Blessed George Matulaitis Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska Venerable Servant of God Fr. Casimir Wyszynski Saint Pope John Paul II Introducing DivineMercyPlus.org l Pope Benedict XVI & Divine Mercy Marian.org Spring 2023 Inspiration and news from the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception Marian Martyrs Saint Stanislaus Papczyński MarianHelper TEAMMARIAN Getting reacquainted with the ‘stars’
Enroll a loved one today! 1-800-462-7426 l Marian.org/b57/eg Your offering helps support the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. B57-AE23 (Spot UV) All Year: Have your loved ones remembered in prayer from this Easter to the next. They will share in the spiritual benefits of the Holy Masses, prayers, and good works of the Marian priests and brothers. Send one of these cards to announce your gift. Three Masses on Easter: Send your loved ones these exclusive cards to announce that they will be remembered in the three Holy Masses on Easter at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy. B57-EG232 (Spot UV) There is no charge for us to send you these cards. An offering is requested when you use the cards. B57-EG231 (Gold Foiled) Share the Glorious Gift of Easter B57-EG233 (Gold Foiled)
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. 1 Spring 2023 TEAM MARIAN 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: Marian.org Consecrate your family! 18 As the celebration of the 350th anniversary of the founding of the Marian Fathers’ Congregation enters its final year, it’s a good time to get reacquainted with the “star” players on “Team Marian.” While not all members are consecrated Marians, each one has nonetheless played a pivotal role in our history, and each continues to be a wellspring of inspiration and grace. 3 Father Joseph Writes 4 Marian Helpers in Action 6 Father Joseph’s Picks 7 Notes from Rome 11 New from Marian Press 31 Outstanding Helpers 33 Graces Received 36 From the Vaults Departments There’s a new Marian website in town, Dr. Joe McAleer reports, and it’s about to become your favorite destination on the internet. Introducing DivineMercyPlus.org. A new way to stream 8 Are you a parent or grandparent fighting to bring your children to Christ and teach your children Truth? Entrust your family to St. Joseph, suggests Scott L. Smith, Jr. From Kharkiv, one of the hardest-hit cities in the ongoing war, the Marian Fathers express their gratitude to Marian Helpers for their continued generosity and prayers. Thank you from Ukraine 10 ‘Let merciful love shine’ 28 As the Church and faithful pray for the repose of the soul of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who died on Dec. 31, 2022, we remember him as a Pope of Divine Mercy. 12 A blacksmith’s son is our founding saint 14 All hail the ‘Holy Pole’ 16 Enter ‘The Renovator’ 20 The great Apostle of Divine Mercy 22 ‘A priest after My own Heart’ 24 Remember the martyrs 26 The Great Mercy Pope & Mary
Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception The Marian Fathers are a Congregation of nearly 500 priests and brothers in 18 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: Marian.org/clubs l Support a particular ministry: Marian.org/give l Create a memorial or tribute: MemorialsOnEdenHill.org 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 a charitable gift annuity: Marian.org/Planned-Giving Call 1-800-671-2020 to make a gift by phone or for assistance. To help you start or even complete your will for free online, visit Marian.org/will. 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 ShrineOfDivineMercy.org Mercy Apostolates Learn about our lay ministries. Marian.org/ministries 1-866-895-3236 Evangelization Team Invite the Marians to speak at your parish. (413) 298-1349 [email protected] Intercessory Prayerline Send us your prayer intentions. 1-800-804-3823 Marian.org/prayer Websites Marian.org TheDivineMercy.org ShopMercy.org DivineMercyPlus.org Who We Are Thank you for your support 2 Marian Helper • Spring 2023 • Marian.org Sign-up is easy: Visit MICPrayers.org Other ways to support God’s mission through us Visit marian.org/social
Father Joseph Writes Saint Paul was one of the first Christians to use sports metaphors to speak of our lives as Christians here on earth: Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win. Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. Thus I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing. No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified (I Cor 9:24-27). We’re playing for the trophy, for the “wreath” or halo, that shows that we’ve won. In the great game of life, victory means salvation. And while every Christian is playing for keeps against the other side, by reason of our charisms, we Marian Fathers and all our Marian Family are playing against the championship teams of the other side — the world, the flesh, and the devil. The Marian Family is serving Mary Immaculate, after all; we’re devoted to Christ and His Church; we’re promoting the Divine Mercy message and devotion, given by our Lord to St. Faustina to prepare the world for His final coming (see Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 429). We’re praying for the dying and the dead, snatching souls out of the very grasp of hell. All of this? This is the big time. All of this has huge ramifications for millions of souls and the future of civilizations. And you, through your prayers, your good works, and your support play a critical role in our success. Many souls depend on you! As we enter the final year of the jubilee celebration of the Marian Fathers, we all turn our attention to the theme “On the Charismatic Mission,” the path set before us by the charisms on which we are founded. In order to do that, in this issue of Marian Helper we offer you a refresher of the main “players” in the Marian story, great models of faith, works of mercy, and devotion to the central charisms of the Marian Fathers. Of course, not all these models, these great players in the game of life, are Marians, but they all support the “team” and its mission. They’re all part of our extended Marian Family, for we are first and foremost members of the Church, which is the household of God (see 1 Tim 3:15). We are all sons in the Son of God, all brothers and sisters through Adam and our Baptism. Let “Team Marian” inspire you this Lent to examine your life. How are you doing at living the Marian charisms yourself — serving Christ and His Church where the need is greatest, especially by practicing and promoting the Divine Mercy message and devotion; loving and sharing Mary Immaculate with those around you; interceding for the Holy Souls in Purgatory? What can you do better? Lent is a great time to make some good changes. That way, you’ll be better prepared than ever to out-hustle the competition and win the great game of life! Do you play for “Team Marian”? Are you an active, interceding, mercyworking Marian Helper? We Marian Fathers and Marian Helpers are playing in the Big Leagues, after all. There’s no better way to put it — especially now, with Major League Baseball’s spring training just around the corner. JOIN OUR ‘TEAM’! “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, interim Provincial Superior of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy Province in the United States and Argentina. Marian Helper • Spring 2023 • Marian.org 3
A few minutes past 3 p.m., the Hour of Mercy, Deborah had received a phone call from her father, Jerry Fedele, telling her he had just returned home and found Brian unconscious on the floor. Deborah rushed to her parents’ house, which was already crowded with paramedics and police. She dropped to her knees before her parents’ large Divine Mercy Image. “For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world,” Deborah repeated, as tireless in her prayers for her brother’s soul as the paramedics were in their fight to revive his body. Deborah and Brian’s mother, Cordy, did not yet know that the youngest of her nine children was about to be taken from this world. It was Wednesday, and every Wednesday afternoon, Cordy made a Holy Hour at her parish. As she prayed, Cordy felt prompted to make the Stations of the Cross for the intention of any dying souls whose salvation may be in danger. On her way home, she passed an ambulance and prayed for the person inside. ‘The pardon is the same’ Marian Helpers in Action It was over. The emergency responders and hospital staff had done all they could, but in the end, the Fedele family of Madison, Ohio, were faced with the heartbreaking truth that it was time to say goodbye to Brian. Before the ventilator was shut off at about 15 minutes before 6 p.m. on March 16, 2022, Brian’s older sister Deborah Crosby knelt by his bedside, repeating the words she had prayed countless times during the past three hours: “For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” 4 Marian Helper • Spring 2023 • Marian.org By Marian Friedrichs
She would find out later it was Brian. Caught in addiction’s snare When Brian Fedele died at 47 years old, he left behind two young sons, aged 10 and 11. Brian was a man who loved his family, fun, and music; relatives and friends remember his generous spirit and his beautiful singing voice. But addiction is not a respecter of persons. The most beloved and the most gifted can be caught in its snares. Not all of its captives find freedom in this life. After being injured in a car accident in 1999, Brian had been prescribed Percocet to help him manage his pain. He became addicted, started abusing oxycontin as well, and found a doctor who would continue to supply him with the drugs. When that doctor’s prescribing power became restricted, Brian turned to heroin. In time, Brian’s need for the substance consumed his life. He lost his job and, despite many attempts to gain new employment, never kept any subsequent work for long. In 2014, Brian’s wife left him; in 2018, he lost his home and moved in with his parents. In December 2021, Brian was sentenced to 60 days in jail for possession of illegal drugs. He would spend his last Christmas on earth behind bars. Brian finished his sentence determined to make a new start: to stay clean, hold down a job, and get his wife back. Brian went to Confession, started attending Mass again, and found work at the local Walmart. Jerry and Cordy were hopeful for their son’s recovery, but Deborah and her siblings suspected their brother was still not free. Brian no longer owned a vehicle, so he depended on his parents for transportation. On the morning of March 16, his mother took him grocery shopping and then dropped him off at the house before heading to church for her Holy Hour. After Cordy left, Brian took fentanyl — probably obtained from a drug dealer who told him it was heroin — and stopped breathing within seconds. Now, it was over. On the floor beside Brian’s hospital bed, Deborah begged for God’s mercy on her brother, about to stand before Him for judgment. Soon Deborah was joined by a priest, whom her sister-in-law had called. Brian was anointed, having made his last Confession only a few weeks earlier. When Brian’s soul finally departed this world, Deborah, her son, two of her brothers, a sister-inlaw, and Jerry were there, surrounding him with prayer and love. Jesus’ mercy had won Cordy, treasuring the memory of the last morning she had spent with her son, chose not to be in the hospital room. After Brian’s death, a fellow parishioner asked Cordy which of her sons had joined her at the Holy Hour on March 16. Cordy told the woman she had come to church alone that day, but when the parishioner saw Brian’s photo, she insisted she had seen a man who looked just like him, praying beside Cordy before the Blessed Sacrament that afternoon. It was over. But what was over? Not Brian’s life. No, it was the weary, years-long war against addiction that was over. It was any opportunity to fall again or to wander away from the Sacraments again that was over. The Fedele family is firmly devoted to the Divine Mercy. They know Jesus’ promises to St. Faustina: “At the hour of their death, I defend as My own glory every soul that will say this chaplet; or when others say it for a dying person, the pardon is the same” (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 811) and “The greater the sinner, the greater the right he has to My mercy” (Diary, 723). The fight was over. Jesus’ mercy had won. True to His promises, He had reached down, picked up the soul fallen in battle, and raised him up, free from the snare forever. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of the 107,375 people in the U.S. who died of drug overdoses in the year ending January 2022, 67 percent involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Learn more and find treatment options at FindTreatment.samhsa.gov True to His promises, Jesus had reached down, picked up the soul fallen in battle, and raised himup, free from the snare forever. NEED HELP? Are you struggling with an addiction? Do you know of someone struggling with addiction? You are not alone. This pamphlet explains precisely why you have reason for hope and how you can find healing. To view Fr. Chris Alar’s talk on addiction, please visit TheDivineMercy.org/addiction Order now: Visit ShopMercy.org/b57 or call 1-800-462-7426. B57-ADPF
Visit ShopMercy.org/b57 or call 1-800-462-7426. Father Joseph’s Picks As we endure the winter and welcome spring, we prepare for Easter with Lenten penance, especially through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Be generous; do a great work of mercy, and share your faith! Here are some treasures to share for a fruitful Lent and Easter. By Bl. Michael Sopoćko; edited and introduced by Dr. Robert Stackpole Avital part of the treasury of the Divine Mercy message and devotion, this edition of God is Mercy, a short work by St. Faustina’s confessor, Bl. Michael Sopoćko, introduces us to the place of Divine Mercy in salvation history. Enriched by Dr. Robert Stackpole’s expert commentary, this special edition of a Divine Mercy classic belongs on every Catholic’s shelf. $14.95. B57-SOPB GOD’S AMAZING MERCY: MEDITATIONS BY ST. FAUSTINA’S CONFESSOR AND SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR NEW! 6 Marian Helper • Spring 2023 • Marian.org In Lent, we are reminded that here on earth, we are on pilgrimage toward our heavenly home, traveling through a vale of tears. Journey to Mercy, the 2023 Lenten devotional from the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, will equip you to make your Lenten pilgrimage a truly transformative experience. Be strengthened and encouraged for your Lenten pilgrimage with these easy-to-read, short meditations for each day from Ash Wednesday through to Divine Mercy Sunday. $6.95. B57-LD23 JOURNEY TOMERCY: DAILY LENTEN MEDITATIONS FROM ASHWEDNESDAY THROUGH DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY, 2023 By Fr. Michael E. Gaitley, MIC The international bestseller 33 Days to Morning Glory is presented in a new expanded study edition designed specifically for group retreats. Supplementing the original text for each of the 33 days leading to Marian consecration are thoughtprovoking questions to answer and discuss in a group setting. This new volume also provides exclusive access to retreat videos posted on DivineMercyPlus.org, to enrich the consecration experience and encourage group discussion. Using 33 Days to Morning Glory: Group Retreat & Study Guide, readers will discover in a nurturing group setting that belonging completely to Mary is the quickest, easiest, and surest way to Jesus. $24.95. B57-3DRC3 33 DAYS TO MORNING GLORY: GROUP RETREAT & STUDY GUIDE NEW! NEW! In the midst of a world in chaos, Sara Beth Meyer felt a deep call to littleness and the joy of the Gospel. She approached Allison Hsu with the idea of creating The Gospel of Matthew for Little Ones. Their collaborative labor of love truly has been Good News! The Gospel of Matthew for Little Ones shares the Word of God in an inviting format: a vibrant illustration on the left, three stanzas on the right, and chapter notations in the right margin. $19.95. B57-GMLO THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW FOR LITTLE ONES
Notes from Rome By Fr. Joe Roesch, MIC Tell us about your background. I was born in 1981 in BetaréOya, a town in eastern Cameroon. The name is interesting. Germans, who created the map of Cameroon, asked the local people the name of the town. They thought they were asking where the king was, so they replied that he (Betaré) was sleeping (oya). My mother tongue is Gbaya, one of the 250 languages of Cameroon. The Virgin Mary is called “Mamma” in Cameroon. I greeted her every day with a “Hail Mary.” I lived near the Catholic parish, and served as an altar boy, lector, and member of a youth group. I loved soccer and animal husbandry. I wanted to become a doctor, but after high school, I felt a call to the religious life to take care of souls. Tell us about your Marian experience. My formation in the Marians took place in Rwanda and Cameroon, and I was ordained in 2010. I then served in our parish in Atok, and I was the diocesan chaplain for the same youth group that I had belonged to from 2009-2014. I then studied in Rome for two years and received a licentiate in spiritual theology. I completed an internship in Poland during which I studied Polish. My next experience was as the superior and rector of our House of Formation in Ngoya, Cameroon, for three years. I also taught the laity at the Catholic university there. What are you doing now in Rome? I have returned to Rome to complete my doctorate. My studies focus on spiritual theology, formation, and promoting vocations. I am writing my thesis on the transformation of the person through the charism. A charism is a gift of the Holy Spirit to a religious community to give the community its identity and purpose. Our charism is the living memory of the mystery of the Immaculate Conception. I am exploring how we can live our Marian charism authentically in Cameroon, so that we can become the spiritual leaders that God calls us to be. Can you tell us about the Marian ministry today in Cameroon? Our vicariate is in full bloom! We have five Polish missionaries, six Cameroonians in perpetual vows, and five students of philosophy and theology. We have three novices, six postulants, and 20 aspirants. Vocations are thriving. We work in a House of Formation, two parishes, and our Divine Mercy Shrine. We engage in works of evangelization; build chapels; and help children and adults through formation, various types of educational assistance, and getting them to the hospital for treatment. The Marian General Chapter, held every six years, is taking place in Rome in February. What are your thoughts of being a delegate for the first time? I am humbled by the responsibility and the expectations placed on me. It will be a joy to participate in the General Chapter with Marians from around the world. Pray for us. May the Virgin Mary’s Immaculate Conception be our protection and our salvation! THANK YOU, ‘MAMMA’ In this issue, we’ll meet Fr. Yves Oumarou, MIC, a Marian from Cameroon who is currently completing his doctorate at the Pontifical Salesian University here in Rome. The Marian mission to this west-central African nation began in 1999, and devotion to Divine Mercy is very popular there. Father Joe Roesch, MIC, is the vicar general of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. He lives in Rome. Listen to his new podcast, reading and reflecting on the journal of Blessed George Matulaitis- Matulewicz, on TheDivineMercy.org/podcasts and DivineMercyPlus.org. Marian Helper • Spring 2023 • Marian.org 7 Fr. Joe talks interviews Fr. Yves Oumarou, MIC from the country of Cameroon.
There’s a new website in town, and it’s about to become your favorite destination on the internet. Introducing DivineMercyPlus.org, the new streaming site for exclusive audio and video content produced by the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. “Our evangelical outreach as Marians has always included audio and video,” notes the Very Rev. Chris Alar, MIC, interim provincial, who also serves as “Father Joseph,” director of the Association of Marian Helpers. “During the pandemic, we really ramped up production, and the number of online viewers and listeners has been astonishing. Our livestreamed Masses, Rosaries, Chaplets, and Saturday talks alone have hundreds of thousands of faithful viewers around the world.” With a large output comes a large backlist, much of it hidden over the years within layers of webpages, often inaccessible, even forgotten. Therein lay the challenge. All in one place “We have a huge library and archive of awesome Catholic content, and it made sense to collect everything in one, easy-to-access place,” says Zeke Chichester, chief financial and marketing analyst and part of the large team that spearheaded the project. DivineMercyPlus.org has been in the works for two years. Gathering everything posted on Marian websites (including Marian.org and TheDivineMercy.org) and our YouTube A new way to stream By Dr. Joe McAleer 8 Marian Helper • Spring 2023 • Marian.org
Marian Helper • Spring 2023 • Marian.org 9 channel (Divine Mercy) was an enormous undertaking. “The overall mission was two-fold: organize everything in one place for easy access, and make everything searchable,” Chichester says. “I think viewers will be amazed at how much content there is, especially from past years.” DivineMercyPlus.org will stream daily Mass, the Rosary, and the Chaplet from the National Shrine, as well as Fr. Chris’ popular “Explaining the Faith” talks on Saturday mornings (11 a.m. EST). There are video series such as “Marians Around the World” and “A Pilgrimage to France,” hosted by the Very Rev. Joe Roesch, MIC. Users will also find “Minutes” with the late Fr. SeraphimMichalenko, MIC. There are landing pages for past episodes of “Living Divine Mercy,” the weekly program on EWTN, as well as the popular “Ask a Marian” shorts. Instructional videos and recordings on how to pray the Rosary, for example, are also posted. DivineMercyPlus.org is also podcast central, where you can listen to daily Mass homilies from the National Shrine, or one of the popular podcasts by Fr. Roesch, including “Saint Faustina’s Diary in a Year.” Premium content Themajority of videos and podcasts are free. But there is also premiumcontent, documentaries, feature films, spiritual nourishment programming, and series that will engage the whole famil.yThe site offers learning modules associated with Marian consecration, such as videos and bonus material that are part of the new Marian Press publication, 33 Days to Morning Glory: Group Retreat & Study Guide. New premium content will be continuously added to the site, some of it exclusive. Marian Press Productions and DivineMercyPlus.org are actively growing the streaming catalog, making available high-quality Catholic films and videos from top Catholic producers and directors. “By registering, you can build your own playlist ,” Chichester notes. “ We encourage visitors to tell us their favorites, and share feedback .” “As Marian Fathers, our constitution dictates we serve the Church where the need is greatest ,” Fr. Chris concludes. “DivineMercyPlus.org is the newest evangelization tool in our arsenal .”
The Marian Fathers assigned to Holy Family Parish in Kharkiv, one of the hardest-hit cities in Ukraine, have sent a message to all you generous Marian Helpers whose prayers and support have been so indispensable since the war began. They write: At Holy Family Parish in Kharkiv, run by the Congregation of Marian Fathers, we have good facilities where we and volunteers can sort and donate needed items to people who have suffered as a result of Russian aggression. We want to thank our benefactors from different parts of the world, especially our benefactors from the U.S.A. for their generosity and constant prayers. Your support, both material and spiritual, is extremely important to us and the war-stricken people of Ukraine. Our sincere thanks to Fr. Chris Alar, MIC, director of the Marian Helpers Center in the U.S.A., and all members of the Association of Marian Helpers in the U.S.A. for their tireless financial assistance and shipping of essential medical supplies. Thanks to the director of the Marian Helpers Association in Poland and all donors from Poland for organizing the purchase of food, medical supplies, toiletries, and warm clothing, and delivering this aid to Kharkiv. We continue to abide, minister to those in need, and we send greetings. We still need help! May God bless and protect you all! The Marian Fathers fromKharkiv Donations are still desperately needed to purchase humanitarian aid and medical supplies for Ukraine. Please visit Marian.org/Ukraine or call 1-800-462-7426 to make a donation. One hundred percent of funds received are used to support efforts in Ukraine. Thank you fromUkraine Father Byelichev Mykola, MIC, serves at Holy Family Parish in Kharkiv, Ukraine, staffed by the Marian Fathers in one of the cities devastated by Russian forces in the ongoing war. Divine Mercy Sunday and the Eucharist On Divine Mercy Sunday, April 16, EWTN will broadcast live from the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, beginning with the pre-show at 12 noon EST. Produced by the Marians and hosted by the Very Revs. Joseph Roesch, MIC, and Chris Alar, MIC, the pre-show will focus on the Eucharist and feature an array of special guests. Please join us!
Marian Helper • Spring 2023 • Marian.org 11 Why not make this your best Lent ever? To do that, maybe it’s time to try something new that will deepen your faith and be a catalyst for growth in holiness. Personally, my most memorable and transformative Lents have been the ones in which I have spent time each day reading holy material as part of my Lenten practice. Through readings such as these, I have been able to see Christ’s humanity and, likewise, His divinity in more profound ways. I have deepened my love for the Church and Holy Mother Mary and grown in knowledge and appreciation of His holy apostles. Devotional This Lent, Marian Press presents a new devotional booklet, Journey to Mercy. This differs from other Lenten devotionals. It begins on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 22, and takes Mercy are included. There is a handy Examination of Conscience to read before bed each night or to utilize before the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Also provided is St. Faustin a’s Way of the Cross for additional meditative reading. Three Pillars It is important as well to participate in the three pillars of Lent: praye r, fasting, and almsgiving. These are the practices recommende d to us by the Church. As Christians, we should engage daily inprayer with our Lord. During Lent, howeve r, many choose to add some additional prayers such as attending dailyMass, and praying the Rosary and theDivineMercy Chaplet. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fasting and abstinence for all in good health ages 18-59, while all Fridays are days of abstinence from meat for all those in good health ages 14 and above. Fasting from some things we love, and offering these up in prayer, benefits ourselves and/or others. Whether it is fasting from food, social media, television, alcoholic beverages, or anything else we find hard to place on the “altar of sacrifice,” we grow stronger in our commitment and obedience to God through self-denial. We are also reminded to remember those less fortunate than us, particularly during Lent, by the giving of alms or by donating our time to charitable causes. This reminds us of our Lord’s Passion and His total gift of Self for the forgiveness of our sins. This Lent, I invite you to not only engage in prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, but to add some holy reading to your routine. Emerge from Holy Week having been nourished by God’s Word and more in love with Christ. Journey to Mercy can provide you with a most efficacious way of journeying through Lent to Easter and on to the glorious Feast of Divine Mercy! By Kimberly Bruce Embark on a ‘Journey to Mercy’ To order Journey to Mercy (Product code: B57-LD23), visit ShopMercy.org/b57 or call one through Lent, Holy Week, an d 1-800-462-7426. Easter Sunday but continues through the Octave of Easter to Divine Mercy Sunda y, April 16. Each daily one-page entry cites the Mass readings for the day along with corresponding references from St. Faustin a’s Diary. A meditation for the day follows, based upon the Scripture readings. Keep Journey to Mercy by your bedside and read it the moment youwake up in themorning. Or choose to read the day’s reflection just before bed. If you attend dailyMass—an excellent practice during Lent! —spend a fewminutes read - ing it beforeMass begins. It will dovetail perfectlywith the Mass, helping you to see the Scriptures in a newwa y. Keep a copy of St. Faustin a’s Diary handy, too, so you can read the referenced passages for an evendeeper dailywalkwithChrist. Whichever way you choose to read Journey toMercy , youwill find yourself immersed in the day ’s Gospel narrative. Journey to Mercy offers additional prayer material at the end of the booklet to enhance your Lenten experience. Both the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and the Novena to Divine New from Marian Press
As a child, I collected baseball cards. I especially wanted to find the cards of my favorite players. As an avid fan, I knew the statistics of those players very well, and I could verify what I knew on the back of the cards. In this issue, St. Stanislaus Papczyński is depicted as one of our favorite Marian “team players.” But we can easily ask, “Who was St. Stanislaus?” He founded the Congregation of Marians of the Immaculate Conception more than 350 years ago. However, for most of that history, even the Marian fathers and brothers would have had a hard time answering that question. Why? Saint Stanislaus lived in the 17th century. For a long time, we only had a vague idea of what he looked like. Most of his writings were in Latin. Accurate translations of his writings have only become widely available in the last 20 years, in the 21st century! So generations of Marians were not familiar with his writings. Turbulent past Our Congregation has a very particular history. From the time of our founding in 1670 on, Poland and other parts of Europe were torn apart by centuries of wars, plagues, persecutions, and other types of sufferings. Often, people were just trying to survive. This left little time to accurately do historical research on figures from past centuries. To many, St. Stanislaus seemed like an abstract, distant figure. Some even doubted his sanctity. So how did things change? The process of St. Stanislaus’ beatification resumed in the 20th century. Prior to his beatification in 2007, his remains were exhumed. It was shocking to discover that his skeleton was almost completely intact after more than three centuries. His body wasn’t incorrupt, but the integrity of his skeleton did seem to be a sign from Heaven that this was a holy man. Forensic studies allowed us to discover what St. Stanislaus looked like, and the portraits that we have of him now allow us to see a warm human being, a father figure who loves his spiritual children. As we have grown more familiar with St. Stanislaus by reading his writings and discovering what a powerful intercessor he is, we Marians and many of our Marian Helpers By the Very Rev. Joseph Roesch, MIC A blacksmith’s son is our founding saint Saint Stanislaus Papczyński 12 Marian Helper • Spring 2023 • Marian.org
all over the world are developing a great devotion to him. He now has become a pro-life patron and a patron of those in mortal danger. In fact, St. Stanislaus has become well known at the Divine Mercy Shrine in El Salvador City in Mindanao in the Philippines. Many couples there beg his intercession when they have trouble conceiving. So many couples have been able to have children after praying to St. Stanislaus that he has become a kind of “rock star” among Catholic saints there! John was his name So who was he? Stanislaus was born on May 18, 1631, in Podegrodzie, Poland, and was given the name Jan (John) at his Baptism that same day. “Stanislaus of Jesus and Mary” is his religious name. The youngest of 8 children to Zofia and Tomasz, a blacksmith, he had difficulties learning when he first went to school, so his parents withdrew him and sent him to tend sheep. However, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, his ability to learn was miraculously awakened, and he was able to return to school. Stanislaus joined the Piarist community and was ordained a priest in 1661. He published a book of rhetoric in 1663 dedicated to Our Lady, called Messenger of the Queen of the Arts. The Holy Spirit placed in his heart a calling to found a Congregation dedicated to the mystery of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On Dec. 11, 1670, he received his release from the Piarists. That same day, St. Stanislaus professed his Oblatio, a self-offering that he made to God, which included his religious vows and his intention to found a new religious community to fulfill the calling he had in his heart. We trace the origin of our Congregation to that event. Saint Stanislaus is a saint who is definitely worth getting to know better, especially through his writings! He wrote a beautiful work on spirituality for the laity called the Mystical Temple of God. I recently recorded a podcast on that work, which you can find on TheDivineMercy.org/podcasts and DivineMercyPlus.org. His Examination of the Heart contains a series of inspiring meditations based on the liturgical year. Saint Stanislaus also wrote some powerful meditations on Christ’s Passion, The Crucified Orator and The Suffering Christ. They are all on my list for future podcasts! Saint Stanislaus, pray for us! Father Joseph Roesch, MIC, is vicar general of the Marian Congregation. Learn more about St. Stanislaus at StanislawPapczynski.org. Born: May 18, 1631, Podegrodzie, Poland Died: September 17, 1701, Góra Kalwaria, Poland Approval of the new Marian Congregation by Pope Innocent XII: Oct. 24, 1699 Canonized: June 5, 2016, by Pope Francis Feast day: May 18 Saint Stanislaus Papczyński l Saint Stanislaus’ mother consecrated him to Jesus and Mary while carrying him in her womb. She did this when she fell out of a ferryboat during a storm and almost drowned. l As a young student, St. Stanislaus almost died due to an epidemic of pestilence. l The miracle that led to Stanislaus’ beatification in 2007 involved a baby in the womb who died and came back to life. l The miracle that led to his canonization in 2016 involved the healing of a young woman who was engaged to be married. She was on the verge of death in the hospital, with the doctors considering her case hopeless. During his lifetime, St. Stanislaus brought a child back to life while offering Mass for that intention on an altar dedicated to St. Raphael. Talkin’ Marians STATS AND FACTS Get to know the Founder A rich spiritual treasury, Saint Stanislaus Papczyński: Selected Writings (Product code B57-PCZY) makes available in a modern English translation the majority of the works of the Founder of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, one of the outstanding figures in Polish Catholic history and culture. Order now: Visit ShopMercy.org/b57 or call 1-800-462-7426.
Much has been written (and rightly so!) about the Founder of the Marians, St. Stanislaus Papczyński. But do you know the story about his eighth successor as Superior General, Venerable Servant of God Casimir Wyszyński (1700-1755)? During his two terms in office (1737-41 and 174750), Fr. Casimir helped the Marians grow in merit, number, and geographic reach, accepting candidates to the Order from all over Europe. In fact, in 1753, he went to Portugal and founded the first Marian monastery in that country at Balsamao. Even today, Portuguese Catholics call him “Santo Polacco,” the Holy Pole. Originally hailing from Jeziora Wielka near Warsaw, Poland, Fr. Casimir was known for his sanctity during his lifetime and has gained a reputation for being a powerful intercessor since his death. His cause for sainthood has been opened. Zealous religious “Father Casimir was a very zealous religious who deeply loved his Order, its Founder, and its charisms,” notes Br. Andrew Mączyński, MIC, vice postulator in North America and Asia for Marian causes of canonization. “He was also a protector of the underprivileged, especially peasants abused by the clergy and upper-class people. He sent a petition to the pope asking for the special protection of those people by the Church.” Born in 1700, the year before St. Stanislaus died, and given the baptismal name “Januarius Francis,” the future Marian started his life as a layman, becoming a civil servant and setting himself on track for secular success. But he was also a man of deep faith. He joined the Marians under unusual circumstances. His brother, Joseph, was a Marian novice. But when Joseph joined a campaign to relax religious discipline within the Congregation and sided with a group seeking to disband the Order entirely, Januarius Wyszyński felt great remorse — and leapt into action. He asked to be admitted to the Marians, saying, “I want to make up for what my brother ruined; I ask you for the habit.” He was admitted and took the name “Casimir of St. Joseph.” Evangelical perfection From the very beginning of his religious life, Fr. Casimir distinguished himself in his zeal for evangelical perfection. During his time as general superior, he made a number of visits to the different houses of the order. In one letter announcing a visitation, dated June 1, 1739, he gave a beautiful summation of the essence of Catholic life: From the Marians whom I intend to visit I am anxious to learn whether love of God and neighbor is practiced in your life. God is loved when His commandments are kept and the Rules of our Holy Institute are observed, when sinful desires are curbed, avoiding those things By Chris Sparks All hail the ‘Holy Pole’ 14 Marian Helper • Spring 2023 • Marian.org Venerable Servant of God Fr. Casimir Wyszyński
which lead to sin. Fraternal charity is evident when we wish no one harm. Where charity is lacking anything we do is without merit; where charity flourishes everything serves for holiness. Father Casimir wrote extensively, encouraging his priests and brothers to discipline, fidelity, and holiness. “God made me your superior not to lord it over you, but to be one of you, an understanding father, a brother full of respect, a leader, a concerned shepherd watching over you,” he wrote. “Are we living and acting according to this Spirit? Are we seeking vain glory? Are we manifesting the spirit of poverty and peace? Is our fraternal charity marred by jealousy? Do your local superiors, your spiritual guides, correct you in a gentle manner?” Like a shepherd tending his flock, Fr. Casimir sought unity and fraternity: We want to be sure that no one strays from the faith, fails in fraternal charity and peace. We want to see whether we all strive to promote God’s glory and honor due to his Holy Mother, the Immaculate Mary. We are anxious to verify that the Rule and Statutes and decrees of our chapters are faithfully observed. We will do all we can to look into these matters with every solicitude, that order be preserved in the monastery. We desire that the Spirit of truth and joy touch all of you. Father Casimir died on Oct. 21, 1755 at Balsamao. His reputation for sanctity has endured for 200 years, especially in Portugal during periods when the Church was persecuted and, at one point, the Marians were exiled from the country. A few years after his death, the beatification process was begun. Interrupted during the partition of Poland in the 19 th century and the political turmoil in Portugal, it was reopened in 1953. He was declared a Venerable Servant of God in 1989. Let’s ask Ven. Casimir Wyszyński’s intercession in all our needs, trusting that, through the mercy of God, we may receive special graces and even miracles through the prayers of our brother in Christ. And let us pray for the beatification of Ven. Casimir so that the whole Church may better know him and benefit from his powerful prayers. If you have received graces through the intercession of Fr. Casimir Wyszyński, please write: Br. Andrew Mączyński, MIC, Vice Postulator of the Marian Causes of Canonization, 2 Prospect Hill Road, Stockbridge, MA, 01263. Email: [email protected] Born: Aug. 19, 1700, Jeziora Wielka, Poland Died: Oct. 21, 1755, Balsamao, Portugal Ordained to the Marians: 1726 Declared Venerable Servant of God: 1989 Venerable Casimir Wyszyński l When he was 2, Casimir and his family had to flee from the Swedish army’s devastation of Poland. After a few years of wandering, the Wyszyński family came back to their estate. l As a young man, Casimir made a vow to go on a pilgrimage to St. James’ tomb in Compostela, Spain. Illness meant he could not complete the pilgrimage; instead, he visited the churches of Rome and carried out works of mercy. l A few years after his death, the beatification process was begun. This process, interrupted during the partition of Poland in the 19th century and the political turmoil in Portugal, was reopened in 1953 in Rome. Father Casimir founded the first Marian monastery in Portugal, at Balsamao, where he died. Talkin’ Marians STATS AND FACTS Save the Date — June 7-9 18th Annual Divine Mercy Medicine, Bioethics, and Spirituality Conference Healthcare professionals desiring to learn how to integrate their faith in their practice: Join us at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy! Visit TheDivineMercy.org/healthcare or call 413-298-1303.
The 350th anniversary of the founding of the Marian Congregation by St. Stanislaus Papczyński is a cause for celebration! This year, the Marians are observing another milestone: the 110th anniversary of the establishment of the Congregation in the United States. A history lesson is in order. Before our 110 years in America, the Marian Congregation suffered more than 100 years of persecution in Europe. From the pride of partitioning powers who wiped Poland- Lithuania off the map, to the devastation brought on by the tri-color troops of Napoleon, to relentless harassment by the Czar of Russia, the Marian Congregation went from a high point of 147 members in 1781 to just one member by 1910. Down to one Marian One member. That’s all that was left of a once vibrant and thriving community — and he was dying. Of course, the Czar and his men were quite satisfied with themselves as they prepared to celebrate the longawaited demise of another Catholic religious congregation. In fact, when Fr. Vincent Sękowski, the last of the Marians who wore the white habit, finally did die in 1911, the enemies of the Church surely did rejoice. But theirs wasn’t the final word. Little did the Czar and his anti-Catholic men know, but an intelligent, hard–working priest had given up the promise of prestigious positions in the Church to save the Marians in secret. Father George Matulaitis-Matulewicz of Lithuania was re-establishing the Marians, refashioning them to be an exponentially greater force for Christ and the Church. He is known as “The Renovator.” The only problem was that the new Marians had to lay low and keep quiet, even after Fr. George moved the training of his men to the free nation of Switzerland — for even in Switzerland, the Czar’s spies were on the lookout. But Fr. George’s plans for the Marians were certainly not about laying low and keeping quiet. He wanted to bring the greatest possible glory to God. He wanted to work for the salvation of countless souls, and wanted his men to be filled with a zeal that would set all afire. So, what did he do? He moved some of his men to America, where they would be free to be everything he wanted them to be. Freedom in America On July 9, 1913, Fr. George arrived in America with two other Marians, Frs. Felix Kudirka and Julian Kazakas, Enter ‘The Renovator’ 16 Marian Helper • Spring 2023 • Marian.org Blessed George Matulaitis-Matulewicz This year, the Marians are observing the 110th anniversary of the establishment of the Congregation in the United States, during Blessed George’s visit to our country. Blessed George visits U.S.
to establish the first Marian house of the renovated Congregation. He had been invited there by Fr. Anthony Staniukynas, who wanted to join the Marians and had offered them a place to stay in Chicago, Illinois. Once in Chicago, Blessed George presented himself to the archbishop there, the Most Rev. Edward Quigley, who warmly welcomed the Marians to his archdiocese and even offered them a parish. Then, only about a month after their arrival, on Aug. 18, 1913, the first house of the new Marian Congregation was formally established in Chicago — 110 years ago. The importance of this event shouldn’t be overlooked. It was in America, with her freedom of religion, that the new Marians could finally be who they were meant to be. And who were they meant to be? According to now-Bishop George, the Marians were called to serve the Church where the need is greatest. And in his opinion, “One of the most pressing needs of our time ... is to involve larger groups of people from every segment of society in a more active apostolate for the faith and the growth and defense of the Church.” Harnessing the laity Indeed, he believed that by gathering lay people around them, the Marians could give even greater glory to God and serve the Church better. But simply gathering people wasn’t what he had in mind. Rather, he said the “special characteristic” of the Marians in their work with the laity is “to organize, unite, and direct them toward the task of spreading the faith and defending the Church.” And that’s exactly what the Marians have been doing in the U.S.A. for the last 110 years, thanks to the great gift of religious freedom found here. And this gift of freedom, allowing the Marians to be who they were meant to be, allowing the Marians to unite with the laity, our Marian Helpers, for the work of evangelization, has led to a tremendous amount of fruit for Christ and the Church. Editor’s note: Fr. Joseph Roesch, MIC, vicar general of the Marian Congregation, has launched a new podcast, reading from the journal of Blessed George Matulaitis- Matulewicz. To listen, visit TheDivineMercy.org/podcasts, TheDivineMercyPlus.org, or find the podcast on Apple, Google, Spotify, and other streaming platforms. Born: April 13, 1871, Lūginė, Marijampolė, Lithuania Ordained to the priesthood: Nov. 20, 1898 Profession of Marian vows in secret: Aug. 29, 1909 Elected Marian Superior General: July 14, 1911 Ordained bishop: Dec. 18, 1918, Kaunas, Lithuania Died: Jan. 27, 1927, Kaunas, Lithuania Beatified: June 28, 1987, by Pope St. John Paul II Feast day: Jan. 27 Blessed George Matulaitis-Matulewicz l Blessed George suffered tuberculosis of the bone as a child, and experienced chronic pain his entire life. l He founded two orders of sisters and helped 10 other orders renovate their constitutions according to Canon Law. l In his Journal, he wrote, “If I may ask, Lord, let me be but a kitchen rag in your Church, a rag used to wipe up messes . . . so that Your House would be a little cleaner and brighter. And afterwards, let me be thrown away like a dirty, worn out dish rag” (Jan 13, 1911). Talkin’ Marians STATS AND FACTS Favorite quotation: “Non in commotione Spiritus Dei” — “The Spirit of God cannot be felt in turmoil.” Blessed George Matulaitis, MIC, Rescuer of the Marian Fathers Without him, there would be no Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception at the epicenter of the promotion of the Divine Mercy message and devotion. Meet Blessed George Matulaitis, MIC. This pamphlet offers you an overview of his life, teaching, and spirituality. B57-MAIS Order now: Visit ShopMercy.org/b57 or call 1-800-462-7426.