"In You Did It to Me, Fr. Michael Gaitley [MIC] has a genius for bringing together the spiritual and corporal works of mercy under the umbrella of 'The Five Scriptural Works... Read more
Taking It to the Streets
Jerry Bauman, from Scranton, Pennsylvania, the founder of Operation Mercy Relief and Divine Mercy for Youth, has been taking Divine Mercy to the streets — the housing projects of his surrounding counties.
For the past four years, Jerry has been doing street ministry in the poorer neighborhoods in his county. For the past two years, though, he has wanted to do something more but didn't have the funds to do it. Finally, in 2016, through the help of some friends, a grant, and money from his own painting business, Jerry was able to make the Operation Mercy Relief Food Trailer.
By Aug. 15, 2016, the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, the images of Mary (holding the Christ Child), St. Faustina, and the Divine Mercy Image were wrapped around the trailer, and it was ready to hit the streets!
The first place Jerry took the trailer was to his local Catholic Church to be blessed by a priest and consecrated to the Blessed Virgin Mary in a Mass.
With this trailer, Jerry, his godchildren, and volunteers, bring the message of Divine Mercy to the hearts of youth by first reaching their stomachs with a slice of pizza.
"In the very beginning stages, we knew that there were already ministries existing in the projects — medical clinics, youth outreaches — so we decided to partner with them," Jerry said. "We go to events and clinics and set up our trailer and serve pizza and drinks to the people who come up to us."
Michael Bousante, a member of the board of directors of Operation Mercy Relief, also owns Dino's Italian Bistro in Shavertown, Pennsylvania, and donates all of the ingredients and production of the pizza. Jerry and his board of directors also use their own funds to make care packages of personal hygiene items to hand out to the children.
Jerry doesn't know if these children go to church. He doesn't know if they are even baptized. He doesn't ask. But he does know that they are hungering for more than food. As St. Teresa of Calcutta often said, the poverty of being unloved, uncared for, without God, is a greater poverty than a lack of food. Jerry, his godchildren, and his board of directors are working hard to end that greater poverty.
Jerry has found that the most effective way to bring the message of Divine Mercy to the youth is through imagery. When the children come up for hot pizza, they start asking questions about the images on the trailer. "Is that Jesus? What's the red and white coming from His Heart? Who is that Lady?"
Jerry has created prayercards of Divine Mercy and Our Lady specifically for children. He passes them out to the children with little stands so that they can put them on their nightstands or tables in their home.
"First we bring the Image to them," he said. "Then we start teaching them how to begin a dialogue with our Lord, how to start talking to Him as a friend. We teach them how to listen to Jesus in the quiet of their hearts and to recognize the Lord in their daily lives. Finally, we direct them to the Catholic Church."
Visit DivineMercyForYouth.org for more information about Operation Mercy Relief and Divine Mercy for Youth.