Conference on the Eucharist kicks off Divine Mercy Weekend

By Chris Sparks

“God brings a greater good, even out of immense evil. That’s Divine Mercy,” said Fr. Chris Alar, MIC, at the April 15 Divine Mercy Weekend Conference, which addressed the theme, “Devotion to Our Lord Present in the Most Holy Eucharist.” 

Hundreds of people from as far away as California, Texas, and Ontario, Canada, filled to capacity the St. Faustina Center on the grounds of the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. 

Father Donald Calloway, MIC (above), vicar provincial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy Province, and author of the global bestseller Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father, spoke first, on “St. Joseph, Protector of the Eucharist.” 

“Joseph is coming through in ways that are shocking,” Fr. Donald said, describing some of the incredible fruits of devotion to St. Joseph he’s seeing in the world today, especially the recent Year of St. Joseph (2020-2021), as a special gift from Heaven for our age. “He is so untapped — he is a reservoir of grace.”

Father Calloway discussed the state of the culture and the Church today, addressing St. Joseph’s role in interceding for the Church, the world, and our families as the traditional understandings of gender, sexuality, and marriage are attacked. Citing Venerable Mary of Agreda, he shared that she had recorded the fruits of devotion to St. Joseph, the first of which is purity.

“My friends, go to St. Joseph right now for mercy!” said Fr. Calloway. 

Father Chris Alar, MIC (above), provincial superior of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy Province, discussed “Eucharistic Miracles and the Real Presence of Christ.”

He began by sharing the many connections between the Divine Mercy message and devotion and the Eucharist, especially Divine Mercy Sunday Mass.

“Divine Mercy is loving the unlovable and forgiving the unforgivable,” said Fr. Chris, exhorting anyone with any unforgiveness in their hearts to take advantage of the many opportunities for Confession during Divine Mercy Weekend. “Nobody is worth losing your soul over, no matter what they’ve done.”

He quoted the late Pope Benedict XVI, who established the World Apostolic Congress on Mercy (WACOM): “Divine Mercy is not a secondary devotion but an integral dimension of Christian faith and prayer” (Regina Caeli, April 23, 2006).

“Yes, devotions are optional, but not this one, because it’s a devotion to God,” said Fr. Chris. “This is a devotion to Jesus Himself, not the saints.”

Also, on March 30, 2008, at the conclusion of that first WACOM, Pope Benedict said:

Indeed, mercy is the central nucleus of the Gospel message; it is the very name of God, the Face with which he revealed himself in the Old Covenant and fully in Jesus Christ, the incarnation of creative and redemptive Love. May this merciful love also shine on the face of the Church and show itself through the sacraments, in particular that of Reconciliation, and in works of charity, both communitarian and individual. May all that the Church says and does manifest the mercy God feels for man, and therefore for us.

Grace and trust
Father Chris shared the story of Ron Ragelis, a Marian Helper and Divine Mercy devotee whose trust in our Lord’s promises about the Divine Mercy Image was rewarded with a spectacular protection of his home during a terrible storm. 

“Grace is the way to get to Heaven, but the vessel by which we receive grace is trust,” said Fr. Chris.
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