Photo: Felix Carroll
It was deja vu on April 24, 2006, as Vinny Flynn (second from left) and his family music ministry, Stillwaters, took part in the re-filming of the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy for daily broadcast on EWTN.
On-Air Prayer Renewed
'We Weren't Just There to Sing'
On Monday, April 24, 2006, the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass., was filled to capacity for the long-awaited re-filming of the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy. The new Chaplet is now being aired weekdays at 3 p.m. (Eastern) on EWTN. In the following story, Vinny Flynn shares his memories of that grace-filled day of filming:
By Vinny Flynn
As I greeted the EWTN camera crew and the people who had gathered to pray with us, I was struck with a series of flashbacks. Some of these same people had been here with me and my family 10 years ago for the filming of the first version of the Chaplet that was airing every day on EWTN. Some had also been with us when the previous version was filmed nine years earlier. And a few had even joined us for the live "Still Waters" recording of the Chaplet on audio tape and CD.
There were some "first-timers" too, of course, who had not been present for the previous recordings. But, as we began rehearsing, I realized that none of them were newcomers to the Chaplet. They were all familiar with the responses, and they sang with great fervor. It was clear that they had each been touched by the power of the Chaplet and had come here not just to help us record, but to join us in prayer.
My mind flashed back to one of those earlier recording sessions when Fr. George Kosicki, CSB, had reminded us all of the power of the Chaplet and the reality of prayer. We weren't just there to sing, but to pray for mercy "on us and on the whole world," especially all those who would ever watch or listen to this chaplet.
As we knelt before the Blessed Sacrament and chanted the words our Lord had revealed to St. Faustina, we were to pray with trust that God would respond to our petitions and flood people with mercy through this recording.
Over the years, I have witnessed how prophetic Fr. Kosicki's words were. Wherever our family music ministry, Stillwaters, goes around the country, giving talks or parish missions, people come up to thank us for singing the Chaplet. They tell us wonderful stories of dramatic conversions, physical and spiritual healings, comfort for the sick and grieving, peaceful deaths, reconciliation in families — all from watching the Chaplet on TV or listening to it on CD.
Many tell us that they weren't planning on watching the Chaplet at first and didn't even know what it was. They were just surfing through the channels and were suddenly drawn to the Chaplet. I just smile and tell them, "It's a powerful prayer, and we were praying it for you."
So now, after our brief rehearsal, I recounted Fr. Kosicki's words and explained that we would be taking the same intention for this new filming, so that even years from now, when people see this video, they will receive the benefits of the prayers we offer here.
While we waited for the TV crew to finish setting up, a man came up to me with tears in his eyes. "I've prayed the Chaplet with you on EWTN every day for years," he said. "It means so much to me to know that the people I was watching were praying for me, and that now I'm going to be able to do that for others."
A few minutes later, we were ready to begin, and I walked over to join some of my family in the front pew. Looking out over the congregation, I was struck by the diversity of the group. It was like a microcosm of the Church and the world: Marian priests, brothers, and seminarians; Oblates of the Most Holy Eucharist; staff from the Marian Helpers Center and the Shrine; members of the Friends of Mercy Club; families and singles, young and old. The prayer echoed in my head: "and on the whole world."
As that thought was still lingering in my mind, Fr. Joe Roesch, MIC, exposed the Blessed Sacrament and, in keeping with the previous film sessions, led us in a beautiful prayer for everyone who would ever see or listen to this version of the Chaplet.
The cameras started to roll, and for the next four hours we knelt and sang and knelt and sang and knelt and sang. We took a brief break after each run-through, reminding each other to offer up all the stiff joints, sore knees, and backaches for the people we were praying for. Then, when we thought we were finally done, we knelt some more while the crew took additional camera shots from the back of the Shrine.
I was so impressed and inspired by the devotion and dedication of the people. Right from the beginning they had been completely attentive, cooperative, and prayerful. Most of them had been here the previous day for the celebration of Mercy Sunday and had spent hours in unrelenting rain driven by gale-force winds. (Mercy Sunday on Eden Hill is known for bad weather, but this was the worst I had ever seen.)
Yet here they were again, spending four hours on their knees without complaint, joining their sacrifice with Christ's for mercy "on us and on the whole world."