as Jesus said (see Mt 13:33).”

And that leaven was certainly worked in at the Congress. At the end of

Mass each day, the Congress prayed St. John Paul II’s 2002

Solemn Act of Entrustment of the World to Divine Mercy.

Confession was available, and many

attendees spent time praying before the Eucharistic Lord in the tabernacle. The

Congress paused each day for prayer at the

3 o’clock Hour of Great Mercy.

Occurring toward the end of the extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, the

Congress answered Pope Francis’ call to prepare the faithful to transmit God’s

mercy to the whole world. For the first time ever, the Marians

Fr. Michael Gaitley, Fr. Chris Alar,


Fr. Donald Calloway

all spoke at the same event.

Father Seraphim Michalenko, MIC,

handed on rich Divine Mercy theology, and

Fr. Kaz recounted the history of the world, national, and regional Congresses.

Cardinal Stanislaus Dziwisz, former private secretary to St. John Paul II, sent

the noted Divine Mercy theologian Fr. Jan Machniak as a personal representa-

tive to the Congress. Most Rev. Eugenio Lira, general secretary of the Mexican

Bishops’ Conference, gave a well-received talk in Spanish.

Other speakers included Doug Keck, EWTN president and chief operating

officer; Kitty Cleveland, an internationally recognized singer/songwriter; and

Marie Romagnano, RN, founder of

Healthcare Professionals for Divine Mercy,

an apostolate of the Marian Fathers.

Pope Francis’

message for the Church in the Americas o

n the occasion of the

Jubilee Year of Mercy was shown, as well as video presentations by

Fr. Patrice Chocholski,

general secretary for the World Apostolic Congress on Mercy, and

Dr. Bryan Thatcher,

founder of th

e Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy,

an apostolate of the Marian Fathers.

A concert of powerful spiritual music was provided Friday night by the

Mandolin Choir from Sacred Heart Church in Conroe, Texas, and the Catholic

African-American Mass Choir (CAAM) led by Dr. Andre La Cour and other direc-

tors. The Galveston-Houston Archdiocese’s St. Mary’s Seminary provided their

Schola for the music at the cardinal’s Mass.

Valerie Romero, a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Uvalde,

Texas, called the Mass celebrated by Cardinal DiNardo “amazing; very inspir-

ing.” She came looking for “a stronger faith, not just for me but for everybody

here, and that we take it back and we share it with our families, friends, and

loved ones, and that we’re able to inspire them just as much as we have been

inspired today.”


for our full coverage of the Congress.

— Chris Sparks


The fourth World Apostolic

Congress on Mercy (WACOM

IV) is coming right up!

Centered on the theme

“Communion in Mercy,

Mission for Mercy (Called

by Mercy, Sent for Mercy),”

WACOM IV will be held in

Manila in the Philippines

from Jan. 16-20, 2017.

Organizers anticipate the

presence and participation

of all the bishops of the Philip-

pines, as well as a number

of members of the broader

Asian hierarchy.

The Marian Fathers have

had a hand in the organiza-

tion of the Congresses from

the beginning, working as

close collaborators with

WACOM President Cardinal

Christoph Schoenborn and

WACOM General Secre-

tary Fr. Patrice Chocholski.

Speaking of the mission of

WACOM at the last Congress

in Colombia in 2014, Fr.

Patrice said, “WACOM

wants to be an answer to the

universal call to the Divine

Mercy John Paul II gave on

August 17-18, 2002. It was

a universal call to the uni-

versal Church and also to the

world, and so we feel the duty

to answer this call with the

whole Church.”

Previous World Apos-

tolic Congresses were held

in Rome (2008), Krakow,

Poland (2011), and Bogota,

Colombia (2014).



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