Be Transformed: Divine Mercy Buffalo 2016

Nearly 1,000 people gathered in Our Lady of Victory Basilica in Lackawanna, New York, on Saturday, Aug. 27, for the "Be Transformed" Divine Mercy Buffalo Conference.

The morning began with Fr. Chris Alar, MIC, director of the Association of Marian Helpers, speaking on "Divine Mercy 101" and explaining the essence of the Divine Mercy message.

Father Chris said, "There is no more important message in the world today than Divine Mercy."

He spoke about the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and especially on the importance of using it to intercede for the dying and deceased. Father Chris gave his witness about being told 10 years after his grandmother's suicide to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for her soul, trusting that the mercy of God (who is outside of time) might lead her to final penitence in those moments before her death.

Father Chris emphasized that Jesus never asked for the Chaplet to be said during the Hour of Great Mercy at 3 p.m., but rather that we immerse ourselves in God's mercy and pray the Stations of the Cross when the clock strikes 3. If you cannot pray the stations, at least stop in a chapel for a moment if possible, and meditate for a moment on the Passion of our Lord Jesus.

See Fr. Chris explain more about Divine Mercy in our new webinar series, Divine Mercy Matters.

Other featured speakers included Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, and Dr. Scott Hahn.

Father Don spoke on "The Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy: Weapons of Spiritual Warfare and Instruments of Mercy." Sharing from his latest book, Champions of the Rosary, he said, "the Rosary is a spiritual sword to be used against the enemy."

Father Don shared that it is with the sword of the Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, the weapon of mercy, that we fight our enemy, Satan, who prowls about the world seeking the ruin of souls. He urged everyone to pray the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet for protection and the salvation of souls.

Dr. Scott Hahn gave the last presentation of the day, "Transformed by Divine Mercy." Dr. Hahn explained the Scriptural basis of Divine Mercy and the Jubilee Year of Mercy. The Jubilee Year comes from Old Testament times, as recorded in the Book of Leviticus, chapters 23 and 25.

Dr. Hahn explained that our Father in Heaven is a merciful Father, for He has made a covenant with us in Jesus. This means "we are children of a family, not employees in a factory." The Lord is able and willing to repair a broken covenant when we sin.

The Very Rev. Fr. Kazimierz Chwalek, MIC, provincial superior for the Marian Fathers in the United States and Argentina, was the homilist at Mass for the day, which just so happened to be the memorial of St. Monica. He enocuraged the congregation to be like St. Monica and take advantage of every opportunity for prayer. He said, "Invest today for the future by your tears, prayers, and penance on behalf of your loved ones."

The conference ended with a Q&A session with the speakers and a Eucharistic Holy Hour, at which the Chaplet of Divine Mercy was sung by Fr. Bill Qumlivan, Pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Tonawana, New York.

All proceeds from the Conference went towards the seminarian fund for the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. If you want to help support the priests of tomorrow please see our Vocations Support page.

Kathy Wabick, former coordinator of the Buffalo Conference and founding member of the Disciples of Divine Mercy in the Holy Face of Jesus, said that the record number for this year's Conference attendance was largely attributed to the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

She said, "We wanted people to know that being 'merciful like the Father' does not end with the Jubilee Year of Mercy. We want people to continue with acts of mercy, to be transformed."

Danielle Bliemeister, 31, from Wilson, New York, was brought to the Conference by her mother. With dreadlocks running down her back and tattoos on her arms and chest, she shared that she was grateful to be there. She loved Fr. Don's talk on the Rosary, and said, "This all is still sinking in; I don't know what to think or say about it all!"

Father Samuel Giangreco, associate pastor at the Basilica, attended the conference. He was ordained on May 28 this year, during the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Over the past few years, as a seminarian, he would come to the Buffalo conference to lead the Divine Mercy Chaplet by sung chant.

Divine Mercy is actually what gave Fr. Sam the courage to enter the seminary. He was in his parish's adoration chapel when he saw the Diary of St. Faustina on a bookshelf. He picked it up and started reading. Realizing how much God loved him, he was able to love himself and received the courage to become a priest.

"Divine Mercy is the Church's best kept secret. When I tell people about the mercy of God in my preaching, they are often stunned to hear how merciful God is. It's so different from what many people believe how God is."

Overall, the Conference was a hit! Many came and were transformed by the message of Divine Mercy. Everyone was sent out by Fr. Kaz to go and be "missionaries of mercy" to the whole world.

May we all become missionaries of mercy, and be "merciful like the Father" in our prayers, words, and actions.


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