In the News: Stockbridge, MA
New video has prayer power.
by Stephen Lachance
Trish Short has composed new music for the Divine Mercy Chaplet because she thinks it just may help to save the world by encouraging many more people -- including youth -- to pray for mercy straight from the heart.
News is already spreading about her contemporary sung version of the Chaplet. She sang it on Divine Mercy Sunday at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, MA, and produced a video of it earlier in the year at the Shrine.
Sins in her own life -- including the pain of having had two abortions -- have shown her how much she needs Divine Mercy, she said during the taping of the video. "I've known how much pain is created by walking away from the Lord," she said, "and how dreadful life is without Him."
The only thing that brought her back from the edge of despair was the message of Divine Mercy. Now the pain from her past drives her to share this message of hope and forgiveness with others.
Music influences youth
She realized that she could only express herself and share this message through music. So she composed the contemporary sung version of the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Then, with help from Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy and the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, she produced the video.
Though many have grown to love the solemn chant version of the Chaplet, which EWTN has made famous, Trish believes that this new version has potential to reach an even wider audience, especially among young people.
"The youth of today are in such danger," she said. "The whole culture is just degrading and leading so many astray. MTV and popular music have much to do with the increase of immorality, so it is fitting to take the Divine Mercy message where it can have the most positive influence."
Trish opened the video taping with some comments about her hopes for the production. "I want this to capture those hearts who may never have heard of or yet embraced the Chaplet," she said. "I pray this video reaches across generations and denominations, that it will be used as a powerful tool in the 'new evangelization.' There has never been a greater need for people to know of God's mercy."
"I ask you to remain patient, keep in a spirit of prayer, and sing with all your hearts," Trish told dozens of local volunteers and Eden Hill staff as they settled in for the taping inside the Shrine.
Divine Mercy overcomes sin
To inspire the congregation to prayer, Trish also took time to speak openly and passionately about her own private pain and sins. She fell prey to many false ideas. New Age teachings clouded her judgment for years.
"I even accepted the lie that abortion is an acceptable solution to an unplanned pregnancy," she said. As she spoke, the pain in her heart rose to her throat and almost crowded out her words. With tears filling her eyes, she admitted to having had two abortions. She thought that nothing could bring her any sense of forgiveness.
"This is the greatest regret of my life," she said. "I became convinced that I was beyond the reach of God's mercy."
Then a friend told her about the Divine Mercy message. "Instantly upon hearing this message, I sensed that God was calling me back, pleading with me to repent completely, and have confidence in His eternal mercy," she said.
She realized that there must be many people like her. People who felt lost in sin, unforgivable. She especially wanted to save the youth from the pains of sin.
"Our children and especially our girls are being misled!" she continued, raising her voice and her hands. "They are being deceived into immodesty, impurity, contraception, abortion, drug use, and ultimately self-hatred." The signs of grief shadowed her face -- and the faces of many in the congregation.
Another song, which Trish sang during an intermission, came from her desire to live Divine Mercy. "I Am a Voice Crying for Mercy," was given to her after learning about the misery of life in Africa through a nun from Kenya. The nun asked her to write a song for the poor and suffering there. This song is also on the video.
Prayer is most
Before the taping, Shrine Rector Fr. Dan Papineau, MIC, led in a prayer for God's blessing upon the new video. Father Dan, who had arranged the production with the groups involved, emphasized the need for the video to be outstanding in quality. "But what is most important here now is grace-filled inspiration," he said.
"I know what we're trying to do is present the Chaplet in a manner that is appealing to the youth, so that they will embrace it," Fr. Dan said after the taping. "The Chaplet and its new melody is also very appealing to Christians of all denominations."
A slow and graceful piano opens the Chaplet music and leads to a crescendo with beautiful strings that create a swirling wave of sound. It truly stirs the soul. As the music develops and the background vocals blend in, it turns into a soaring, heartfelt prayer that feels almost as if it is battering heaven, appealing for mercy and grace. The power of the music impels one to sing along.
The result of singing along has a profoundly uplifting effect. The song creates a sincere petition to God using one of the most powerful prayers -- a prayer which was given directly to St. Faustina by Jesus. "The melody is so beautiful," said Fr. Dan. "I really believe that it is anointed. It's easy to sing, and it really takes hold of you."
Father Dan and Trish hope that young people around the country will have the song flowing through their minds and hearts -- soon. The message is urgent.
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