Rays of Merciful Love Spring 2021

2 C E N A C L E S U P D A T E Here in St. Augustine, at Corpus Christi Catholic Church, we have two Divine Mercy cenacles. One of our groups meets in the morning, twice a month, and the other group meets in the evening of the same day, for those who work during the day. Both groups are growing! We leave everything up to the Lord and let Him lead us. Our first cenacle meeting was in January 2018. I had recently moved to St. Augustine from Alexandria, Virginia, where I had belonged to two cenacle groups. They each met twice a month, but on alternate weeks. I loved the formation! When I got to St. Augustine, I reconnected with a college friend, Mary Oliveros, at our parish. She was still homeschooling, but after hearing about the Divine Mercy cenacles that I had belonged to in Virginia and my desire to start one here, she agreed to help me start one at Corpus Christi as soon as her last child graduated. So, I waited and told the Lord, “It’s in Your hands if You want this cenacle here.” Two years later, Mary had sent her last child off to college. We were attending daily Mass together followed by Adoration, and I reminded the Lord that if He wanted a Divine Mercy cenacle started then He should inspire Mary to ask me about starting one. Within five minutes, as we were walking out to our cars, Mary turned to me and asked me when we should start our cenacle! With the support of our pastor, Fr. Ed Murphy, we got all the supplies together, announced our cenacle, and we began. Our morning group has now grown to 18 members. We have three seasonal travelers who join us during the winter. Our evening group has grown to 11. We open with a song, a prayer to the Holy Spirit, prayers of gratitude, and our lesson. We discuss the Diary top- ics, and we close with our petitions and the Divine Mercy Chaplet. We have grown into a wonderful community of friends. The Lord has been faithful. We recently donated a large Image of Divine Mercy to our church, and Fr. Ed let us place it in the vestibule so it would be there to greet all who entered the church. Our corporal works of mercy include assisting the parish to feed the home- less and collecting diapers for the St. Gerard House that assists unwed mothers and their babies. A few of our members are involved in the Right to Life move- ment here in north Florida. Our members are a lovely mix of different ages, nationalities, and backgrounds. We also come together from various parishes around the area. We all agree that the lessons Jesus teaches St. Faustina are relevant to each of us in our individual spiri- tual journeys. We devour St. Faustina’s Diary , enjoy delving into the Catechism of the Catholic Church , and study the Bible. We all agree that whatever we are reading Saint Matthew Catholic Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, began our Divine Mercy cenacles ministry in 2008 under the leadership of our founding lay director, Ralph Sullivan. Each year on Divine Mercy Sunday, we offer the 3 p.m. Hour of Great Mercy prayer service, which has been attended by several hundred people, including attendees from other parishes throughout the Charlotte area and beyond. During the service, there is Benediction, prayers, singing of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and veneration of a first-class relic of St. Faustina. Mr. Sullivan has organized an annual Divine Mercy Day of Healing over the past 10 years that has included speakers such as Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC; Sr. Sr. Caterina Esselen, OLM; Dr. Robert Stackpole, STD, of the John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy; Dave and Joan Maroney of Mother of Mercy Messengers and Divine Mercy for America; and Dr. Bryan Thatcher of Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy. The talks, which focus on the Divine Mercy movement, have enlightened and enriched the lives of those in attendance. Today at St. Matthew we have 14 cenacle groups, including a Spanish group, a Polish group, and two Filipino groups. The motto of St. Matthew Church, “Connected in Christ, Moved by the Spirit,” is the foundation of our ministry. Divine Mercy cenacles know that it is not just a devotion, it is a way of life for its members. The devotion has changed people’s lives, deepened their faith, and taught them the importance of trust in, and total reliance upon, God. In all of life’s chal- lenges, uncertainties, and struggles we embrace both the words of Pope St. John Paul II, “Be not afraid,” and the phrase “Jesus, I trust in You!” Jesus and Mary are the perfect companions during the difficult moments in our life’s journey. Additionally, we send out a quarterly Divine Mercy newsletter titled For God and Souls , which covers Divine Mercy news, events, quotes from St. Faustina’s Diary , prayer intentions, and poems written by our current lay director, Lorraine Carpenter, who has been leading our cenacles of Divine Mercy ministry since the spring of 2017. We also celebrate a Divine Mercy Holy Hour led by our spiritual director, Deacon Gary Schrieber, on the First Thursday of each month. During the Holy Hour, there are readings, prayers, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy in song, and a blessing with a first-class relic of St. Faustina. This is always a beautiful and powerful celebration. Although the coronavirus has curtailed in-person events, it hasn’t stopped the cenacle groups from meeting on Zoom. As Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy, we are called to live mercy through our prayers, words, and deeds. In a world that is in such great need of God’s unfathomable love and mercy, we need to turn to God to seek His forgiveness and mercy. God is waiting patiently for us to open our hearts and invite Him in. He wants us to live mercy in all we do, what we say, how we feel, and what we think. Mercy is seeing the face of Christ in others. It is feeling with a Christ-like heart. It is speaking words of compassion. It is a touch that brings comfort. It is a CHARLOTTE, N orth C arolina Lorraine Carpenter wrote and told us: ST. AUGUSTINE, F lorida Judith O’Neill wrote and told us: momentary occurrence that has a lasting effect. Mercy is being the hands and feet of Jesus and doing for others as Jesus would do. Mercy is love in action! The Divine Mercy devotion reminds us to pray often, be grateful, love gener- ously, show kindness, and be the light of Christ to others! Saint Matthew Divine Mercy Holy Hour. Pictured from left: Deacon Guillermo Anzola of Our Lady of Lourdes, in Monroe, North Carolina; Deacon Gary Schrieber, spiritual direc- tor of St. Matthew Cenacles of Divine Mercy (holding a first-class relic of St. Faustina); and Deacon Michael Goad of St. Gabriel, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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