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Dr. Valdemar Welz (left) and his brother Roman always looked out for each other, but never as much as during Roman’s dying days.

Spiritually Building Roman in a Day

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We celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday this year on April 3. The following is the story of one Friend of Mercy determined to bring a loved one to Christ on this most grace-filled feast day of the Church calendar.

By Felix Carroll (March 21, 2016)

His first tactic to help gain eternal salvation for his dying brother was the most obvious one. He simply asked his brother if he would like a priest to come to his bedside to administer the Sacraments.

Thanks, but no thanks, his brother replied.

So then Dr. Valdemar Welz pulled out the big guns: prayer.

In retrospect, he estimates he experienced approximately one minute of sorrow upon the death in 2006 of his younger brother, Roman, a fellow dentist with whom he shared a dental practice in Boston for 20 years. Christ quickly backfilled the grief with signs that He keeps the promises He made to the world through the revelations of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska in the 1930s.

In his eulogy at Roman's funeral, Dr. Welz laid out a plan on how everyone can join Roman in Heaven. "What is the purpose of life?" he asked the assembled friends and family. "To get to Heaven. How do we do that? We have to become saints. How do we become saints? By imitating Jesus."

He wasn't always so blunt. That's because he wasn't always so certain.

What he describes as a "30-year search for truth" ended in 1995 when Christine Schneider, his dental hygienist, introduced him to St. Faustina's Diary, a veritable instruction manual for the Gospel call to holiness and a roadmap to salvation. He has since made it his mission to distribute, for free, copies of the Diary to all those he encounters whom he discerns are in need of spiritual guidance.

Until Divine Mercy Sunday in 2006, Roman remained at the top of his list of those in need. A husband and father of three, Roman was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2005. In April 2006, the weekend of Divine Mercy Sunday, he was hospitalized.

Spiritually speaking, the brothers knew where the other stood. Dr. Welz, the believer, and Roman, the non-believer, successfully steered clear of spiritual scrimmage. So when the bedridden Roman declined the offer of a priest, his older brother didn't push it.

"Then the next day, at 3 a.m., I woke up, but still in a dream state," Dr. Welz recalls. "In my dream, I saw a desert, and bones in a desert, and a skeleton walking, and then I saw the face of Jesus Christ with a crown of thorns, and it dawned on me 'This is a battle for my brother's soul.'"

Again, this was Divine Mercy Sunday. Through St. Faustina, Jesus called for this special feast day to be celebrated on the Sunday after Easter. "On that day," Jesus told her, "the very depths of My tender mercy are open. ... The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment."

Dr. Welz, his wife, Ella, and their three children went to Mass that morning. At 11:30 a.m., Dr. Welz laid down for a nap, but no sooner had he closed his eyes when a voice in his heart said, "This is Divine Mercy Sunday. You're to be at your brother's bedside."

By noon, he was at Roman's bedside. Recalling his dream, Dr. Welz again asked his brother if he wanted a priest to come visit. Again, no thank you. This time, Dr. Welz pushed a bit, telling his brother about the promises Christ made to St. Faustina — that those who have gone to Confession and who receive the Eucharist that day in a state of grace would be granted complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. In other words, if Roman were to die in the state of grace after receiving the Eucharist on Divine Mercy Sunday, he would go straight to Heaven.

Yet again, no thank you.

Dr. Welz knew he needed backup. He called up Christine Schneider and told her that Roman was hospitalized and that he was refusing the Sacraments. He asked her for prayers, then he went back into Roman's room where, for the next three hours, he sat and quietly prayed to himself the Chaplet of Divine Mercy — a prayer that Christ gave to St. Faustina. Dr. Welz had only just recently been rereading the Diary and had come across the section where Christ explains to Faustina that when the Chaplet is prayed "in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge but as the Merciful Savior" (1541).

While Roman lay in bed, Dr. Welz thought of that promise.

Meanwhile, Christine was attending Mass in Boston at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. Two extraordinary things happened. In attendance were members of St. Faustina's order, the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, who have a house in nearby Dorchester. In fact, the Sisters are patients of Dr. Welz. Before Mass, Christine informed one of them, Sr. Saula, that Roman was dying and had refused the Sacraments. Sister Saula then proceeded to instruct each sister to offer her Holy Communion for Roman.

Additionally, before Mass began, Christine saw that Fr. Jim — a dental patient and Dr. Welz's spiritual advisor — was hearing Confessions. She managed to inform him of the situation regarding Roman. Father Jim was supposed to have concelebrated the Mass. Instead, he left, went to the hospital, and by the end of his visit, Roman had received the Sacraments.

"It doesn't get any better than that," Dr. Welz says, recalling that day. "All sins forgiven. And when you're at that point of dying, as Roman was, the chances of committing any major sin are miniscule."

Roman died on July 29, 2006. An avid naturalist, who enjoyed hiking, camping, and scuba diving, Roman was 52.

Dr. Welz recalls awakening the morning of the day that Roman died. "I knew this was going to be my brother's last day in the physical world," he recalls. Joy quickly replaced a deep sadness — joy that his brother would be received into Heaven, as Jesus promised. He's since had numerous signs to confirm that.

For instance, on Sept. 13 that year, he awoke at 3 a.m., again in a dream state. He was in a large room with a large group of people, and Roman was right in front of him. "He picked me up and took me flying all over this large group of people," Dr. Welz recalls. At Mass later that morning, Dr. Welz opened his prayer book and was reminded it was the Feast of St. John Chrysostom, the famous fourth-century ascetic and preacher. Chrysostom translates to "Golden Mouth."

"What an interesting feast day for two dentists," Dr. Welz says, "and there, that morning, my brother appeared to me in a dream."

He would be compelled to again turn to that dream as a sign from Heaven when, several months later, He and Christine attended a Divine Mercy conference sponsored by the Marian Fathers at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.

"I'm walking into the conference room. I had never been there before," he recalls, "and I said, 'Christine, this is the exact room where Roman appeared to me in my dream.'"

Roman has appeared in his dreams at least a dozen times — vivid dreams. Another time, Kamila, another of Dr. Welz's employees, shared that she had a dream of Roman the previous evening. Dr. Welz told her that he did, too. Turns out they both dreamed Roman was sitting in a certain chair in the Welz's living room.

"God does these amazing, beautiful things to let you know," Dr. Welz said. "I tell people, 'Pray, pray, pray. God will answer all your prayers in the most amazing ways possible.' And for all those people in our lives about whom we're concerned, know that Jesus is even more concerned about them. He loves us. He wants us to be with Him in Heaven."

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Be a part of the discussion. Add a comment now!

- Aug 2, 2022

And now Dr. Valdemar Welz is in Heaven And his wife, too.

Elizabeth - Mar 22, 2016

Father Chris Alar:
Where is episode 6 of DIVINE MERCY MATTERS? Only the mini series INTRO appears on the screen. And a message saying: "Oops, the embed code for this video is not valid."

Sonia - Mar 18, 2016

Thank you for this. This gives me much hope. I will pray!

Elizabeth - Mar 18, 2016

For Roman's case I must say God works in wonderful, mysterious ways. Persisting in prayer is important This is why we must pray for the dying everyday. Right now some people are on the verge of taking their last breath, exiting this world for the next. We must always prepare for a happy and holy hour of death. We must pray for our loved ones and for ourselves too because we do not know how, when and where we will die. We must always invoke St. Joseph patron saint for the dying. A devotion to Mary Mother of sorrows is also an effective means of obtaining mercy at the hour of death; the holy rosary, Stations of the cross and the daily Divine Mercy. Our bodies need daily meals (and sometimes daily medications too). For our physical health, we take these on a regular, daily basis.
Talking about our SOULS:, we can't afford to skip mass, the sacraments (especially confession and the Eucharist).
But, let's admit it: we love to take care of our bodies: diet, exercise, clothes - I'm not saying these are bad - of course they are necessary. However, our souls need special care and attention. Therefore, we must not neglect our Catholic faith. We must allow our Lord to love us, shepherd us, guide us and nourish us through His Church. We too pass the love we receive from Christ to others. How rich, beautiful and wonderful our Catholic faith is! Let's live it! That's our purpose! On the contrary - it's not boring! That's what we are here for!