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Signs for the Times

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By (Sep 24, 2018)
In Washington, Missouri, the self-proclaimed corncob pipe capital of the world, framed and weather-proofed vinyl versions of the Divine Mercy Image began showing up in yards and roadsides about three years ago, the work of a group of seniors led by Kenn Obermark, a retired house painter. The group, which calls itself Workers of Mercy, conducts its makeshift assembly-line business almost daily out of Kenn's former paint shop. They sell the images at cost. It's a labor of love. We spoke with Kenn about it.

How did this begin?
Well, some of us were doing [Marian] Fr. Michael Gaitley's retreat 33 Days to Morning Glory. Afterwards, we felt called to go out and do something to spread mercy.

Did you already have a sense there was something special about the Divine Mercy message?
Yes. A few years back I was telling a friend of mine about Divine Mercy and how Jesus gave us the Chaplet of Divine Mercy to pray for the dying, with promises attached. He never heard of it. I gave him a copy of the Chaplet, and he brought it to the hospital with his family to pray for a dying loved one, and he said it was the most beautiful time with that dying friend. He said, "I'm going to give you $500 to carry on this ministry."

Did you know at the time what the ministry would entail?
Well, we all got to thinking. I had made trips to Colorado, and I saw Divine Mercy Images along the highway in Kansas, and we decided it might be best to use the money to create images to be displayed publicly. You see all these political signs in people's yards. We thought Jesus should have at least that many yard signs. So we started making them. We had bake sales to raise money to get things started. We now make varying sizes.

So they are in yards throughout Washington?
And highways and cemeteries. A woman bought one to put by her grandmother's grave.

How many images have you distributed at this point?
Probably over 1,000 — so far.

Whoa.
Everybody says, "My gosh, you see them everywhere." And we keep emphasizing that it's more than just a picture.

Yes, Jesus told St. Faustina, "By means of this image I shall grant many graces to souls. It is to be a reminder of the demands of My mercy, because even the strongest faith is of no avail without works" (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 742).
And He instructed St. Faustina to have the words "Jesus, I trust in You" put at the bottom (see Diary, 327). We've enlarged those words three times, just to make sure people can read it as they're driving by [laughs].

So the people who obtain the images — are they mostly Catholics?
This is mostly a Catholic area around here. Oh, but I do have a good story. A local Baptist church wanted the biggest one they could get, so we donated it to them because they were having financial troubles. But then a week or so later, they called and said they had to take it down. Turns out the upper echelon in the congregation was upset, saying the image was "too Catholic." I had given them some smaller ones, too, and I asked, "Do I have to take those down, too?" And the gentleman said, "Oh, no. They are going in my yard. No one can tell me what I put in my own yard" [laughs]. The truth is, the image is a Christian image, not just strictly "Catholic." It's Jesus. And Jesus told St. Faustina that the image was to be venerated "throughout the world" (Diary, 47).

And you are doing your part.
We're a "fly speck," we always say. We didn't choose; He chose us. That's what we tell people. But everybody in our area knows what it's all about now. And anyone who asks, "What is this?" we tell them. People need to know the mercy that Christ has for them. His mercy is greater than our sins. It's all really exciting. And I love being in the shop with the guys. This is what we think about: Divine Mercy and how we can spread it.

What sort of feedback do you get?
We get a lot of "Keep up the good work." One woman brought an image down to Florida, and she's certain that having the image is what protected her home from a hurricane that damaged all the other houses in her neighborhood. But I don't emphasize that the image will protect your house.

Venerating it will protect your soul, though.
Exactly.

— Felix Carroll

You can contact Kenn Obermark via email: [email protected].

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ADAN MALDONADO - Oct 12, 2018

EMAILED KENN TO REQUEST 2 SIGNS-8 FOOTERS, 2 MEDIUM, AND 2 SMALL ONES. KENN CALLED ME IN LAREDO, TEXAS-GATEWAY TO MEXICO--AND CONFIRM SHIPPING THIS WEEK. I FIRST PRAYED THE DIVINE MERCY ROSARY BACK IN THE SUMMER OF 2001, WHILE CARING FOR A LOVE ONE. MERCY HOSPITAL SISTERS JUST KNOCK ON MY DOOR AND GIVE ME A DIVINE MERCY PICTURE AND PRAYED WITH ME. I PRAYED THE ROSARY UNTIL MY LOVE ONES DEATH AND HAVE NOT DONE SO SINCE THEN.
JESUS, HAS GIVEN ME EVERYTHING I HAVE ASKED HIM FOR EXCEPT THE LOTTERY. I RETIRED FROM THE ARMY,DISABLED THOUGH, RETIRED FROM THE WEBB COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE IN JULY 2016. JESUS HAS PROVIDED ENOUGH MONEY FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE ALSO.
BUT, SOMETHING WAS MISSING IN MY LIFE--THAT WAS JESUS-DIVINE MERCY.
I HAVE FED THE POOR ALL OF MY LIFE, MOST RECENTLY, I FED THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY IN THE STATE OF HIDALGO, MEXICO CALLED "LA ESTANCIA". THAT BEING MY 10TH TIME. I GIVE BASIC BAGS OF FOOD TO ABOUT 200 FAMILIES THERE SINCE THE YEAR 2001. YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE HOW IT MAKES MY WIFE ALEJANDRINA AND I AFTER THAT DAYS GIVING!!!!
KENN, I CAN NOT WAIT TO RECEIVE THE DIVINE MERCY AND PUT IT NEXT TO OUR ST. CHRISTOPHERS CHAPEL (20'X20').
IN LA ESTANCIA, I BUILD AND DONATED A CHAPEL OF "ST.SAN JUAN DIEGO"-7 METERS X 14 METERS TO THAT COMMUNITY ON MAY 23, 2003. IT IS ON THE CORNER OF MY HACIENDA ON THE HWY.
CAN NOT WAIT--HOW IRONICALLY--MY DEVINE MERCY SIGNS ARRIVE JUST A MINUTE AGO, WHILE I AM WRITING THIS.
WE ARE TRULY BLESSED.

THANKS KENN--WILL KEEP YOU POSTED.
P.S. THERE ARE NO SIGNS VISIBLE OF THE DIVINE MERCY IN LAREDO OR SURROUNDING AREAS--AT LEAST FOR NOW--LETS SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DISPLAY THE FIRST ONES.

H.V. - Sep 26, 2018

Good to hear this .
How good it would be if states such as Fla that seem to have highways with lots of immoral ads would resort to having large Vilnius images in many places - as the original and for that Fatherly look, prefer the
Vilnius .
May be the insurance companies would learn that these images, the graces that come with same , help to prevent accidents / hurricanes etc too .

Hep us to trust in You Lord, to often raise our mind and heart to say with and on behalf of all in our lives too -
' Praise You My Jesus , You are our wisdom , our joy , our fortress '.