Save the Country, One Prayer at a Time
By Dan Valenti (Jan 21, 2013)
Mother of Mercy Messengers (MOMM), an apostolate of the Marian Fathers, is taking this Year of Faith to America. Never one for half measures, Joan and Dave Maroney, the husband-and-wife team who founded and direct MOMM, responded to an impulse from the Holy Spirit with a national campaign. The campaign is inspired by the suffering of Poland, the emergence there of the Divine Mercy message, and a pragmatic means to bring a spiritual initiative to America.
Poland? How does that fit?
"We discovered from St. Faustina's Diary the many times she was asked to pray or sacrifice for Poland," says Joan (see, for example, Diary passages 39, 59, 60, 286, 325, 391, 714, 818, 1188, 1206, 1251, 1533, and 1732). "We wondered why the Lord was so angry with Poland? What was going on?"
God was angry at Poland because of abortion, Joan says. She cites Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, in noting that between World War I and II, Warsaw was the abortion capital of the world. According to Fr. Seraphim, one of the world's leading authorities on Divine Mercy and the life of St. Faustina, one in three babies in that city were aborted during that time. A little more than one year after the death of St. Faustina in 1938, the war delivered 700,000 deaths, with nine of every 10 monuments in the city destroyed.
With that discovery came a realization: "Despite how 'angry' God was with Poland and how it suffered during World War II, the Divine Mercy message and devotion nonetheless rose out of the ashes. Saint Faustina responded to the Lord's requests for Poland. Dave and I felt we should do the same, because when you are praying to Jesus, the Divine Mercy, you are praying for the United States and for the whole world. This is a message of solidarity with and for souls around the world."
The Great Effect of Prayer
"This message" is MOMM's "Divine Mercy for America" campaign.
"In reading more about St. Faustina, we learn that her prayers had great effect," Dave Maroney says. "One time, meditating on the Passion of the Lord, Jesus showed St. Faustina that 1,000 souls had received grace because of her prayers. We figured we should follow in St. Faustina's footsteps and teach people to pray as she did. However, knowing we are not saints, we quickly realized that we must begin with striving for sanctity, as she did. Thus, "Divine Mercy for America" begins with taking steps that lead in the direction of personal holiness. This is perfect, because it fits right in with the intention of this the Year of Faith, declared by Pope Benedict XVI to run from Oct. 11, 2012 to Nov. 24, 2013.
Joan and Dave say that the Divine Mercy for America campaign is based on the proven power of the message and devotions, plus the promises Divine Mercury holds for the salvation of our country. They present the basics of Divine Mercy in a way "that ties us to the history of the devotion and its efficaciousness throughout its journey to today. The limitation is the amount of trust we place in the promises and how much we utilize the told the Lord has given us.
"Our campaign is intended to remind us to the empowerment we have at our disposal and the privilege we have to respond," Joan says. "And, we just don't talk about it. We provide practical ways to put it into practice. We look forward to continuing to make materials, films, and all kinds of resources available to people in helping them connect with their faith."
Providing the Materials to Aid in Personal Holiness
MOMM has a full line of products devoted to the Divine Mercy message. In addition to MOMM's regular product line, Joan and Dave have printed 20,000 fliers and prayer guides for the Divine Mercy for America campaign. They have also mailed out information packets to Divine Mercy promoters across the country.
"Already, several [promoters] have put these materials to good use," Joan says. "Our goal is to work in a collaborative way with all those who are spreading Divine Mercy across the country. Eventually, we want to include the world — for example, Divine Mercy for Canada, Divine Mercy for Scotland, and the like."
Moreover, Mother of Mercy Messengers is in the process of developing a website (divinemercyforamerica.org) that will have the history of Divine Mercy and also share practical, concrete ways people can join the campaign and promote it. These practices include:
• Spiritual reading
• Daily meditation
• Praying the Rosary
• Praying the Divine Mercy chaplet
• Meditating on the Passion of Christ
• Going on a retreat
• Frequently participating in Mass
• Frequent reception of the Sacraments, especially confession and Communion
• Gratitude for one's blessings
• Cultivating awareness of the good God has placed in the world and in our personal lives.
MOMM hopes to enlist one million Catholics praying for America. Joan and Dave hope the Divine Mercy for America campaign reaches all 50 states, into as many dioceses as possible. To that end, they are working on a national radio and media campaign.
For example, Divine Mercy promoters in the Sacramento, Calif., area are planning to place Divine Mercy billboards and banners all over the area. "That is something we would like to see duplicated," Joan says.
Presentations Upcoming in Oakland, Calif., Area
MOMM launched the Divine Mercy for America campaign in October 2012, in Sacramento, with a Divine Mercy healing service. Joan and Dave were part of the service, gave a brief presentation, and led a Holy Hour with the help of Christian singer Annie Karto. As they did this, area priests heard confessions, and two of them were anointing people with oil blessed in honor of St. Faustina as people knelt in veneration before the image of the Divine Mercy. Later in the year, MOMM took part in another such healing service in Falfurrias, Texas.
Later this month, MOMM will deliver a series of youth presentations in the diocese of Oakland, Calif. While they will be aimed at youth, they will also be of benefit to adults. On Jan. 19, MOMM will be part of Divine Mercy for Leaders workshop, aimed at furthering the knowledge of those people who have already demonstrated an interest in and a commitment to living and spreading the message and devotion. MOMM will be sharing pragmatic ways leaders can implement Divine Mercy personal and in their respective parishes.
Joan and Dave say the Diocese of Oakland has been most receptive to the MOMM initiatives. They give particular credit to Fr. Carl Arcosa. Father Carl, a native of the Philippines, was ordained to the priesthood on May 18, 2007, by Archbishop Allen Vigernon of Archdiocese of Detroit, Mich.
Last July, Archbishop Salvatore Cordelione of the San Francisco Archdiocese, in his then-position as Bishop of Oakland, named Fr. Carl chaplain for the Divine Mercy movement in the Diocese of Oakland. Father Carl has been a devoted promoter of Divine Mercy, say Joan and Dave. For example, last year he hosted the Marian Fathers' evangelization team led by Fr. Dan Cambra, MIC, to present a parish mission.
"The point is," Joan says, "Fr. Carl is all over Divine Mercy."
In the end, the Divine Mercy for America campaign is in God's hands. Nonetheless, it's important to keep in mind that He depends on us to carry out His will here on earth with our own hands and actions.
Dave and Joan Maroney have stepped up to the plate to answer the call.
For more information on the Divine Mercy for America campaign for the Year of Faith, contact MOMM at 830-634-7765 or 956-627-0439. You can also send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on MOMM, visit thedivinemercy.org/momm.