Is the Divine Mercy Message Spreading in Africa?
By Fr. Joseph Roesch, MIC (May 23, 2006)
It certainly is! To give a few examples, Bishop Martin Uzoukwa from the Diocese of Minna in northern Nigeria has been an Apostle of the Divine Mercy since he was a priest. He has done a tremendous amount to spread this Message and Devotion throughout Nigeria. There are Cenacles of the Eucharistic Apostles of the Divine Mercy in Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and hopefully soon in Tanzania. You can find more information under Mercy Ministries, in the Eucharistic Apostles section of this website.
I recently traveled to Africa and I saw firsthand how the devotion is spreading. A Marian priest, Fr. Leszek Czelusniak, MIC, has painted a number of beautiful images of the Divine Mercy and one hangs in the Retreat House of the community of Foyer of Charity where there is a weekly hour of prayer before the image. In Southern Rwanda, there is an 18-foot-tall, one ton statue of the Divine Mercy on the grounds of the Marian Formation Center, a planned retreat house and Spiritual Center near the Shrine of Our Lady of Kibeho, the only approved Marian Apparition in Africa. I attended the blessing of a beautiful Adoration Chapel dedicated to the Mother of the Word of God. I saw 250,000 bricks on the ground, waiting for additional funds to come in, so that they can be built into a beautiful retreat house for the Rwandan people who have been so hurt by the genocide which took place in their country during the 1990s. Between 10-100 people come daily down the dirt road in a very rural area to pray the Chaplet before the large statue. Some are illiterate and some are barefoot, but they have a simple yet profound faith. Some remain to pray for two hours in the hot sun for their country and their brothers and sisters as they cry out to the Lord for Mercy. Fr. Seraphim Michalenko also attended the Blessing and during that time, he taught our Marian Novices there from three countries about God's great Mercy. The fact that we are getting vocations in Africa is another fruit of God's Mercy.
Another Marian Priest, Fr. Francis Filipiec, MIC, is creating a Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Cameroon where our Fathers work. At the direction of the Bishop, they have distributed Divine Mercy Images to the different parishes in the Diocese. In both Rwanda and Cameroon, our Fathers have organized walking pilgrimages of sometimes great distances in connection with Divine Mercy Sunday. They also organize retreats, conferences, and times of prayer.
God's healing Mercy is flowing into Africa in a variety of ways. Let's keep our brothers and sisters there in our daily prayers!