Pastor battling cancer tells faithful to fill churches

Pastor tells faithful to fill churches

By Jennifer Miele

He is affectionately known as the “Catholic magnet” of the Irwin community because his messages truly stick with his parishioners. Each week he successfully draws thousands of the faithful closer to Christ.

That is why nearly 10,000 viewers tuned in to watch Father John A. Moineau’s YouTube video mid-July, recorded and posted to announce his diagnosis of  stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

“Your individual prayers and community prayers outside of Mass are awesome, but there is nothing that gives me more solace than to know that you are filling the churches and going to sacred Mass, especially when, during my treatments, I may not be able celebrate Mass,” he said.

Father Moineau, Pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, North Huntingdon, and Immaculate Conception Parish, Irwin, called on the faithful to be “Born Again — Catholic.”

“That means that we come to realize the source and summit of our worship, the Holy Eucharist, can be partnered and feed our other community prayers as well as our personal and public devotions, especially the devotion of the Divine Mercy,” Father Moineau said.
“All these things are so important to me.  If I can do anything through this journey, I hope it is to bring all of us together in prayer.”

His personal evangelization outreach is taking root as faithful across his community have begun to gather to pray the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy, many of them children.

“I think our children need to know that prayers are necessary. Sometimes I act like Superman. But sometimes Superman needs help. The kids need to know that their priest loves them, and he needs and desires their prayers.”

Father Moineau has been deeply affected by the life and spiritual vision of St. Faustina. As he deals with this part of his journey of a lifetime, he has asked all of us to walk beside him and support him along the way. Sickness is a journey that we ultimately must walk alone, but no one is ever alone if he or she understands that the presence of the Good Shepherd will follow them. 

Our prayers are directed to God for Father Moineau’s healing and health. As he has requested, let us ask the Lord to guide him, comfort him and draw people closer to God through his illness. 

Students from Queen of Angels Catholic School, Irwin, drew inspirational messages for  Father John A. Moineau after a July prayer service at the school. Families from the school prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet at the service.

What is Divine Mercy?

In the years following World War I, a young Polish girl from a poor family felt a call to holiness in her heart. However, in trying to follow that call, she received countless rejections from convents because of her appearance and poverty. Finally, she was granted entry into the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, where she did simple work in the kitchen and garden.

But even as she did these daily tasks, she knew that she had been chosen to do God’s work. In fact, she ended up telling the world about the message of mercy which Jesus entrusted to her: namely, that His mercy is greater than our sins, and that we must proclaim our trust in Jesus.

That young Polish girl became Sister Faustina Kowalska. She died in 1938, and afterward her many spiritual experiences were found documented in her diary. That text has had a profound influence on many who practice the Catholic faith.

The now-famous image of Merciful Jesus, popularly known as the Image of Divine Mercy, was painted in 1934 according to the visions of Sister Faustina.

She became the first saint canonized in the new millennium, and the universal Church began to celebrate Divine Mercy.

The Chaplet of Divine Mercy has special significance for those who are seriously ill. In one instance, Jesus told St. Faustina: “It pleases me to grant everything souls ask of me by saying the chaplet.  When hardened sinners say it, I will fill their souls with peace, and the hour of their death will be a happy one.”


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