Marian Helper Spring 2023

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

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