y the new episcopal coordinator of NACOM, the
Most Rev. Edward B. Scharfenberger, bishop of the Diocese of Albany, New
York(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 2002Solemn 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 the3 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 MariansFr. Michael Gaitley, Fr. Chris Alar,
andFr. 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 ofHealthcare 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 byFr. Patrice Chocholski,
general secretary for the World Apostolic Congress on Mercy, andDr. Bryan Thatcher,
founder of the 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
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
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
Previous World Apos-
tolic Congresses were held
in Rome (2008), Krakow,
Poland (2011), and Bogota,