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Yes, it's certainly been a year of hardship for many, a year of confusion, and a year of continued war. But 2009 has also been a year of mercy. We can prove it! The message of The Divine Mercy — a call to trust in Jesus, to receive His mercy, and to allow that mercy to flow through us to others — is touching people's hearts and changing lives. See for yourself. On behalf of the Marian Father of the Immaculate Conception here at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass., we offer you a look back at our favorite mercy stories of 2009:

10. We love all of the columns by our correspondent Dr. Robert Stackpole, STD, who writes our Divine Mercy Q&A column. But one in particular struck at a core question many of our readers have had this year. Namely, how are we to serve our Lord in tough financial times? Read Dr. Stackpole's advice.

9. The transformation of a priest? Sounds intriguing, and it is! Our correspondent Dan Valenti interviewed world-renowned Divine Mercy expert Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, about a traumatic time early in his priesthood. "For the first time in my life, I cried for the Holy Spirit to help me," Fr. Seraphim says. Read all about it.

8. In the aftermath of the third-worst hurricane to ever make landfall in United States history, Ted Hanley plied the waterlogged streets of Galveston, Texas, and put his faith into action. Read Ted's story about the impact Divine Mercy has had on his life.

7. God wants to heal us — spiritually and sometimes even physically, as the following witness so beautifully teaches us. (The lesson here: Be careful what you promise St. Faustina.) Read all about it!

6. So is God's mercy for everybody? The answer came in a chat between our correspondant Dan Valenti and Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, director of the Marian Helpers Association and one of the planet's ranking experts on the life of St. Faustina and Divine Mercy. Here's what Fr. Seraphim had to say.

5. The Marian Fathers have begun a new mission in the Philippines, hoping to establish a beachhead of mercy in Asia. So how's it going over there, anyway? It's a challenge, a grace-filled challenge. Father Mariusz Jarzabek, MIC, described the first year.

4. Kellie Ross heard these words in her heart: "Prepare yourself for travel. Prepare yourself for suffering. Prepare yourself for crosses." In June, Felix Carroll, editor of thedivinemercy.org, traveled with Kellie and her Virginia-based group, Missionaries of Our Lady of Divine Mercy, as it made its first voyage through the poor, west African nation of Cote d'Ivoire. Read all about it in this nine-part series

3. Pope Benedict XVI has declared the year that began June 19, 2009, as a Year for Priests. The faithful are asked to pray for vocations and for the spiritual renewal of priests. We asked several of our Marian seminarians what the priesthood means to them. Here's the response from Br. Jim McCormack, MIC.

2. As the plane was going down, this passenger thought about God, about death, about trust, about an extraordinary promise made by Jesus to St. Faustina. Read the witness of Fred Berretta, survivor of Flight 1549, which crash landed in the Hudson River on Jan. 15.

1. With its theme "Mercy: Our Hope," the North American Congress on Mercy brought together more than 700 people on Nov. 14-15 in Washington, D.C. It was prededed by a full-day Divine Mercy Networking Forum. So why is this number 1 on our list? Because the Mercy Congress challenges us to transform our hearts, our lives, our communities, and our continent. Read our full coverage of the Mercy Congress.

Remember in 2010: Trust in Jesus. Receive His mercy. And allow His mercy to flow through you to others. This is how we can change the world. Amen!

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barbara - Dec 28, 2009

Awesome. Thanks for this!!! Happy and blessed New Year to all!

Alberto from Puerto Rico - Dec 28, 2009

Thanks to the Lord for this merciful year 2009 and new year will be much better.Amen.

kurt - Dec 30, 2009

This is much much better a summery of the year than I've read in the newspapers and seen on tv.