Faith During Crisis: Lord, Have Mercy!
GREENSBURG — To help people of faith come together in prayer during this crisis, the Diocese of Greensburg is producing a one-hour Divine Mercy special broadcast to air on WTAE-TV, Channel 4, Sunday, April 19, at 2 p.m. The program will be available immediately afterward on the diocese’s website and at TheAccentOnline.org.
Bishop Edward C. Malesic will lead the service, “Faith During Crisis: Lord, Have Mercy!” He will reflect on the meaning of Divine Mercy and lead the praying of the Divine Mercy chaplet.
Citing the U.S. Navy hospital ships, Comfort and Mercy, that are providing humanitarian assistance during the COVID-19 crisis, Bishop Malesic said, “We need comfort and mercy, too.”
He praised the courage of the nurses, doctors and other people who continue to perform essential tasks for us these days. “They reflect the presence of God to us, and they remind us that we are made in God’s image, who is comfort and mercy for the world,” Bishop Malesic said.
“We must be the stewards of mercy and compassion, like the doctors, nurses and others in our hospitals today,” he said. “We have been healed as believers in Jesus. Share the healing. Share the mercy. Share the love. That’s how these gifts grow in our world, by planting the seeds of God’s compassion everywhere we go.”
Families from around the diocese will offer prayers and reflections about what Divine Mercy means to them during the COVID-19 outbreak. They are the family of Joe and Ashley Weishaar of St. Barbara Parish, Harrison City; the family of Drs. Christopher and Amanda Vaglia of St. Thomas More University Parish, Indiana; and the family of James and Michelle Parrish of Holy Trinity Parish, Ligonier.
The program also will feature Christopher Wu, a violinist from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra; Tom Franzak, a composer and performer; Tom Octave, the Diocesan Director of Sacred Music; and Christopher Pardini, Director of Liturgy and Music at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral Parish, Greensburg.
Additional reflections will be offered by Msgr. Raymond Riffle, managing director, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Greensburg; Father Tyler Bandura, director, Office for Priestly Vocations; and Father Daniel Ulishney, pastor, St. John Baptist de La Salle Parish, Delmont, and St. Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Export.
At the canonization of St. Faustina Kowalska on April 30, 2000, Pope John Paul II proclaimed that the Sunday after Easter would be Divine Mercy Sunday to celebrate the image and message Jesus presented to St. Faustina and to reflect on his mercy.
St. Faustina was born in 1905 to a poor peasant family in Poland. Named Helen, she was the third of 10 children. Despite their poverty, her parents taught the children the importance of living out their Catholic faith in daily life.
From a young age, Helen felt drawn to religious life, but she experienced many obstacles gaining admittance to a convent. She joined the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Warsaw in 1925, where she took the name Sister Maria Faustina. She continued to face trials and struggles and died of tuberculosis in 1938.
In a vision in 1931, Jesus gave St. Faustina the image that is at the center of Divine Mercy Sunday, the image of Jesus with white and red rays flowing from his heart and the words, “Jesus, I trust in you.”
“We should use these words often every day,” Bishop Malesic said. “’Jesus, I trust in you,’ especially when things are tough, like they are in so many places right now with fear of illness, reports of many deaths, high unemployment and the loneliness of our imposed social isolation.”
“Faith During Crisis: Lord, Have Mercy!” is being produced by the diocese’s Office of Communications and Evangelization. It is supported by the Knights of Columbus; the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women of the National Council of Catholic Women; the First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association; the Diocese of Greensburg’s Office of Catholic Schools; the diocese’s Men’s Ministry Team, the sponsors of THE WELL men’s conference; the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem; Saint Vincent College; Unity Printing; and Cinti PROAdjuster Chiropractic Clinic.