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Messengers spread Divine Mercy message

Posted By March 8, 2013 | 12:41 pm | Lead Story #3, Local
Dave and Joan Maroney share Divine Mercy message. Photo by Tanya Connor
Dave and Joan Maroney share Divine Mercy message. Photo by Tanya Connor

By Tanya Connor

She was not a godly woman, her nephew said. Now she was semi-comatose. He and his wife prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet for her.
They finished, she sat up, looked toward a corner of the room, glowed and said, “I choose God.” Then she lay back down and fell asleep. The next day at 3 p.m., the Hour of Mercy, she died.
Dave and Joan Maroney shared this story, which they said the nephew told them, in presentations at Assumption College and at the Chancery Wednesday. Tuesday they spoke at St. Joseph Parish in Charlton. The presentations varied, but all were about the Divine Mercy message given to Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, the image of Jesus she had commissioned, and the devotion, which includes the chaplet prayers.
The Maroneys said Divine Mercy is not just a devotion. It is power “to prepare us for the times we’re living in now,” limited only by how much one trusts Jesus. The “signature” on the Divine Mercy image of Jesus says, “Jesus I Trust in You.”
“There is no mercy in so-called mercy killing,” the Maroneys said, noting that as euthanasia and assisted suicide become more popular, other wills challenge God’s will. “Let us pray as often as we can;” one never knows who it will help.
The presentation at Assumption, “Tell All Souls About My Mercy,” was a Year of Faith event sponsored by the diocese, The Catholic Free Press, Emmanuel Radio, the diocesan Office for Youth Ministry and the college.
The Maroneys called their presentations at the Chancery and St. Joseph’s “The Spark from Poland.” They said that in the “Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska,” Jesus said a spark would come from Poland that would prepare the world for his final coming.
The Maroneys said they are the Mother Of Mercy Messengers team, an outreach of The Marians of the Immaculate Conception, who operate the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge. The couple said they have been taking the message “to the trenches,” from their home near San Antonio, Texas, since 1999.
The story is that Jesus gave the Divine Mercy message to St. Faustina, an uneducated Sister of Our Lady of Mercy, in apparitions in the 1930s in places that are now part of Poland and Lithuania. Her experiences are recorded in the “Diary.”
She died in 1938, but her spiritual director, Blessed Michael Sopocko, told Marian Father Joseph Jarzebowski about her, the Maroneys said. Trying to escape Europe in 1941, Father Jarzebowski said he would spread the Divine Mercy message if he made it to the United States. He did so – without some required papers – via the Ukraine, Siberia and Japan. He joined the Marians in Washington, D.C., who bought the site in Stockbridge, which was designated a national shrine in 1996. The Felician Sisters helped them spread the message.
There was a ban on the Divine Mercy devotion from 1958-1978, the Maroneys said. They said people who wanted to squash the devotion put a paper to that effect on the bottom of a pile for the new pope, John XXIII, to sign. But he flipped the pile over, handling that paper first, and called for a hold to study the matter.
Pope John Paul II lifted the ban when he was cardinal of Krakow, Poland, where St. Faustina lived, the couple said. When, as pope, he canonized her, he said it was the happiest day of his life “because he knew the importance of this message,” Mrs. Maroney said. She said he proclaimed the second Sunday of Easter Divine Mercy Sunday, as Jesus had requested through St. Faustina.
The “Diary,” approved by the Church, says those who receive Communion at a Saturday vigil or Sunday Mass for that feast (April 7 this year), go to confession (not necessarily on that day), and try to be merciful, will have all their sins and punishment for them removed, Mrs. Mahoney said.
She said people have also received other blessings from doing this: physical healings, family reconciliations, getting children out of gangs, etc.
St. Faustina was asked to make novenas for her country and Jesus told her he is happy when people trust him and ask for much, the Maroneys said.
During adoration, they led prayers, including a litany of saints, which begins a nine-day novena for the United States. They said this is part of MOMM’s “Divine Mercy for America” prayer campaign, launched Oct. 5, 2012, St. Faustina’s feast day. A flier says it is a response to the signs of the times, the new evangelization and the Year of Faith, and aims to increase devotion to Jesus.
The Maroneys showed replicas of the Divine Mercy image of Christ and the Shroud of Turin, thought to be his burial cloth. The image was the one an artist, instructed by St. Faustina, made of Jesus as he appeared to her, they said.
In the 1990s a group praying the chaplet discovered that “the two images matched up,” Mr. Maroney said. Shroud expert John Jackson said one is five percent larger than the other but the features match up, the couple said. They showed this by projecting the images on a screen and fading from one to the other.
The Maroneys said Pope John Paul II encouraged people to use the shroud to meditate on Christ’s Passion and that the Divine Mercy image is how Jesus appeared to the disciples the Sunday after his Resurrection.
“I’m sure they were the first ones to go to confession to our Lord,” she said; they must have been ashamed of abandoning him. People today do that too, the couple said, urging listeners to go to confession.
Mrs. Mahoney said the Divine Mercy image shows Jesus on a black background; he illuminates the darkness.
“When we don’t have God in our lives, this is when we get hurt and we hurt others,” she said. “His right hand is there and it’s in a gesture of blessing. He wants us to be good. …” His left hand is opening up his heart. “We’re to open up our hearts, even when others wound us.”
The Maroneys said the rays in the Divine Mercy image represent the water and blood which gushed from Christ’s side after his crucifixion; the pale rays symbolize the cleansing sacraments of baptism and penance, the red the Eucharist.
At Assumption the couple voiced conversations from the “Diary,” beginning with entry 1485, between Jesus and sinful, despairing and suffering souls. Music and pictures on a screen accompanied the words.
Listeners were given the Divine Mercy image and urged to share it. The Maroneys said many people have returned to God just by gazing on his image.