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Most Rev. Mitchell Rozanski, the new bishop of the Diocese of Springfield, Mass., celebrated Mass at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy on Sunday, Sept. 7, which was National Grandparents Day. He shared some background on his connection to the Divine Mercy message and devotion, and had some words for all our Marian Helpers.
Bishop, welcome to the Diocese of Springfield, first of all, and the National Shrine.
Is this your first time at the National Shrine?
No, it is not. I was here for the celebration of the Vietnamese Heritage Day at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy. So this is my second time here, officially.
It was reported in the press that you were a fan of the Divine Mercy message and devotion from way back.
Well, actually, Holy Rosary Church in East Baltimore, Maryland, is where I was baptized and received my first communion. That is the Archdiocese of Baltimore's shrine of Divine Mercy. They have a relic of St. John Paul II and, I believe, of St. Faustina at that church. They have regular services to Divine Mercy at the church throughout the week, and pray the Divine Mercy chaplet, I believe, every day at 3 o'clock. The Divine Mercy devotion is very established in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
You were the regular celebrant for their Divine Mercy Sunday Masses?
I was, I was, normally, yes. I was celebrant there, of course, this past Divine Mercy Sunday, when St. John Paul II and St. John XXIII were canonized. That was a wonderful celebration. It's a very large church. It was good to see so many people at that celebration — they filled the church that day.
What does it mean to you to have this Shrine in your diocese now?
Well, there are so many areas of grace in the Diocese of Springfield, and the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy is an area of grace to which people come on pilgrimage. There's many, many powerful prayers raised here. There's a concentration on the Lord's Divine Mercy for us, and I think that's not only powerful for the Stockbridge area, but powerful for the rest of the diocese and for the state of Massachusetts, that we're known for the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy.
And you yourself are of Polish heritage?
And the message and devotion of Divine Mercy very much has its roots in Poland.
It has its roots in St. Faustina and in Poland. I have visited her convent in Krakow. I visited the chapel where she had some of the visions. I also visited the large basilica of Divine Mercy, and actually celebrated Mass in one of the chapels there with my pilgrimage group.
Do you have any words for Divine Mercy devotees who come to the shrine?
Bring others! And live the message of Divine Mercy. When we live the message of Divine Mercy and others see us living that message, then they will be attracted to that message and ultimately be attracted to Jesus, who is the Source of all Divine Mercy.
And how do you anticipate the Divine Mercy guiding your ministry as bishop of the Diocese of Springfield?
Well, I believe that my ministry has to center on Jesus Christ and the reconciliation and the conversion that He brings. So Divine Mercy is all about the reconciliation that we have with God, the forgiveness that God gives to us, and the reconciliation that He gives to us. So I see reconciliation, healing, conversion as central to the ministry of the Bishop.
Anything else you'd care to share?
I'm very impressed by the numbers who come here on pilgrimage, the powerful prayers that are raised here, and the beauty of the grounds. You really feel a little bit of heaven when you're visiting the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy at Stockbridge.