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Photo: Felix Carroll
A Conference Calls
Father Benedict Groeschel, CFR, will be Bronx-bound, along with conference organizer Ed Miller and members of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception.
By Felix Carroll (Mar 10, 2011)
In a wide-ranging interview leading up to the 6th Annual Divine Mercy Conference, featured speaker Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR, offered a challenge to Divine Mercy apostles.
Turn your zeal for The Divine Mercy into apostolic work to end abortion — the most "hideous lack of mercy in the world right now," he said.
His challenge will have a captive audience at the March 26 conference, in Bronx, N.Y., co-sponsored by the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception and the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. Among the signature events in the Marian Fathers' efforts to spread the message of The Divine Mercy, the conference draws hundreds of people from the tri-state metropolitan area and beyond who have been touched and transformed by the revelations granted by heaven to the Church and to the world through the Poland nun St. Maria Faustina Kowalska.
In addition to Fr. Groeschel, featured speakers at the conference include Lila Rose, who has gained rapid recognition for her expose of Planned Parenthood; Fr. Joseph Roesch, MIC; Fr. Frank Pavone, MEV; Msgr. James Lisante; Fr. Bernard Murphy, CFR; and Br. Paul Miller, SFO. Auxiliary Bishop Martin D. Holley of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., and Bishop Gerald T. Walsh, rector of St. Joseph's Seminary will be co-celebrants of Holy Mass.
[Listen to the radio spot for the upcoming conference.]
A longtime friend of the Marians and a longtime promoter of the Divine Mercy message and devotion, Fr. Groeschel says when he first read St. Faustina's Diary in the 1970s he knew that God had tailored St. Faustina's revelations to our troubled times.
"Well first of all, how could you read it and not be impressed?" he said, noting that it was no accident St. Faustina's revelations in the 1930s came when they did.
"You have to consider that this was happening during the rise of Totalitarianism, the rise of the Nazis, and the terrible war that followed, probably the most horrific war in the history of the world, and then there was the Cold War that went on for decades," he said. "This was all a time when there was so much cruelty in the world and barbarism."
Now consider this, he said: "Christ told St. Faustina 'Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy'" (Diary of St. Faustina, 300).
Through the message of The Divine Mercy, Fr. Groeschel said, Christ urges humanity to look at its sinfulness, to ask for forgiveness, to replace the sinfulness with virtue, and to trust in Him.
Father Groeschel hastens to add that the "trusting-in-Jesus" part, can be the most difficult. But he himself projects the calm certainty of one who has trusted, despite the crosses.
Indeed, seven years ago Fr. Groeschel was struck by an automobile while crossing a street in Orlando, Fla. No one expected him to live. In addition to a head injury and broken bones he suffered a near-fatal heart attack.
He moves more slowly now. He travels less. He still writes books. He still hosts a weekly television program on EWTN. He still draws a crowd. Following his accident, he told the New York Times, "They said I would never live. I lived. They said I would never think. I think. They said I would never walk. I walked. They said I would never dance, but I never danced anyway." 
Yes, he still has his wit.
And he still has his drive to preach what needs to be preached, including about the horrors of abortion.
"Really, the message of Divine Mercy is a challenge against abortion," Fr. Groeschel said. "Abortion is the most hideous lack of mercy in the world right now. It's based on deception, because almost all of the people having abortions or performing abortions think they're doing it out of compassion, and they're not. They are committing false, ersatz mercy. Abortion is a complete reversal of mercy."
For Divine Mercy devotees, he suggests that "this is what they should steer their focus toward."
A scholar of private revelations, including those of St. Faustina and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Fr. Groeschel notes the historic impact Divine Mercy has had on the Church.
"It has been a custom or a policy of the Holy See to never mention directly private revelations [in Church documents]. So even the encyclicals on the Sacred Heart don't mention St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. They separate the private revelation from the public teaching of the Church," he said.
But then came along Pope John Paul II, and "here you have an interesting thing. Here you have a papal encyclical, Dives in Misericordia ("Rich in Mercy") that was sparked by a private revelation."
He believes, like Pope John Paul II, that the message of The Divine Mercy is the anchor for a world that has drifted so far from God.
And has quickly become an anchor for the Church's worldwide apostolic mission. Recent proof of that is when the Church called for a World Apostolic Congress of Mercy in 2008 in Rome; the second World Congress will be held this fall in Krakow, Poland. National mercy congresses have been held throughout the world.
Indeed, the momentum for Divine Mercy has been building, he said, "but you see, you have to keep it going. You've got to work at it. Take the Sacred Heart devotion: After 150 years, the people got behind it. It's all over the place now — Sacred Heart Church, Sacred Heart Cathedral, etc. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could work hard to keep the Divine Mercy going and even greater? But you have to work on it. It doesn't just happen."
Conferences, such as the one in Bronx, help.
"I'm delighted to be speaking there," Fr. Groeschel said. "And I've been very, very grateful to the Marian Fathers. I have known them for years. When I was in better shape, I visited with them up at the National Shrine [of The Divine Mercy, in Stockbridge, Mass.].
"I remember giving a Divine Mercy talk there back in the 1970s," he said. "I recall I stood on top of a truck with a microphone. I also spoke on Divine Mercy Sunday at the Stockbridge shrine on the day Sr. Faustina was canonized."
From a truck tops to roof tops, Fr. Groeschel shares the message of the Merciful Lord — that no matter how great the sin may be, the sinner can turn to Christ.
He'll have the microphone in hand later this March. Listen up.
Register now for the 6th Annual Divine Mercy Conference on March 26, in Bronx, N.Y.