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April 20, 2017

Thousands expected to visit Stockbridge shrine on Divine Mercy Weekend, April 22-23

REGIONAL
Staff report

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DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY 2011 DVD 0127 FELIX CARROLL

(Photos by Felix Carroll/courtesy of the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy)

STOCKBRIDGE – More than 20,000 people are expected to attend the annual Divine Mercy Sunday Weekend festivities on April 22-23 at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, the home of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception.

The annual event, which occurs just weeks before the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, is hosted by the Marian Fathers, who have promoted the Divine Mercy message and devotion since 1941.

The principal celebrant for the Sunday liturgy will be Albany, N.Y., Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger. Bishop Scharfenberger is a friend of the Marian Fathers and a co-worker in the spread of the Divine Mercy message.

DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY 2011 DVD 0127 FELIX CARROLL

Mercy Sunday Mass 2011

A 2015 survey released by the Barna Grp., a polling group that tracks the role of faith in America, revealed that the Albany region was tied with San Francisco as the number one “post-Christian region” in the United States. In response to the secularism in his diocese, Bishop Scharfenberger encouraged parishes to consecrate themselves to the Blessed Mother that year.

Marian Father Michael Gaitley, helped with the effort and did a number of parish missions in the Diocese of Albany, based on his bestselling book on Marian consecration, 33 Days to Morning Glory.

“It was like a grace bomb was dropped on our diocese,” said Bishop Scharfenberger. By means of the consecration, which nearly 2 million people worldwide have made, Bishop Scharfenberger and many of his pastors said they witnessed a spiritual hunger that had hitherto remained hidden. Building on that momentum, in the summer of 2016, he invited his whole diocese to consecrate themselves to Divine Mercy for the extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, using Father Gaitley’s latest book, 33 Days to Merciful Love, as the launching pad for the evangelization effort.

A live international broadcast of the Marian Fathers’ solemn celebration of Divine Mercy will air on the EWTN Global Catholic Network beginning at noon Eastern time on Sunday, April 23, with a one-hour program preceding the celebration, hosted by Marian Fathers Joseph Roesch and  Chris Alar. The theme for this year’s program is the connection between the message and events of Fatima with Divine Mercy. May 13 of this year marks 100 years since the Blessed Virgin Mary first appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917.

The live broadcast will include these special guests:

  • Marian Father Donald Calloway, the vicar provincial and vocation director for the Mother of Mercy Province of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, as well as the author of nine books. His latest book, Champions of the Rosary: The History and Heroes of a Spiritual Weapon, is a Catholic bestseller. He also authored No Turning Back: A Witness to Mercy and Under the Mantle: Marian Thoughts from a 21st Century Priest. Father Calloway lives and works in Steubenville, Ohio.
  • Susan Conroy, author of the recently published Praying with Mother Teresa, which provides the reader with a glimpse into the spirituality of this contemporary saint. As a 21-year-old, Susan journeyed to Calcutta alone to help the Missionaries of Charity. She soon developed a personal friendship with Mother Teresa that lasted throughout the course of 11 years, until Mother Teresa died in [1997]. From Portland, Maine, Susan is the author of nine books. She’s a frequent guest on EWTN.

Divine Mercy-shrine

Throughout the weekend, the 350-acre shrine grounds are transformed into a small tent city, providing opportunities for confessions, adoration, and perusing the Divine Mercy Gift Shop. Both the Vigil Mass at 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 22, and the Sunday liturgy on April 23 will be celebrated on Eden Hill at the Mother of Mercy Outdoor Shrine. One of the highlights of the weekend will be the prayer banner composed of thousands of pieces of cloth with prayer intentions for Divine Mercy Sunday. Translators will also be on hand to provide assistance in Spanish, Polish, Italian, French, German, and Tagalog. In all, approximately 600 volunteers will assist with a myriad of responsibilities.

The Marian Fathers invite all to come to Eden Hill in Stockbridge to experience this annual celebration. Admission is free.

Online bus registration has closed, but private vehicles are welcome with no registration required. On-site parking for private vehicles is available on Saturday. Private vehicle parking on Sunday is available off-site with round-trip shuttle transportation. The GPS address to the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy is 74 Pine Street, Stockbridge, MA.

For more information on Divine Mercy Sunday, a universal feast day of the Catholic Church, visit TheDivineMercy.org/celebrate.