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Bryan Thatcher, beside a shipping container filled medical supplies. As the founder of Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy, Bryan has spearheaded efforts to send supplies to the neediest countries around the world — all in the name of Jesus Christ, The Divine Mercy.

How Did We Get Where We Are?

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By Bryan Thatcher, MD (Jan 24, 2011)
Maybe you've heard of us — the Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy (EADM), a lay outreach ministry of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. We bring the message of The Divine Mercy to communities around the world. Working together with the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy and the Association of Marian Helpers in Stockbridge, Mass., we promote and teach the authentic forms of the message and devotion to The Divine Mercy and encourage people to live out the message of mercy in their daily lives.

So what is our history. Since many people have asked, here is the abbreviated — but nonetheless, inspiring (we hope) — version:

The Diary as Springboard
The ministry started in 1994 at Nativity Catholic Church in Brandon, Fla. The pastor, Fr. Jaime Lara, was forming small Christian communities. Groups of eight to 12 people would gather weekly to discuss the next week's Gospel readings. Inspired by the Diary of St. Faustina, I suggested we use this mystical piece of writing in a systematic way and discuss the readings. Father Lara was supportive and gave me permission. The group size varied from 6 to18 people, and we met weekly for several years in our home. The people really enjoyed the song, prayer, faith-sharing, and fellowship, and we grew closer, spiritually. We became like family.

Around this time I received literature on the Eucharistic miracle of Betania, Venezuela. I was intrigued and began to read and learn as much as I could on the Eucharist. In 1995, I took my wife, parents, and our three children and traveled across Italy to several sites of Eucharistic miracles. I understood how the Eucharist was tied in to the message of mercy, and I wanted to spread to laity the truth of the Real Presence whenever and wherever I could.

Afterwards, that same year I approached the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, and then the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Krakow, Poland (St. Faustina's order), to find out if any formal Divine Mercy programs for the laity existed. They both said no. Upon my persistence, I faxed a letter to a gentleman from England. This man had been taking a speaker on Divine Mercy, Sister Gratia, around the United States speaking on Divine Mercy. I asked him about any lay groups and lay formation on Divine Mercy. A few hours later, I received a fax stating the Cardinal Franciszek Macharsk, then the archbishop of Krakow, Poland, and the nuns in Poland were discussing that very issue, and that because of my inquiry, my wife and I would be invited to a gathering in Poland in February, 1996, to discuss the very issue. At the convent, my love and understanding and desire to spread the message of Mercy continued to grow.

An Idea Takes Off
Our group in Brandon continued to meet, and I decided to put formal lessons together in a book that was printed in 1996. A nonprofit corporation was also set up that year, and I began to speak more at conferences, and word began to spread of our work.

We held a large Divine Mercy conference in 1996 in Tampa. More than 1,100 people attended. We printed our first formation manual in 1997 that contained the first 50 lessons of our prayer group. Also, we had a large conference in Tampa titled, "Divine Mercy as a Way of Life." This later became a focal point of our ministry as we tried to assist laity in learning and living the message of Divine Mercy. Soon thereafter, I received an invitation from Cardinal Pio Taofinuu to speak in Western Samoa, and in early 1998 Bishop Charles Kweku Sam from the Diocese of Sekondi-Takoradi, in Ghana, invited me to come to Ghana to speak at his diocese. Our outreach program was in its infancy, and soon thereafter we began large shipment of medical supplies, sewing machines, religious items, and clothing to the poor. Through our efforts, a trade school and home for disabled was built in Eikwe-Nzema, Ghana.

The Marians Come Calling
By 1998, we were a busy ministry. I was in contact with Fr. John Hardon, S.J., who suggested we come under the auspices of the Archbishop in Chicago because of our Eucharistic work. Shortly thereafter, I received a call from the preeminent Divine Mercy scholar, Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, regarding the ministry. I explained our work, and he suggested we come under the authority of the Congregation of Marians as our work was more Divine Mercy based. This was done in 1998; Father assisted me in revising and completing the formation manuals.

My first trip to the Philippines was in 1998. I met Monsignor Josefino Ramirez and discussed the ministry. I spoke at various venues, and the ministry began to actively and quickly spread there. Since then we have shipped tons of medical and other supplies to the Philippines over the years. Also in 1998, we received a special Apostolic blessing on our work and to those who support the ministry. With the assistance of Paul Regan and Oscar Delgado, we began to work on getting people to pray for the sick and dying in Adoration chapels.

In late 1999, we received from Pope John Paul II an apostolic blessing for those praying the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy during Eucharistic Adoration. We also began sending out copies of the blessing to chapels that participated. Currently there are more than 600 chapels where the Divine Mercy Chaplet is said during Adoration for those sick and dying in that hour. We published a booklet and flier explaining the promises of the Chaplet, and that aspect of the ministry became active shortly thereafter.

The next few years saw many doors open to spread the message in the United States through conferences, as well as overseas through our trips and shipments of supplies. I spoke at major conferences across the U.S., and during the next three years traveled to Portugal, Nigeria, Kenya, Peru, Ecuador, Samoa, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Ukraine, and India. Our shipments includes those countries but also we shipped containers to Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Liberia, Tanzania, Uganda, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Indonesia.

A New Millennium, Focused on Christ
In 2001, Trish Short produced a video and DVD on the ministry called "I Am a Voice." Later that year, and with her help, EADM published a more contemporary version of the Chaplet that has since become extremely popular.

In 2002, EADM began to speak more on the sanctity of life and the message of mercy. I spoke with Fr. Frank Pavone, of Priests for Life, and we decided to put together a book on healing from abortion through Divine Mercy. Titled Rachel, Weep No More, it has become a popular book for laity on the subject. In tandem, cenacle membership began to grow, in part due to the EWTN series that first aired in the Lenten season of 2004. This was broadcast to many countries, and inquiries on the ministry began coming in. Groups of laity wanting to study and pray and learn more about Divine Mercy continued to grow. It is estimated that more than 3,000 cenacles have formed in the U.S. alone. Involvement in our work also now extends to 35 countries, including places like Namibia, Togo, and Papua New Guinea.

With the help of the Marians' then Vice General and now General Jon Rokosz, MIC, a special Apostolic blessing was received in 2003 for EADM and all the faithful who pray the Chaplet for pro-life causes. For us, it is a very special blessing. The Holy Father John Paul II was suffering from severe Parkinson's disease, and his signature is smudged. Also, the Marians' Founder, Blessed Stanislaus of Jesus and Mary Papczynski, was beatified in 2007 through a pro-life miracle; this affirmed and confirmed the work of EADM in its pro-life work.

To Rwanda and Back
In late 2003, EADM received a request to help ship an 18-foot tall statue of Divine Mercy to Rwanda. This was done in early 2004, and in December 2004 I visited Rwanda with Fr. Seraphim and discussed future plans with Rwandan missionary Fr Leszek Czelusniak, MIC. In 2010 we held a large conference in Tampa with more than 1,100 in attendance. All monies raised went to Fr. Leszek's ministry.

Since 2005, when we taped a second cenacle series for EWTN and completed the accompanying study guide, cenacle growth in the U.S. and overseas continued, and our manuals were translated into Spanish and Portuguese. In 2005 we traveled to Brazil and spoke at the Divine Mercy conference coordinated by the Marians there.

Sitting on my desk, I have had a book outline finished on a study program for laity based on the Blessed Mother. For those just starting, it would now probably be the first book for laity to read, and then for those interested, they could delve into the message of Divine Mercy formation program. For those EADM cenacles already formed, they could use the manual on Mary after completing the Divine Mercy program.

We have tried during the last few years to assist of fellow Marian lay apostolates, Mother of Mercy Messengers (MOMM) and Healthcare Professionals for Divine Mercy; both these serve vital areas of the Church in spreading the message of Divine Mercy. I have spoken at the Healthcare Professionals conference yearly since the conferences started in 2005.

As the Marians explored and eventually sent priests to assist in the Philippines in 2008, our efforts have been focused there. Multiple containers of supplies have been sent. In 2011, I hope to visit the Philippines and begin developing and assisting in the building of a medical clinic/hospital in Mindanao at the Divine Mercy Shrine there. This will be a major focus of my attention after the manual on the Blessed Mother is completed.

Back Home
During all these years, our family size grew to seven children, and both my parents died. I was involved in the daily care of my father for the last two years of his life. Clare Therese was born in December 2006; my wife was 50 years old at the time. I thank God for giving me the strength to persevere and continue in times of trial. Though the times were difficult, they were times of even greater joy. I believe this understanding came as a result of the Divine Mercy message.

This brief history of EADM does not begin to come close to expressing my feelings about what a joy it has been to be involved in spreading the message of Divine Mercy, and also how I know that Our Lady has been watching over me, protecting me, and guiding me. I hope that in my small way the manual on understanding Mary will guide people close to her.

Lastly, for me the clinic in Mindanao encapsulates the fullness of the message; the Marians are caretakers of the Shrine there, a Shrine for spiritual growth. I hope to help build a clinic where the corporal works are practiced. This work of mercy will be at the site of spiritual renewal, and hopefully I will be able to use my medical knowledge to make this a reality.

I wish to express my heartfelt thanks to Fr. Seraphim and Fr. Kazimir Chwalek, MIC, for their unwavering support; to Fr. Joe Roesch, MIC, for his mentoring and guidance of our ministry as General Promoter of EADM; and to Father General Jon Rokosz, who has always encouraged me and affirmed our work.

Dr. Bryan Thatcher is the founder of Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy (EADM), an apostolate of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception.

Learn how to start a Divine Mercy cenacle in your area.

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Mary - Jan 24, 2011

It's so wonderful to see the work that this group is doing. Congratulations EADM!

Laura - Jan 24, 2011

I am so thankful that I came to know Divine Mercy both in my personal life as well as a particpant in a cenacle. Through the diary I learned what humility is.

Kathy - Jan 25, 2011

Bryan...this is such an inspiring story! May God continue to bless you in this ministry and guide as you seek His will. Congratulations!

maryS - Jan 25, 2011

Bryan your heart is to big and the flow of your blessing is over flowing,God love you and bless you always.

Fr. Joe Roesch, MIC - Jan 25, 2011

Congratulations Bryan! If we do our part, God will certainly do the rest!!

Stephanie - Jan 25, 2011

Love this article! Just like Mary, your yes allowed His grace to flow through you to others. The message of Divine Mercy IS life changing. Thanks so much for bringing the message of Divine Mercy to the laity. - - By the way, can't wait to read your book about Our Lady!!!

Annie Karto - Jan 25, 2011

Bryan...it has been a wonderful blessing to see the EADM cenacles and ministry bloom and blossom through the years. Thank you for the opportunities for sharing His incredible Divine Mercy through the years. What a beautiful experience to be a small part of EADM... Good work...both to you and Sue and family...Annie Karto

Joley - Jan 25, 2011

God Bless you Bryan and all those holy souls that heard your sincere message of mercy, saw it lived through your sacrificial love and were inspired to grow the most beautiful ministry I have had the privledge to be a part of. God will always bless those who choose service over glory and in these troubled times where the need for selfless sacrifical love is most needed, I thank our Savior for your shining example of pure humble work that grows in Gods good hands. Praise Jesus for you and the work you so faithfully give to our hurting world.

Andrea - Jan 25, 2011



Thank you for all you continue to do. You are a real inspiration for us as we begin our first Cenacle meeting this week! May God bless you all!!

MARIA CARLOS - Jan 25, 2011

What a great story. I am a Filipino by birth and Canadian citizen at this time. It has been my dream to go back to the Philippines and visit the Shrine of the Marians in Mindanao. I am a registered nurse here in Ontario and as well in the Philippines where I did my 4 years of nursing degree. I would loved to help with your plan in doing a mission clinic and serve the poorest of the poor in my country of origin. I have been praying that I will be given an opportunity to visit the Philippines and help do the corporal works of mercy for my countrymen. If given the opportunity to do it, I would be so grateful to offer my service. Let me know how and I will planned my vacation from work and do the mission with you.
GOD BLESS YOU ON YOUR GOOD WORK !

MABUHAY !

sincerely in the name of JMJ+all saints+angels in heaven,

maria

Trish Short - Jan 25, 2011

Beautiful & miraculous HIStory! The fruit of your faithfulness to EADM is so evident as it continues to expand, evolve and flourish. Thanks be to God Bryan, for you & EADM, for the blessing you've been to our lives and for the good works that just keep coming!

Agnes - Jan 28, 2011

Thank you Dr. Byran for the sharing. Its is through you that the vessels of Merciful Jesus are reaching us all over the world. Your experience is wonderful.Thank Merciful Jesus for his calling to serve Him.

Amy - Canada Jan. 29,2010 - Jan 30, 2011

It was such a wonderful calling, Dr. Thatcher, you've been guided by our Lord Jesus and our heavenly Mother to do such tasks. I'd like to ask you a favor to send me a copy of your revised study guide manual. At the moment I can only help introduce the Chaplet through leaflets. Thank you and God bless you.

Joan - Jan 30, 2011

Thanks be to God for your being a visible effective channel of divine mercy. You are a role model to me here in Zimbabwe. I get opportunities to give talks/recollection and retreats. I hope in each chance i will reach out local communities about EADM. Pray that the outreach receptivity flourishes. Will keep you informed

Fr.Charles Abbud /South - Sudan - Jan 30, 2011

Yes Dr.Bryan, you really deserve mony thanks and congratulation for the work you do. I have no doubt of what you do.please keep up your work. We in Southern Sudan really apprecate what you and your group do.may God help you to bring Christ to the people of South Sudan a new country to be in future. God bless you.

Mary Lou Pimentel - Feb 2, 2011

It is with great joy to share to you, brother Bryan that three days ago new Divine Mercy cenacle was started in the North-West of The Netherlands.From one small-faith community in Purmerend, now we are heading to other towns & villages of the region. EADM is sparkling and for that GLORY and PRAISE TO HIS LOVING MERCY through your awesome initiative . Onward we go carrying the banner of Jesus' sparkling mercy. Amen !

imma - Feb 6, 2011

Greetings from Cebu, Philippines.Indeed the EADM here in Cebu is growing and attracting members from different parishes. we are now in our 11th year as EADM since Bryan came to Cebu and we are blessed that he bring EADM to us...Hope you can visit here again...

Cora Tenza - Feb 6, 2011

Dr. Brian, your Divine Mercy story is very inspiring. For almost 5 years now, i"ve been trying to spread the Divine Mercy devotion and the Mercy Sunday novena in a city here in California where I found my retirement home (which from the start, I've felt, has been given to me by the Divine Mercy to help in this work). I just hope to be able to access your books and hope too that you would be able to help. Three months ago, our ministry was accepted as a parish ministry by the parish priest. We are at our infancy yet. We need your prayer and support.

Raul - Feb 13, 2011

My wife and I have been devotees of The Divine Mercy and members of a Catholic prayer group while we were still in the Philippines. Our family moved to Canada in 2008 and we have been praying to God to help find a new community that will help us in our spiritual journey, service and devotion. In 2009, Dr. Bryan Thatcher was invited to speak about the Divine Mercy, my wife and I attended his lecture and got to know some of the organizers who are actually members a EADM cenacle. Several weeks later, they invited us to their home to meet the other memebers of the cenacle and to pray the chaplet of the Divine Mercy. Last week they invited us in their prayer meeting and afterwards asked us if we wanted to be regular members of their EADM cenacle. God in His infinite goodness trully knows how we seek to be part of His Dine Mercy ministry and we are really so much blessed to be accepted to this beautiful community!

Maria Roda - Feb 16, 2011

Thank you for enriching us by reaching out to us.A movement is also growing in Zimbabwe.May the Divine Mercy envelope and embrace you and your family for ertenity.

Lester U. Lim - Jul 13, 2011

Thank you for visiting the Shrine Dr. Bryan. I was the one who approached you and asked if you have a blog on the internet. Your talk this afternoon touched the hearts of everyone and may the Merciful Heart of Jesus continue to pour His blessings on you, your family and all your good works.

CHI - Apr 20, 2012

God bless you Bryan for the wonderful work you're doing.your report is such a huge encouragement.Am so touched that your wife had a baby at 50,it's such a lift for me.we are waiting on God for the blessing of children after 10years of marriage.I trust the Merciful Jesus

Agnes B - May 5, 2013

Thank you Merciful Jesus for graces that you shower all the Apostles of Divine Mercy. It is a very interesting write-up and inspiring for some of us who are struggle to help our parishes in Uganda start cenacle groups you pray for us.

Marie Virelle - Mar 3, 2016

God Bless you Bryan for sharing with us your blessings. I have learned a lot about the mission and I am committed to share with other. Thank you and the Grace of our Lord be upong you...

George Hunter - Mar 13, 2016

A very inspirational story, indeed. Thank you for sharing in so many ways, Bryan. May you continue to be blessed in your deeds and through your message of hope and love.