Marian Helper Fall 2023

A new provincial l St. Faustina’s incredible journey l EADM at 25 ‘Oh my God ... I have placed all my hope in You, and I know I shall not be disappointed’ (Diary, 317). Fall 2023 Inspiration and news from the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception Marian Helper THE LIGHT OF FAITH

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AMH Director/Publisher: Very Rev. Chris Alar, MIC — “Father Joseph, MIC” Executive Editor: Dr. Joe McAleer Designer: Andrew Leeco Writer, assistant editor: Chris Sparks AMH General Promoter: Br. Andrew R. Mączyński, MIC Vol. 80, No. 3 Fall 2023 THE LIGHT OF FAITH, RENEWED Mission Statement Marian Helper is intended to serve members of the Association of Marian Helpers (AMH), a spiritual benefit society of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The magazine seeks to provide spiritual nourishment, education about the Catholic faith, and information about the mission and good works of the Marians. It also provides information about Association services and presents opportunities to support the mission and good works of the Congregation. Marian Helper is published quarterly by the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. It is sent free of charge to active members of the Association. Printed in the USA with ecclesiastical approval. Copyright © 2023 Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M. All rights reserved. Send all correspondence to: Association of Marian Helpers, Editorial Dept., Eden Hill, Stockbridge, MA 01263. Email: [email protected] Website: The winds of change have brought good news to Eden Hill in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, provincial headquarters of the Marian Fathers and home to the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy. We have a newly elected provincial superior: the Very Rev. Chris Alar, MIC, bursting with enthusiasm and fresh ideas. We have two new priests, Fr. Timothy Childers, MIC, and Fr. Jason Lewis, MIC, both ready to serve God’s faithful. Our first-ever capital campaign is off to a roaring start, and we invite your participation! And pilgrims and conference attendees have returned to the National Shrine, making the pandemic drought a distant memory. 3 Father Joseph Writes 4 Marian Helpers in Action 6 Father Joseph’s Picks 7 Notes from Rome 17 New from Marian Press 31 Outstanding Helpers 33 Graces Received 36 From the Vaults Departments You may be surprised the next time you see a Marian priest or brother, explains Br. Jacob, MIC. The white habit returns School’s in. Church’s out? 22 What’s a parent to do when school activities intrude on Sunday? Scott L. Smith, Jr. has answers. 8 On Eden Hill 10 A new leader 13 Full steam ahead 14 Welcome, new priests! In a new biography, Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle admires the courage of the young Sr. Faustina. Saintly perseverance 18 Samoa hosted the fifth World Apostolic Congress on Mercy — and the Marians were there. An ocean of mercy 20 28 The Little Flower shows the way to Heaven 24 It’s the 150th anniversary of the birth of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, who proposed the “little way.” 16 ‘Carrying God with you’ A look back Dr. Bryan Thatcher reflects on 25 years of service by the Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy. 26

Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception The Marian Fathers are a Congregation of nearly 500 priests and brothers in 19 countries around the world. We support the Holy Father and embrace the official teachings of the Catholic Church in our special calling to: ● Spread devotion to Mary as the Immaculate Conception. ● Offer our lives for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, especially the victims of war and disease. ● Operate publishing apostolates and assist where the need is greatest in parishes, shrines, and missions. ● Promote the Divine Mercy message and devotion. ● Organize people of good will to work with and through us to bring Christ everywhere. Association of Marian Helpers — Join us! Established in 1944, the Association of Marian Helpers is a spiritual benefit society that prayerfully and financially supports the priests and brothers of the Congregation of Marian Fathers. Your enrollment means that, by a decree of the Holy See, you share in these graces: ● A daily Mass offered for all Marian Helpers. ● A share in the prayers, good works, and merits of the Marian priests and brothers around the world. ● A special Mass offered on feast days of our Savior and His Blessed Mother. ● A monthly Mass on each First Friday and each First Saturday. ● A Mass offered for deceased members on All Souls’ Day. ● The perpetual Novena to the Divine Mercy. l Deepen your commitment of prayer and support by joining one of our three spiritually nourishing prayer clubs: l Support a particular ministry: l Create a memorial or tribute: l Arrange a special gift of stock, a qualified charitable distribution from your IRA, a grant from your donor-advised fund, a gift through your will or trust, or annuity: Call 1-800-671-2020 to make a gift by phone or for assistance. Free online help for your will, visit A sample form of bequest to the Marians is: I give and bequeath to the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M. (Tax ID #20-8599030), Stockbridge, MA 01262, ____% of my adjusted gross estate (or $_______, or a specific asset) to be used for its religious and educational purposes. Marian Helpers Center Stockbridge, Massachusetts Headquarters and publishing center for the Association of Marian Helpers. 1-800-462-7426 National Shrine of The Divine Mercy (413) 298-3931 For pilgrimages: (413) 298-1119 Mercy Apostolates Learn about our lay ministries: Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy Dr. Bryan Thatcher 1-877-380-0727 Healthcare Professionals for Divine Mercy Marie Romagnano, MSN, RN, CCM John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy Dr. Robert Stackpole 1-866-895-3236 Mother of Mercy Messengers Joan and Dave Maroney 1-830-634-7765 Evangelization Team Invite the Marians to speak at your parish. (413) 298-1349 [email protected] Intercessory Prayerline Send us prayer intentions. 1-800-804-3823 Websites Who We Are Other ways to support God’s mission 2 Marian Helper • Fall 2023 • Sign-up is easy: Visit Visit

Father Joseph Writes But it does mean there will be changes coming, including a new Fr. Joseph. We’ll talk more about that and other changes in future issues. Suffice it to say that, for the present, I’m enjoying continuing to meet you in person as you come on pilgrimage to the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy; I’m always glad to meet new and long-time Marian Helpers at conferences, at the World Apostolic Congress on Mercy (WACOM), and as I’ve continued to meet existing obligations for travel. I may be spending a lot less time on the road in the months and years to come, I’m afraid, but again, more on that in future issues of the magazine. As you’ll see in the pages of the present issue, the Marian Family is in a good and challenging place. We’re welcoming new priests to the ranks, including Fr. Timothy Childers, MIC, and Fr. Jason Lewis, MIC; we’re continuing our capital campaign to fully fund and break ground on our new monastery here in Stockbridge, Massachusetts; we’re reaching farther than ever before with our livestreams, my Saturday “Explaining the Faith” talks, our EWTN show “Living Divine Mercy,” our websites, and other forms of media — we’re serving Christ and His Church in huge and important ways. But of course with all this, we confront challenges that we could not overcome without the steadfast prayers and support of our Marian Helpers. That means you. Through your intercession and support of the Marian Fathers, you are on the front lines of the New Evangelization, confronting the culture of death with us, spreading a culture of life, and helping pave the way for the advent of the civilization of love. Through your participation in our First Friday and First Saturday devotions, you obtain the promises given us by Jesus and Mary about the Sacred and Immaculate Heart devotions — truly, these are the answers to the evils of our present age. Through your steadfast promotion and practice of the Divine Mercy message and devotion; of devotion to the Immaculate Conception; of offering prayer and suffrages for the Holy Souls in Purgatory; and of serving the Church where the need is greatest — you participate in some of the greatest works of the Church in the world today. As St. Faustina wrote in her Diary, shown on our cover: “Oh my God, my only hope, I have placed all my hope in You, and I know I shall not be disappointed” (317). Let us press on, persisting in our prayers and our work. The rays of Divine Mercy shine in the darkness. Christ is our Light. Keep your eyes fixed on Him amidst the gathering darkness, and be not afraid. Our Lady wraps her mantle around us all, and St. Joseph watches over us, a terror to the demons. May God bless you. There I was, the interim Provincial Superior. Now I am the official one, voted in for a six-year term! It’s a blessing and a burden all at once, of course. I’m honored by the trust my Marian brethren have put in me, and conscious that I can only bear this burden well by the grace of God and through your prayers. Please pray for me. Pray that I may be a father to my province, a good brother to my fellow Marians, and responsive to the will of God for myself and for the province over the next six years. MOVING FORWARD, TOGETHER “Father Joseph, MIC,” is the honorary title of the director of the Association of Marian Helpers. The current director is the Very Rev. Chris Alar, MIC, Provincial Superior of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy Province in the United States and Argentina. Marian Helper • Fall 2023 • 3

Marian Helpers in Action Marian Helpers Lou Betro (center) and his wife Ann (third from left) faithfully pray the Seven Sorrows Rosary with a group of friends every Wednesday at noon at St. Pius X Parish in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho. Livestream love By Maria V. Gallagher You could call Idaho resident Louis Betro a Marian Fathers “super fan.” A devoted viewer of the livestream of the Marians’ daily Mass, Lou rises each morning by 6 a.m. Pacific Time to participate in the online Liturgy. If he lacks the time to view the entire Mass, he makes sure he catches the homily. “The Marian Fathers,” Lou says, “make me feel like I grew up with them. Father Chris Alar is amazing because he’s honest about his life growing up.” Lou feels such a connection with the priests he sees online that it’s as if he is only a few pews away from them during the sacred liturgy. “We need them because the world is in such chaos,” Lou states. He adds, “The Marians are special and will shine in our world and bring souls back to the Church.” 4 Marian Helper • Fall 2023 •

Praise and worship In addition, Lou and his wife, Ann, who live in Post Falls, attend Mass at a local church during the evening. There, they are able to end their day in praise and worship. Lou and Ann are devoted to Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and attribute many blessings to the practice. Lou feels quite close to the Holy Souls in Purgatory and offers his prayers for their happy repose. He also credits the Sacrament of Reconciliation with showering him with the graces necessary to live out his vocation as a husband and father. Lou and Ann also have a great devotion to the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows, a prayer which dates back to the Middle Ages but is best known for its association with the Marian apparition in Rwanda, where the Blessed Mother appeared under the title of Our Lady of Kibeho. The feast day of Our Lady of Sorrows is Sept. 15. The Seven Sorrows of Mary include: the prophecy of Simeon; the flight into Egypt; the loss of Jesus in the Temple; meeting Jesus on the way to Calvary; standing at the foot of the Cross; receiving the dead Body of Jesus; and placing Jesus’ Body in the tomb. Hospital ministry As Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, Lou and Ann have the privilege of bringing Jesus to hospital patients. Lou also connects them with the Marian Fathers, texting them a link to the daily Mass from Stockbridge, Massachusetts. When he ministers to the patients, sharing with them the Sacred Host and the inspirational messages of the Marians, he sees a noticeable change in them. It is as if they become illuminated with the light of Christ. Lou describes his life as filled with miracles. Born in Canada, he was adopted as a child and raised in the state of New York. He has since lived in many different states, including Connecticut, Arizona, and California. In each location, he has felt as if he is surrounded by the miraculous. Perhaps the biggest miracle of all for the couple was the adoption of their son, a boy with special needs. “That’s why I am against abortion totally,” Lou says. An active member of the Knights of Columbus, Lou cherishes and reveres the tremendous gift of human life. ‘Use me, God’ Lou has also opened himself up to wherever the Holy Spirit leads, offering to God the simple prayer, “Use me to draw people to the faith however You want to do it.” The dedicated Catholic also offers the following recommendation to people searching for ways to strengthen their faith. “If you can’t get to daily Mass, stop at a church during the week,” he says. “Go light a candle, and say a prayer.” As active Marian Helpers, Lou and Ann also hold within their hearts a desire for an in-person meeting with the Marian priests who have inspired them so. “If my wife and I ever get the chance to visit the National Shrine, we would love to be able to just sit and have a cup of coffee with Fr. Chris and all the priests! We feel their love on livestream!” A pamphlet on “The Rosary of the Seven Sorrows” (Product Code: B59-SORROW) and a Seven Sorrows Rosary (Product Code: B59-RTOL) are available now on Marian Livestreams Visit to watch live from the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts: Mass: 9 a.m. EST, daily Divine Mercy Chaplet: 3 p.m. EST, daily The Rosary: 5 p.m. EST, daily “Explaining the Faith” talks: 11 a.m. EST, Saturdays You can also watch the livestreams on our YouTube channel “Divine Mercy” — please like us and subscribe! A New Podcast Between now and All Souls’ Day, Nov. 2, join Fr. Thaddaeus Lancton, MIC, as he walks us through 90 different groups of Holy Souls in Purgatory in need of our prayers and suffrages. Since their founding by St. Stanislaus Papczynski in 1670, the Marian Fathers have had a charism of praying and offering suffrages for the faithful departed. Listen today on:

6 Marian Helper • Fall 2023 • Visit or call 1-800-462-7426. Father Joseph’s Picks Back to school the children go, and back to school we all should go, to grow ever deeper in our faith. Here are some great resources to help you do that. By Jacqueline St. Clare When Esther falls in love with Lazarus of Bethany, she thinks that her role as a woman will be complete with their marriage and children. This extraordinary first novel is a sweeping saga of first-century Palestine and the life of Jesus of Nazareth, as seen through the bright green eyes of His fictional cousin, Esther. You may know the Gospel story and how it ends, but you will be enthralled seeing the power and the glory unfold anew, Through Esther’s Eyes. $17.95. B59-TEBK THROUGH ESTHER’S EYES By Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC; illustrated by Sam Estrada How much do you know about St. Joseph? Consider: He had royal blood; was a young man when he married Mary; was a wonderful father to Jesus; was the brave and steadfast protector of the Holy Family; is a model of manhood; has worked many miracles; and is a powerful intercessor for us. In this illustrated graphic novel, join Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, as he tells the inspiring story of St. Joseph, our spiritual father and the “Terror of Demons.” $22.95. B59-JOEG THE CHASTE HEART OF ST. JOSEPH: A GRAPHIC NOVEL Author Sara Beth Meyer and illustrator Allison Hsu, both working mothers, perfect a format and design created in their first book, The Gospel of Matthew for Little Ones. In The Gospel of Mark for Little Ones, readers of all ages are invited to journey with Jesus from the Baptism in the Jordan to the Resurrection on Easter morning. Told in delightful rhyming stanzas and beautiful watercolor illustrations, the Gospel message comes alive and remains Good News for all to enjoy. $19.95. B59-MRKB THE GOSPEL OF MARK FOR LITTLE ONES By Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle orn Helena Kowalska, a simple Polish peasant farm girl at the dawn of the 20th century, Faustina was chosen by God to teach the world about His unfathomable Divine Mercy. She went on to become one of the world’s most popular saints. Befriend this lovable, down-to-earth saint through the work of celebrated author Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, a Faustinian researcher and master storyteller, who presents St. Faustina’s life in this page-turning novel for all ages. $15.95. B59-UNST DIARY OF A FUTURE SAINT: FAUSTINA’S INCREDIBLE JOURNEY By Sara Beth Meyer, MTh; Illustrated by Allison Hsu, MD NEW! NEW! NEW! NEW!

Notes from Rome By the Most Rev. Joe Roesch, MIC Here is Fr. Joseph’s story, in his own words: “On Sept. 8, 1988, I became the first-born in a Catholic family that would grow to four boys and two girls. My father died when I was 10, while my beloved mother died two years before my ordination to the priesthood in 2016. “In my culture, it is said that ‘the firstborn son equals his father!’ In the absence of his father, the eldest son assumes the father’s responsibilities. He is culturally obliged to get married to assure the continuation of the family line by providing descendants. Many thanks to my family who encouraged me to follow the path of God’s will instead of turning away from it. “After my first Communion, I became an altar boy. It occurred to me that I could become a priest. At the end of my primary school, with my mother’s encouragement, I applied to continue my education in a diocesan minor seminary. But then I thought about becoming a journalist to help people to know the truth. I was disgusted with what had happened in my country prior to the genocide of 1994, especially with journalists who made the situation worse by telling lies to people. I wanted to help cleanse this shame by spreading the message of truth to the Rwandan people. “But then my best friend persuaded me to not give up on my first wish. ‘There is no journalist who is heard more than a priest,’ he said. ‘A priest is a journalist of Christ.’ I prayed to discover God’s will for my life. Eventually, I joined the Marian Fathers. I am very happy to be part of this Congregation that constantly helps me to improve my relationship with God and neighbor, to contemplate the truth in Jesus, and to become His messenger in society. “I was ordained on July 15, 2018. I have experienced in my ministry the misery of a people who need to be listened to, consoled, healed, and reconciled with themselves and their history by giving themselves a second chance. The great challenge here is to get people to trust in the man of God, ‘the priest,’ in a society torn apart by ethnic ideology. “Our Congregation is for me a fountain full of grace that I discover daily. I am happy to be transformed by our charism which shows me the way to fulfill the will of God in my life and invites me to fulfill it together with my brothers in community life. “I came to Rome in June 2022 to study Mariology. This subject allows me to learn more about Mary, who is very close to us as a Marian congregation. It is also a heavenly answer to my desire to delve deeper into the message of Mary’s apparitions at Kibeho in Rwanda. Like the Mother of the Word, I want to see her message proclaimed to the whole world.” Our Lady of Kibeho, pray for us and for new vocations to our Congregation! A FOUNTAIN FULL OF GRACE In this issue, I would like you to meet Fr. Joseph Mukasa Musoni, MIC, a Marian from Rwanda. The Marians established their Rwandan mission in 1984. Among the places we serve is Kibeho, the site of the first fully approved Marian apparitions in Africa. Our apostolate concentrates its work on formation of the young people, the spreading of Marian spirituality, and working for peace and reconciliation through helping victims of the fratricide. The Most Rev. Joe Roesch, MIC, is the superior general of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. He lives in Rome. Listen to his podcasts, including “Saint Faustina’s Diary in a Year,” on and Marian Helper • Fall 2023 • 7 Father Joseph Mukasa Musoni, MIC, shares about his walk with the Lord.

8 Marian Helper • Fall 2023 • Two new statues now grace Eden Hill. At left, located just beyond the statue of our Marian founder, St. Stanislaus Papcyzński, is his eighth successor as superior general, Ven. Servant of God Casimir Wyszynski (1700-1755). We remember him as a Marian missionary who expanded the Order, founding our first monastery in Portugal. At right, a beautiful addition to the Holy Family Shrine is this statue of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to her cousin, Elizabeth, with Jesus and John the Baptist in their respective wombs. This was a gift of John Kliska of Simsbury, Connecticut, in honor of his wife Joan and their children: Jennifer, Jeffrey, and Julie. ON EDEN HILL The annual Filipino Day at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy was held on June 17, the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The rainy day did not dampen the spirit and enthusiasm of hundreds of pilgrims who gathered for Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, Rosary, Confession, and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

On a picture-perfect Saturday, Aug. 5, 6,000 Latino pilgrims gathered for “Encuentro,” the annual celebration of faith and family. In addition to testimonial talks, Mass, Confessions, Eucharistic Adoration, and a Rosary procession, pilgrims enjoyed great food, ethnic folk dancing, music, and even piñatas. “This was our 18th year, and I think it was one of our best,” says Magaly Lopez, who has organized Encuentro since the beginning. Sister Teresa de la Fuente of the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, St. Faustina’s order, journeyed from Lakeville, Massachusetts, and greeted Shrine Rector, Fr. Matthew Tomeny, MIC, and Fr. Kaz Chwalek, MIC. Mass at the Mother of Mercy Outdoor Shrine was celebrated by Fr. Diego Maximino, MIC. Encuentro Latino celebration

10 Marian Helper • Fall 2023 • A native of Monroe, Michigan, Fr. Chris, 54, was ordained to the priesthood in 2014. Since then, he has served as the director of the Association of Marian Helpers (“Fr. Joseph”), and in July 2022 was named interim provincial superior. Marian Helper sat down with Fr. Chris to discuss the state of the province and his plans for the future. Were you surprised to be elected provincial superior? Surprised? More like shocked! I really wasn’t expecting it. In fact, I was so sure I would not be elected, I made a lot of plans for travel, conferences, and projects that I have had to now cancel. But I am humbled by the faith my fellow Marians have in me, and hope I am up to the job. What are your principal duties as provincial superior? The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy Province covers the U.S. and Argentina, with nearly 80 Marian priests and brothers. As superior, I have to make sure the province stays on track, doing God’s will spiritually, but also administratively. That covers everything from maintaining the spiritual health of my fellow Marians and making assignments, to A NEW LEADER On May 15, 2023, the members of the VII Provincial Chapter of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy Province, after hearing the results of the province-wide consultative vote, elected the Very Rev. Chris Alar, MIC, as the provincial superior, for a six-year term. The province turns to Fr. Chris Photo by Br. Mark Fanders, MIC The new Provincial Superior, the Very Rev. Chris Alar, MIC (center), and his provincial council: Fr. Thaddaeus Lancton, MIC; Fr. Mark Baron, MIC; the Very Rev. Donald Calloway, MIC; and Fr. Ken Dos Santos, MIC.

fundraising to expand our evangelization efforts, maintain our facilities and the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, and provide for the needs of the community. It’s a big job with a lot of moving parts, but I look forward to the challenge, and visiting our different houses around the country and in Argentina to see our ministry in action. What are your goals for the province? These are early days, but we’re really focused now on the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy so that, when pilgrims come here, they can expect a better pilgrimage experience. When I was a seminarian, I used to do talks and tours. We’re going to return to that. We want to open a Marian museum. We also want to reimagine the St. Faustina Center as a Welcome Center, so that when people arrive on Eden Hill, they will receive a proper orientation and understand who we are, the meaning of Divine Mercy, and the many places they will encounter at the National Shrine. It’s long overdue. I’m also making changes on the ministerial front, assigning more priests to do missions and retreats around the country. It’s not just about people coming to Stockbridge for Divine Mercy. We want to bring Divine Mercy to the people, wherever they may be. We’re going to restart the parish mission team that I created years ago with Fr. Dan Cambra, MIC. Changing assignments is never easy, and I know many people are sad to be losing their favorite Marian priest. I understand! What are your expectations of a Marian priest? I’m going to meet with every one of our priests and brothers on a regular basis, to work with them to find an apostolate and ministry, depending on their particular interests and where the needs are. My motto is, “Accommodate whenever possible; delegate when only absolutely necessary.” So if someone has a desire for teaching, or health care ministry, or even landscaping, I’ll try to accommodate their requests. Someone reminded me that I am now the father figure, and I have 80 sons to look after! But it’s truly an honor. So long as I ensure that my Marian brothers have the resources and tools they need, they will succeed. How has your experience as “Fr. Joseph, MIC,” prepared you for this new position? I was Fr. Joseph for almost 10 years, and the experience was invaluable. I learned everything about the Marians and our Marian Helpers who make our outreach possible, and that knowledge will serve me well as provincial. We were in heavy debt when I became Fr. Joseph, and I’m especially proud to say that now we are 100-percent debt-free, internal and external. Our evangelization efforts have expanded 10-fold, way beyond our foundational direct mail/e-mail and publishing operations, which remain vital to our ministry. The biggest leap has been in video and livestreams. Our weekly EWTN show, “Living Divine Mercy,” is now in its third season. We’ve done more than 100 original episodes, and they are broadcast all over the world. When I visited Ireland and Australia recently, people told me how much they love the show. Everyone said I was crazy to do a 90-minute “Explaining the Faith” talk on a Saturday morning. People won’t listen for more than three or four minutes, they said. Well, I’ve done more than 150 talks now, and only two of them have fewer than 50,000 views online. The top talk, on Ukraine and Russia, has more than 2 million! There’s such a hunger out there for knowledge of the faith and the truth. It really accelerated during the pandemic, and is stronger than ever. I love doing them — as I often say, I loved my time in the seminary, and enjoy bringing listeners “back to seminary” with me. I always laugh that, since God gave me a big mouth, I’m going to use it for Him! Now that you are provincial superior, will you continue the Saturday talks and EWTN show? Yes. People have responded so well. As long as I keep getting the feedback that says, “Please, Father, keep going,” we’ll keep going. We have a great team here, on the video and research side. And, luckily, I don’t require much sleep! Marian Helper • Fall 2023 • 11 ‘Someone reminded me I am now the father figure, with 80 sons to look after! But it’s truly an honor. If I ensure my Marian brothers have the resources and tools they need, they will succeed.’

You’ve been doing double duty as Fr. Joseph and interim provincial superior for over a year. Will you continue as Fr. Joseph? No. I will announce the new Fr. Joseph soon. He is a priest of deep faith and boundless energy and enthusiasm. I know he will be a good fit, and take us to even greater heights. What were your impressions of the World Apostolic Congress on Mercy in Samoa? The Congress was a profound reminder of the universal message of Divine Mercy and how it has spread to the far corners of the globe. The Samoan people are the happiest you’ve ever seen, full of joy in spite of having very little. I gave several Divine Mercy 101 talks to convey a basic understanding of Divine Mercy, as expressed by our beloved Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, and Dr. Robert Stackpole. I also got to meet the Archbishop of Vilnius, who wants the Marians to be actively helping him in his diocese, which is very good. Over the summer I gave a retreat to 850 bishops and priests in the Philippines. [Watch for photos and story in the next Marian Helper.] Filipinos are devoted to the message of Divine Mercy, so I am hoping to bring some new perspectives and ideas on how to deepen the devotion, particularly in a parish setting. I always say that the spark of Divine Mercy came from Poland, as Jesus said, but the Filipinos are the ones fanning that spark, especially the Filipino women. I truly believe there are two chosen people in a special way today: the Poles and the Filipinos. And we must pray very hard for both, as the devil is hard at work. Priests Father Chris’ epic tour of Australia included Eucharistic Adoration, Mass, talks on Divine Mercy, and meeting the faithful, asking God’s blessings. In his first visit to Australia, hosted by Divine Mercy Publications and Parousia Media, Fr. Chris crisscrossed the continent May 27-June 4, preaching at a dozen churches in six cities, including Our Lady of the Angels in Rouse Hill, outside Sydney. Photos by Anna Nuzzo 12 Marian Helper • Fall 2023 •

Marian Helper • Fall 2023 • 13 As announced in the last issue of Marian Helper, the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception have launched their first-ever capital campaign, “Together for Christ and His Church,” to build a monastery and chapel on a vacant tract of land at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, atop Eden Hill in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. “The enthusiasm of the Marian Helpers to support our Marian Fathers has been extraordinary!” says Ben Davis, director of mission advancement. “So many have stepped forward to help, all with prayerful gifts to accomplish a long-term solution to our housing needs on Eden Hill. Many donors have made second or third gifts to ensure we can move forward next year without delay, and we are confident many more will join the effort to reach the goal in the months ahead. Thank you, Marian Helpers!” Blessed to help The Congregation has been making do for decades, housing men in buildings scattered across Eden Hill, but that’s not how you guarantee a healthy community life in a religious order. Of course, as they’ve grown, the situation has only become more unsustainable. “We feel very blessed to help!” say Josie and John DeStefano, Marian Helpers from Huntington, New York. “We love the Marians, and love visiting Eden Hill. We’re excited to help the Marians expand and provide the community the opportunity to come together in this special way.” “We enthusiastically support the Campaign because the Marians are bulging at the seams with new priestly candidates, as opposed to so many parishes that have merged due to lack of priests!” add Kathy and Larry Bolanowski from Essex, Connecticut. As Marian Helper went to press, the Campaign has commitments exceeding 90 percent of the goal, with gifts in hand at 73 percent of goal. “More than 9,000 donors have participated with gifts of every size,” Davis reports. “With just $3 million remaining, we hope to meet our goal by the end of this year.” “Our vocations boom has been made possible by the grace of God and the prayers, as well as the support, from Marian Helpers like you,” says the Very Rev. Chris Alar, MIC, provincial superior. “Your generosity so far has been outstanding — but there’s still a ways to go. Please join us!” Visit to follow our progress and participate in the campaign. are under attack in Poland, and the Philippines is facing a growing threat from China. There’s a lot going on right now, but when you are a follower of Christ, you’re always going to face persecution of some kind. Tell us about the plans to build a new Marian monastery and chapel at the National Shrine. This is so exciting. It’s our first-ever capital campaign, and the response has been overwhelming, and deeply humbling. To date, we’ve raised more than $25.5 million. We hope to break ground next year, and complete construction in 2025. We have not yet met our fundraising goal, so I invite all of our Marian Helpers to participate, as their hearts and means allow. This is the realization of a long-held dream and an absolute necessity. It will solve the very happy housing “problem” that we Marians have. We’re bursting with new vocations, the very future of our Church. The new monastery and chapel will allow our seminarians to live in community with the Marian priests and brothers, and experience the true religious way of life. We invite you to participate in the campaign to build a new monastery and chapel at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy. Visit Full steam ahead!

Photos by Melanie Williams On July 8, Fr. Timothy John Childers, MIC (center), was ordained to the priesthood for the Marian Fathers at St. Stephen Church in Riverview, Florida. The Mass was celebrated by the Most Rev. Martin D. Holley, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Memphis, Tennessee and a vir aggregatus (associate member) with the Congregation. Father Timothy greets his proud parents, Jennifer and Michael Childers. “It is my prayer that you will consecrate yourself to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the Divine Merciful Heart of Jesus,” Bishop Holley told Deacon Timothy. “Go out in the world and proclaim the Truth, for only the Truth will set us free.” Photo by Giuseppe Mignano Father Timothy celebrated his first Mass at St. Stephen’s on July 9. Father Allen Alexander, MIC (at right), delivered the homily. Father Timothy Childers, MIC WELCOME NEW PRIESTS! 14 Marian Helper • Fall 2023 •

Marian Helper • Fall 2023 • 15 Father Jason Lewis, MIC The second priesthood ordination of the summer was held on Aug. 12 at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, when Dcn. Jason Lewis, MIC, was ordained by the Most. Rev. William Byrne of the Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts. Acknowledging the Lewis family, especially Dcn. Jason’s parents, Joyce and Larry, Bishop Byrne said, “As happy as you are today, there's someone who is even happier: the Blessed Mother, for her son Jason will join her Son Jesus in the priesthood.” “You are being ordained to bring peace and joy to the world through the proclamation of the Word and the administration of the Sacraments,” Bishop Byrne said in his homily. “Strive to bring the faithful into one family so you can lead them to God the Father and the Holy Spirit. Seek out the lost sheep.” During his first Mass celebrated at the National Shrine on Aug. 13, Fr. Jason used the chalices of two beloved departed Marian priests, Fr. Mark Garrow, MIC, and Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC. Photos by Br. Mark Fanders, MIC, & Giuseppe Mignano

16 Marian Helper • Fall 2023 • ACatholic response to gender ideology. End of life issues. Treating patients mercifully, with dignity. These and many other of the biggest issues facing the Church and the world today were discussed by scholars and medical experts at the 18th annual Divine Mercy Medicine, Bioethics, and Spirituality Conference, held June 7-9 on the grounds of the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Organized by the Marian Fathers’ apostolate Healthcare Professionals for Divine Mercy, the conference is a place where faith and reason meet and mutually enrich each other. Stronger together That’s what brought Paul O’Connor, a physician’s assistant practicing in Maine, to the conference. He explained that he thought this sort of conference is necessary “because all of us, no matter how strong our faith is, are stronger together.” “Anytime you can carry God with you throughout the day, especially amongst colleagues,” he explained, “there’s more strength” and less chance of emotional burnout. Appropriate, since this year’s theme was “Fortitude — A Virtue for Healthcare Professionals.” Fortitude, the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good, is definitely needed at the bedside of the sick and dying. Expert disciples Participants were present both virtually by livestream and in person, gathering from more than 34 states and five countries, drawn by the important formation in both spiritual care for their patients and in best practices in healthcare. Continuing education credits were available to conference participants. Speakers dealt with a range of topics both spiritual and medical. The experts included Dr. George Delgado, the man behind the revolutionary abortion pill reversal; Bishop Robert McManus, DD, STD, of the Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts; the Very Rev. Chris Alar, MIC, provincial superior of the Marian Fathers; and a long-time friend and collaborator with the Healthcare Professionals’ work in Ukraine: Kristin Robinson, Kansas City executive director, Project C.U.R.E./Franciscan Mission Warehouse. Aid to Ukraine Kristin explained that, from 1985-2020, Sr. Andrea Kantner, OSF, founder of the Franciscan Mission Warehouse, and Dr. Bryan Thatcher, Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy (EADM) founder, worked together to send containers around the world with medical and other supplies to people in need. In 2020, Franciscan Mission Warehouse merged with Project C.U.R.E., which had been founded in 1987 to address the staggering shortage of medical resources around the world. Since its humble beginnings in a garage in Colorado, Project C.U.R.E. has become the world’s largest distributor of donated medical supplies, equipment, and services to doctors and nurses serving the sick and dying in more than 135 countries. Please visit to make a donation for Ukraine relief. One-hundred percent of funds received are sent directly to those in need through our Marian priests in Ukraine and Poland. Because shipping via container is more cost effective, monetary donations are preferred rather than sending medical supplies. Please know that boxes previously sent to the Marians or the EADM office were sent to Project C.U.R.E., and will be on future containers. Visit to learn more about past conferences or to become a member of the Healthcare Professionals for Divine Mercy. ‘Carrying God with you’ By Chris Sparks Healthcare Professionals tackle hot-button issues

Marian Helper • Fall 2023 • 17 Iwas so young when Jesus and I first met, and the two of us lived in the same house for so long, that it felt like He was always a part of my family. Jesus, His father Joseph, and mother Mary were originally from Nazareth but lived several years in Egypt before returning to their home village. Which they did when I was 5. Jesus and I were the same age. He was my closest friend. I glanced at Aunt Mary working quietly behind us, drying out roasted chickpeas about three hands from the bedrock wall. Close to her was the awning of the carpenter shop. Between the shop and the traklin was Aunt Miriam’s prized aloe plant. Aunt Mary hardly spoke to anyone and few spoke to her, especially not Ima. Catching me watching her, Aunt Mary smiled. I just stared back at her, blowing up my cheeks with air. Her eyelashes swept the tips of her cheekbones as she arranged the roasted chickpeas on a tray. She sat on her heels, and her brown face was framed by a cream-colored veil that was tied tightly down her back. “Ima!” Little Jesus hurried over to Aunt Mary from under the awning of the carpenter shop, which took up nearly a fourth of the small courtyard on the west wall. Jesus squeezed behind one of our wandering chickens to get to Aunt Mary. Mother and son’s faces were eye level. Jesus presented a small block of wood to His mother. “It is finished,” He said. “It is finished,” Aunt Mary said, accepting the block of wood from Jesus so she might admire it. She placed a light hand on Jesus’ shoulder, covered by His shapeless, stonetoned tunic. “You will show Abba your work when he comes home. He will be well pleased with you, my son.” She returned the wood to Jesus. “Esther, did you see?” Jesus turned toward me. I left my post by my mother to go to Him, meeting in the center of the courtyard. “Feel how smooth it is!” Uncle Joseph had begun to assign small tasks to Jesus to train Him whenever He returned home from studying at the synagogue, in the early afternoon. I held the piece of wood to my cheek, making a sound of awe. Jesus laughed, delighted by my appreciation. His hair, which was a dark, burnished color — almost the shade of a walnut — shot up from all directions. When there was more sunlight, his hair would even have hints of auburn in it. There was something forthright about His face. Plain, but not to the point of being artless. “That is lamb I smell, is it not?” Uncle Joseph’s voice carried into the courtyard. I turned around. “Abba!” Jesus cried. “Show Uncle Joseph, Jesus!” I returned the wood to Him. Jesus happily gave the wood to His father. Uncle Joseph had large, rough hands, just like my abba and Uncle Clopas. I thought that Uncle Joseph looked much more like Abba than Uncle Clopas did. Joseph had the same inky black hair and small beard as Abba, but hints of gray dotted Uncle Joseph’s hairs. His arms could stretch to the length of an ox’s yoke. Turning the wood in his hands, Uncle Joseph looked at his son. “Well done, Jesus. You are a natural at sanding.” “It once was coarse, but now it is smooth!” Jesus exclaimed, gazing eagerly at His father. “And it is the same piece of wood,” Uncle Joseph said, “But with the hand of a carpenter, the same wood can shift from hard to soft.” “My Father in Heaven does that,” Jesus said, gazing upward at Uncle Joseph. “He wants to take hearts of stone and make them hearts of flesh!” “The prophet Ezekiel,” Uncle Joseph said slowly with a grin. He gazed proudly at Jesus. “Has Rabbi already been reading the prophet’s writings to you?” He rustled his son’s hair. Jesus and me By Jacqueline St. Clare New from Marian Press Editor’s note: Marian Press is proud to publish an extraordinary first novel about Esther, who grows up alongside her “cousin” Jesus and His extended family, observing His “hidden” years and His public ministry, leading to the Passion. Here is an excerpt. To order Through Esther's Eyes (Product Code: B59-TEBK) visit or call 1-800-462-7426.

Saintly perseverance Illustration by Michael Ornido

Marian Helper • Fall 2023 • 19 Religious life was not just handed to Helena Kowalska (the future St. Faustina) on a silver platter. As we know, she had to fight for it. At first, she thought she had entered “Paradise” when finally stepping freely into the convent of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Warsaw, Poland, in 1925. She was just 20 years old. But truth be told, convent life for Helena was not a bowl of cherries. In addition to hard work and perseverance to get into the convent, other difficulties were in store for Helena — ones she never imagined. There would be humiliations, contradictions, criticisms, and more suffering on the horizon. One evening after dinner, Helena thought she’d surely die of shame. A certain Sr. Marcianna Oswiecimska, who was the cook at the time, became very irritated with Helena. She asked Helena to wash the dishes after dinner. Helena was happy to oblige. She never minded helping. In fact, she was eager to help and knew that when she was obedient, she was pleasing Jesus. She always tried to do all of her work as well as she possibly could in order to be extra pleasing to God. Helena’s surprise As she washed the dishes, some sisters came in late for dinner, and Helena set down her dish cloth to serve dinner to them. She then went back to the dirty dishes in the sink. We can imagine Helena’s surprise when Sr. Marcianna walked in and suddenly gave her a strange penance for not washing the dishes as quickly as she had expected her to do. Perhaps “shock” is a better word. Here’s what happened: Sister Marcianna returned to the kitchen and observed that the dishes were not all washed. She ordered Helena to sit on a kitchen table. That’s correct — it was on a table. The sister cook told her it was a penance for not finishing the job. Well, that was a hard enough punishment to just sit there, not able to help, while Sr. Marcianna was at the sink scrubbing away. But on top of that embarrassing punishment, Helena was not allowed to talk or defend herself. She was ordered to just sit there quietly! This was so difficult because other sisters came into the kitchen when Helena was sitting atop the table! Add to that, they saw Sr. Marcianna doing the dishes! Doesn’t seem fair, does it? It was excruciating for the young postulant to bear the embarrassment. She was unfairly punished and also criticized. In that moment, she might have reminisced about her family life back home and how her parents had never treated her or her siblings unfairly. Yet ironically, in religious life, a time meant to grow close to God, unthinkable things occurred. About eight years later, Helena recalled the daunting experience of Sr. Marcianna getting upset with her and ordering her to sit on the table while she did the dishes herself. Helena wrote: And while I was sitting there, the sisters came along and were astounded to find me sitting on the table, and each one had her say. One said that I was a loafer and another, “What an eccentric!” I was a postulant at the time. Others said, “What kind of sister will she make?” Still, I could not get down because Sister had ordered me to sit there by virtue of obedience until she told me to get down. Truly, God alone knows how many acts of self-denial it took. I thought I’d die of shame (Diary of St. Faustina, 151). Helena later pondered, “God often allowed such things for the sake of my inner formation, but He compensated me for this humiliation by a great consolation.” It was at Benediction when she was blessed with Jesus’ profound words. Helena recalled that she saw “Him in great beauty.” She wrote, “Jesus looked at me kindly and said, My daughter, do not be afraid of sufferings; I am with you.” Profound peace We can only imagine the profound peace that entered her soul because of Jesus’ words. In time, Helena came to know that Jesus allowed her to experience certain sufferings and humiliations in order for her to grow in holiness as He lovingly burnished her heart and soul as a metalsmith did to shape, forge, and perfect a precious metal. Jesus desired that Helena turn to Him during such times. As difficult as it was for Helena to receive Sr. Marcianna’s punishment that day, the young postulant certainly turned to Jesus and made what she called “many acts of self-denial.” She continued to offer the humiliation up to Jesus, asking for His help. Helena grew to accept her sufferings as gifts from God. Jesus later taught her that meditating upon His suffering during His Passion would advance her in holiness. It’s the same for all of us. Visit to order Diary of a Future Saint: Faustina’s Incredible Journey (Product Code B59-UNST). We invite you to send us your intentions for the St. Faustina Novena. Visit Editor’s note: As we anticipate the feast day of St. Faustina on Oct. 5, we share here an excerpt from Diary of a Future Saint: Faustina’s Incredible Journey, an exciting new illustrated biography by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, just published by Marian Press and intended for all ages.

20 Marian Helper • Fall 2023 • “Your life may be the only Gospel some people read,” the Very Rev. Chris Alar, MIC, told the Fifth World Apostolic Congress on Mercy (WACOM5), convened in Samoa from May 20-26, 2023. “They’re not going to pick up the Bible, but they’re going to see you. They’re going to hear you. That makes living the message and devotion of Divine Mercy all the more important for our times.” A first for Oceania From the Americas and Europe to the countries of the Pacific Rim, Divine Mercy devotees gathered at WACOM5 for prayer, fellowship, and formation based around the theme “Divine Mercy: The Ocean of Love that Envelops the Whole World.” The deputy prime minister of Samoa, Tuala Iosefo Ponifasio, welcomed all the delegates on behalf of the government and people of Samoa, an island nation 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii. “We noticed that the last three hosts of WACOM were countries with larger economies and resources: Poland in 2011, Colombia in 2014, and the Philippines in 2017,” Ponifasio said, noting Samoa was the first country in Oceania to host WACOM. He offered “the warmest of Oceanic and Pacifica alofa’aga — an ocean of love, enveloping not only the delegates but the whole world. May His guiding arms lead, protect, and steer our ships/canoes, as we sail through this week and our respective journey back, as apostles of mercy, proclaiming and striving for perfection and His righteousness — leading the mission and movement of the Divine Mercy.” Speakers included Fr. Kazimierz Chwalek, MIC, who’d worked so closely with the late, great Fr. Seraphim An Ocean of Mercy By Chris Sparks Father Kazimierz Chwalek, MIC (center), at the closing Mass for the Fifth World Apostolic Congress on Mercy.