Divine Mercy for America is a new initiative from the Mother of Mercy Messengers, co-founded and directed by Dave and Joan Maroney as an official apostolate of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception to share and spread the message of Divine Mercy.
What prompted this new initiative? "The Holy Spirit," answered Joan Maroney without hesitation.
Last summer, concerned about the upcoming elections and cultural conditions in America, the Maroneys began a novena to the Holy Spirit.
At the same time, they came across passages from the Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul, in which the Lord specifically asked her to pray for Poland to appease his anger for its ingratitude.
Jesus asked St. Faustina to pray for her country through a novena of the Litany of the Saints, a novena of the Divine Mercy Chaplet said with all the sisters "in order to appease my Father and to entreat God’s mercy for Poland" (Diary, 714), Holy Hours, adoration and seeking the intercession of the Blessed Mother.
On the feast of the Assumption, Our Blessed Mother told Faustina, "My daughter, what I demand from you is prayer, prayer, and once again prayer, for the world and especially for your country. For nine days, receive holy Communion in atonement and unite yourself closely to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass" (Diary, 325).
"With our religious freedom being under threat, that really got our attention," Joan stressed. "We thought: ‘What about our country? If this was what the Lord was asking St. Faustina to do for Poland, we ought to pray for our country the same way.’"
So Divine Mercy for America was launched.
The Maroneys worked directly under Marian Father Kazimierz Chwalek, provincial superior of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy Province.
The first aspect of Divine Mercy for America is nurturing personal holiness. "We must make sure we are better Catholics today than yesterday and better Catholics tomorrow than we are today," Joan Maroney said.
Among many simple ways to nurture personal holiness: living with childlike trust in God and having mercy toward others, reflecting on the mysteries of the Rosary, Eucharistic adoration, frequent confession and meditation on Christ’s Passion.
The second aspect is praying the way Jesus and Mary asked of St. Faustina. Individuals, families and parish groups can easily choose the first nine days of each month to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy as a novena. That would also include the First Fridays and Saturdays. The group offers a Holy Hour card with the Litany of the Saints and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
Bishop Rene Henry Gracida, bishop emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas, composed an intercessory prayer for this campaign.
"I was very pleased when Dave and Joan Maroney asked me to write a prayer for their initiative, Divine Mercy for America, since I have known them for some years and have followed with great appreciation the ministry they perform so heroically in the service of the Divine Mercy of our Lord, Jesus Christ," he told the Register.
"In the prayer, I wanted to place before the Divine Mercy some of the more burning issues that face not only Catholics, but indeed all men and women of our great nation. Humanly speaking, there is only so much that we can do to resist the forces of evil seeking to destroy our nation. We must turn to the Divine Mercy of Jesus Christ."
Bishop Gracida’s "Prayer for Divine Mercy for America" reads: "May Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas, protect and guide the Divine Mercy for America Campaign to help bring about the re-Christianization of our nation — one that respects the dignity of all life, upholds the sanctity of traditional marriage and families and eliminates the threat to our religious freedom — for the glory of God and the salvation of souls."
Father Anthony Gramlich of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception and singer-songwriter Annie Karto are also supportive of the ministry and have joined the Maroneys for some parish and conference presentations of Divine Mercy in America.
Karto has loved the Divine Mercy devotion for a long time. "We’ve become complacent in our Catholic faith, and it needs to be strengthened so we can defend it and bring our country back to the morals our Founding Fathers envisioned for our country," Karto said. "This initiative comes at the perfect time."
"Our country definitely needs prayer, because secularism has taken over people’s lives, especially the young people," observed Father Gramlich. "We need the message of Divine Mercy within our families, schools and government. Everything else flows from there. I remember Jesus’ words to Faustina: ‘Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to my mercy’ (Diary, 300). John Paul II quoted those words a lot."
"I believe the message of Divine Mercy is at the heart of evangelization," Father Gramlich added. "If you can get a whole army to pray the Chaplet (of Divine Mercy) for the nation and for their loved ones, it will have a positive effect on the nation as a whole."
This message will be reiterated during Mercy Sunday weekend at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass., April 5-7 (Marian.org).
The Maroneys’ goal is to have 1 million American Catholics committed to this campaign, then to extend the campaign to other nations. Joan Maroney pointed out that St. Faustina averted the annihilation of Russia through prayer (Diary, 818). After all, the Divine Mercy Chaplet prays for "mercy upon us and on the whole world."
"We have a real purpose and reason to put this into practice," Maroney said. "John Paul II said there is nothing mankind needs more than Divine Mercy."
Pope Benedict XVI also emphasized the need for devotion to the Divine Mercy message. In a homily before the conclave that elected him, he said: "Jesus Christ is divine mercy in person: Encountering Christ means encountering the mercy of God."
After visiting St. Faustina’s convent, he reflected: "Sister Faustina Kowalska, contemplating the shining wounds of the risen Christ, received a message of trust for humanity which John Paul II echoed and interpreted and which really is a central message precisely for our time: mercy as God’s power, as a divine barrier against the evil of the world."
Joseph Pronechen is the
Register’s staff writer.