Home / News & Events

Pope Benedict's Divine Mercy Mandate

In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI gave us "a mandate" to "go forth and be witnesses of God's mercy, a source of hope for every person and for the whole world."

Buy Now

Photo: Felix Carroll

Print this story

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter


Before she begins to painstakingly untangle a pileup of prayer requests on her voicemail each morning, before she begins fielding the several hundred daily callers whose disjointed voices cover the spectrum from desperation to delight, before she begins helping complete strangers grow in sanctity, Cathy Chichester heeds a reminder she keeps tacked to the wall beside her desk.

It says, "Before taking any calls, put on the armor of Christ."

All the workers in the Divine Mercy Intercessory Prayerline's office have their own routines to ready themselves. Cathy's routine includes turning to Ephesians 6:10-18, a passage that reads like a survival guide tailor made for prayer warriors such as herself. It's about building strength through union with the Lord, doing "all this in prayer, asking for God's help."

"OK, Lord," says Cathy, the prayerline's supervisor, one recent morning. "Now we're ready."

Ninety-nine years ago, amidst a broken, violent age, Blessed George Matulaitis-Matulewicz (1871-1927), took pen to paper in St. Petersburg, Russia, and laid out a plan for the future. Known as the "Renovator" of the Marians Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, he wrote how he wished to gather and train the laity so that they may join forces with the Marians to serve where the needs are greatest. He called it "one of the most pressing needs of our times" to "gather such people of good will around us and prepare them for such an apostolate, which would certainly result in the greater glory of God" (Journal of George Matulaitis-Matulewicz, 46-47).

A World in Need of Intercessors
Today, in a world arguably more broken and arguably more violent, the prayerline has become an extension of the Congregation's mission to be the presence of Christ to the world.

"Blessed George would be pleased," says Fr. Joseph, MIC, director of the Association of Marian Helpers. "This is a ministry that certainly addresses one of the most pressing needs of our times."

Those pressing needs became apparent more than 15 years ago when a trickle of prayer requests phoned in or mailed to the Marians grew to a daily deluge. Clearly, the world was in need of intercessors. In 1995, the prayerline was born, and since that time, the Marians have continually recruited, trained, and provided spiritual resources for lay intercessors who, through the power of prayer, serve as a spiritual bridge between heaven and earth, linking souls to the Holy Trinity.

Today, the ministry, headquartered in the Marian Helpers Center on the grounds of the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass., receives nearly 20,000 prayer requests a month by letter, phone, email, and through the Marians' website, thedivinemercy.org.

The needs are enormous. People request prayers not only for spiritual healing, but also for reconciliation of troubled marriages, for graces to endure chronic illnesses, for strength to overcome abusive or addictive behaviors, and for recovery from catastrophic injuries. Lately, with the economy experiencing a systemic collapse, requests have poured in regarding financial and economic needs.

"Throughout scripture, God's people are encouraged to intercede or pray for one another," says Fr. Joseph. "It is the Lord's intention that the members of the Body of Christ plea for His mercy, His life, His healing and the outpouring of His Holy Spirit on behalf of others who are experiencing injustice, suffering, or deprivation."

Prayer is the Business at Hand
On the face of it, with its rows of cubicles, the prayerline could double for a business office anywhere, except for a couple notable distinctions. Within those cubicles, those aren't operators standing by to take your order; they are intercessors standing by to take your prayer petition. And the business at hand here isn't financial (the service is free), but rather it's to serve others in a spirit of love and compassion.

"Hello, this is the prayerline. Brother Michael speaking, how may I pray for you today?" says Br. Michael Opalacz, MIC, upon picking up a blinking phone line.

In another cubicle, with images of the Blessed Mother and The Divine Mercy pinned strategically to the wall before him, volunteer Bill Jennings is telling a caller, "Let's take your troubles to the Lord and pray together."

Volunteer Claire Laydet is telling a caller, "Pray: Jesus, I trust in You!"

The intercessors don't offer counseling. They listen. They pray with callers, and they pray for callers and those who send their petitions via mail or electronically. Then, the intercessors pray for each intention in Our Lady of Mercy Oratory, located adjacent to the ministry's office. The intercessors pray for all intentions during their daily Holy Hour. The intentions are also remembered at two daily Masses, the 3 p.m. Hour of Great Mercy and in the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy.

Each intention is then placed into a prayer box beneath a 1st-class relic of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, the secretary and apostle of God's Mercy.

"We serve as prayerful listeners," explains volunteer Br. Paul-Robert Brandt, FSD. "We give people hope. We let them know they aren't alone."

Nearly 20 volunteers help answer calls, light candles, and pray for intentions in the oratory. Another 4,000 people from around the world also pray a holy hour each week for all the intentions that come into the prayerline.

Yes, prayers work!
Though the Marians' prayer warriors have come to consider most blinking phone lines to be a distress signal of some sort or another, that's not always the case. Almost daily, one of those blinking lines is a report of an answered prayer — a spiritual or physical healing, a job found, a condo sold, a successful surgery, a loved one who's returned to the Church.

Miracles? Perhaps. For the people of good will that Bl. George once imagined — the workers on the prayerline — such calls simply reinforce what they already know to be true: that prayer is one of the most practical things a person can do, because God hears us.

"Still, you're handling so much grief all day long," says Cathy, "and then you get an answered prayer, and it's like a ray of sunshine that came out for a minute.

"Then," she hastens to add, "it's back to work."

We invite you to call the prayerline (toll-free 1-800-804-3823), e-mail us (prayerline@marian.org), or write us with your prayer intention (Our mailing address is: The Divine Mercy Prayerline, Marian Helpers Center, Stockbridge, MA 01263).

Please consider helping the Marians continue this vital ministry during these difficult times. Learn more.

Print this story

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter


Be a part of the discussion. Add a comment now!

Theresa - Aug 10, 2009

I was one of those who was calling before 1995.

Prayer and Our Blessed Mother have been my Life-Line since my early childhood. When I was introduced to Divine Mercy in 1991 everything for me began to change. The Lord arranged for my day at work starting in 1992 to be so that I could close my office door at 2:55 pm. Five minutes before the Hour of Divine Mercy to ready myself. Those first 15 minutes were ALL His. And I even woke up at 3:00 am every morning, like on cue, and prayed the Chaplet; as well as at 6:00 am to pray the Angelus.

This Prayer Line has been more than a Blessing and I have often referred others to use it.

With the crisis of the state of the world, the Church and the need of our souls this Pray Line is pure GRACE.


maryS - Aug 10, 2009

I would like to express my sincerity to all prayer warriors who have done a great job, I know this is not an easy task but when you lay everything to HIM, "Before taking any calls, put on the armor of Christ."it turn out an easy task,HE is the one who do for the good of us,thank you Divine Mercy Prayerline,I am one who asked favor to pray for others who like to be prayed especially that they don't have internets,and praying for my family,Happy I am if they tells me that their prayers were answered,god bless you bountifully.Amen

Jacinta - Aug 12, 2009

I want to thank all the intercessors, your prayers have worked and will continue to work! Thank you for your faithfullness to us

sally - Oct 16, 2009

The Prayler line is so very powerful,kind, filled with grace and knowledge. I can feel their hand in mind, often holding me up, and bringing me to Christ in prayer. God Bless each and every one of you.

T.D. - Jan 21, 2011

We offer to the Father, all of Jesus Blood, Wounds, Passion, Merits, Works, Love, Mercy, Holy Face & all Holy Masses for our sins, the world & souls in purgatory every moment for all Eternity. To save as many souls as drops of blood Jesus shed during passion each moment & chastisement not severe until end of time. Void all sins & Ancestors sins of ours, the world, & our seeds. To bring healing to all of us- all areas. We consecrate all Diocese, parishes, families, individuals, countries, governments, leaders, all souls & every one to the Sacred Heart of Jesus & the Father, Immaculate Heart of Mary, & Blessed Trinity, & Precious Blood of Jesus each day for all eternity. Please have mercy on us-all areas, those we pray for, & assist us in all our needs – spiritual, physical, psychological, interpersonal, financial & interpersonal – every day until end of time. Please bring down miracles for us. In Jesus Name, Wounds, & Blood, Passion & Heart we pray. Amen
Please accept this as a silent prayer for each second of our lives, each breathe & every beats of our hearts & we dedicate this as acts of Worship, Love, thanksgiving, honor, praise, glory, surrender, trust, obedience, hope, towards Our Lord Jesus Christ every moment until eternity. In Jesus Name. Amen
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have Mercy in all areas of our lives. Amen
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us. Always
St. Joseph, Pray for us
All ye holy angels and saints, Pray for us Always. Amen.

MILA G. DAVID - May 12, 2011


Lois Ann - Nov 8, 2011

This past summer, I had the privilege to volunteer on the prayer line two days per week. This is serious work and the intercessors pour themselves into it! If people only knew the sincerity and true love of the intercessors, they would be in awe! This is truly Spiritual Warfare! The preparation and prayer that goes into every moment of every day on the prayerline is awesome! These people love their fellow man with a love that comes directly from the Holy Spirit. As a nurse for over thirty years, I believe that my work with the sick and dying prepared me for the work on the prayerline. When an intercessor picks up that phone, they have no idea who is on the other end. However, they do know who is with them as they listen, pray, and trust. The work is intense. There is no chatter as you would find in a workplace of another kind. The day begins with prayer and ends with prayer with lots of prayer in between. They wear the full armor of God and come and go with joy and trust in their hearts. This is a very special calling and I beg all who can to pray for those volunteers who man those phone lines day after day, lifting up to Jesus the needs that are so faithfully entrusted to them hour after hour, day after day, week after week. These prayer warriors live by the words of Divine Mercy.."Jesus I trust in you." Let us all keep them in our prayers. They are the unsung heroes of the message of Divine Mercy. It was my privilege to be a part of this ministry for the days I was there. God bless every one of you!

Nicole - Apr 2, 2013

My life has been utterly destroyed. I have been stalked for nearly 2 years. I've lost everything, job & home. I cannot take anymore. God has been silent to my cries & pleading. I can't even pray anymore, it seems to be in vain. I specifically need prayer for God to reveal these persons identity to the police. The authorities (seem) to be treating me as though I am mentally ill & constructed this elaborate story, which I didn't. What has happened to me is true. Thanks for praying for me.

Tom - Jan 27, 2014

I love the rosary.

Jos - Mar 27, 2014

Prayer for All Sinners:

Yahweh our God. We commit this world and everything into your hands forever. With all souls, sinners, our families, bloodline, hopes, works, relationships and future. Have mercy on us always through the blood, wounds, face , heart and works of Jesus our Lord. Bless our ways, Grant us protection ,safety and final perseverance always. in Jesus Name. We Pray. Amen.

barbara - May 24, 2014

PLEASE, PLEASE PRAY & FAST FOR COMPLETE, PERMANENT DELIVERANCE VERY QUICKLY FROM MAJOR ABANDONMENT ISSUES, LIFELONG DEPRESSION & ANXIETY.& FEAR OF LOVE. ALSO FOR EXACTLY THE RIGHT MEDICATION WITH NO SIDE EFFECTS. And, for my son whose girlfriend broke up with him and he is sad (he has had some struggles with depression also)...:((( Also, for Greg to make the right decision about a job and home. PLEASE leave me on the list permanently! THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Kathleen - Jul 10, 2014

I became a Divine Prayer Warrior a few months ago. Some of my prayers for my family have been answered and I find comfort knowing that I can pray for many more thru this prayer line. Jesus I trust In YOY>

Debbie - Nov 27, 2014

restoration for my family. Soften Tyson's heart to not follow through with this divorce. Bring us back to a whole family again and protect my children's hearts during all of this
Please strong prayers my heart is so broken

Josseph - Dec 7, 2014

Prayer for whole world and all people always.

Lord, God of Host, Protect & Forgive all & our families forever, through Jesus blood, wounds, Face, crown, works of his heart. In Jesus Name. Amen
Please protect and bless every one and their families. Grant them blessings of temporal and spiritual, guidance, and help in all their needs and necessities, defend from evil forces, bring them safely home to heaven. Grant them all types of protections for ever and ever. in Jesus Name. Amen.Amen.Amen.

Karin - Jun 1, 2015

Prayer warriors, I'm writing for intercessory help in breaking bondages (generational) for my son/descendants/ancestors/aunts/uncles, myself, nieces/nephews/parents, grandparents, greatgrandparents, etc. There's leukemia in our family, deliverance healing, my cousins, breaking chains, fevers, excommunication in ancestry. Thank you!

David - Sep 2, 2015

Please pray that I always totally forget myself and always try to console Our Lord in the best possible way.

Sandra - Jun 25, 2016

I need your pray.....because someone with powerful.....is rape me....torture....abuse....kissing my bladder......and punishment my self. If I said something...he surfer all my personal.....parts....and he erased my indentitied.....DNA,cell, plasma....to give everything.....to transexual.....Beyonce Knowles carter....she is a singer.....from rb...she is a black.....goat..and he want her be white....stolling. ...any christian....baptized...white soul....she soul....her to the devil...and go things with him......