National Shrine of MaryMother of the Church

Mother of the Church


The Chaplet of Divine Mercy—The Lord made it clear to St. Faustina that the Chaplet was not just for her, but for
the whole world. He also attached extraordinary promises to its recitation. "Whoever will recite it will receive great
mercy at the hour of death" (Diary, 687). "When they say this Chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand be-
tween My Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge but as the Merciful Savior" (Diary, 1541). "I desire
to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in My mercy" (Diary, 687). "Through the Chaplet you will
obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will. (Diary, 1731)

Prayed on rosary beads, the Chaplet is an intercessory prayer that extends the offering of the Eucharist, so it is especially appropriate to use it after  having received Holy Communion at Holy Mass. It may be said at any time, but our Lord specifically told St. Faustina to recite it during the nine days before the Feast of Mercy (the first Sunday after Easter). It is likewise appropriate to pray the Chaplet during the "Hour of Great Mercy" — three o'clock each afternoon (recalling the time of Christ’s death on the cross). In His revelations to St. Faustina, Our Lord asked for a special remembrance of His Passion at that hour.

The Chaplet of Divine Mercy

In 1935, St. Faustina received a vision of an angel sent by God to chastise a certain city.  She began to pray for mercy, but her prayers were powerless.  Suddenly she saw the Holy Trinity and felt the power of Jesus' grace within her.  She found herself pleading with God for mercy with words she heard interiorly: 

"Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world; for the sake of His sorrowful Passion have mercy on us." 

The next day, entering the chapel, she again heard this interior voice, instructing her how to recite the prayer that our Lord later called "The Chaplet".  This time, after "have mercy on us" were added the words

"and on the whole world" (Diary, 476)

In the early years of the church, a Bishop or Pope could commute the penance of a penitent to some-thing smaller. Often a “pilgrimage” would be accepted as fulfillment of the penance. This was considered an act of “indulgence” by that bishop or pope.
And “pilgrimage” was a key aspect of gaining such an indulgence, because it was believed that the effort of making a pilgrimage gave evidence of true interior conversion, conversion of the heart.
The connection between penance and conversion is the key for understanding the Church’s teaching on indulgences.
Penance seeks to train and discipline basically good habits. The whole purpose of doing penance, and the purpose of seeking an indulgence is to achieve true interior conversion that leads to just actions.

The Church sees penances as a necessary part to-ward disciplining our body and mind back into harmony. But without the grace of God and the spiritual connection with God through prayer, penances will be mere punishments.
It is imperative not simply to be forgiven for our sins. The combination of prayer and penance is the “remedy” which the Church finds to be essential for overcoming our tendency to sin.
A plenary indulgence can be gained only once a day. In order to obtain it, the faithful must:
  • be in a state of grace (free from mortal sin);
  • have the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin, even venial sin; striving to avoid venial sin;
  • have sacramentally confessed their sins (either 20 days prior or following the indulgenced act). One sacramental Confession suffices for several plenary indulgences.
  • receive Holy Communion on the same day the indulgence is sought. Preferably, this reception will be while participating in Holy Mass; and
  • pray for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff; prayer for the Pope's intentions is left to the choice of the faithful, but an "Our Father" and a "Hail Mary" are suggested. It is preferable that the prayer for the Pope's intentions be said on the same day as the indulgenced act.

As for the sick and the elderly, the Holy Father says, "For them it will be of great help to live their sickness and suffering as an experience of closeness to the Lord who in the mystery of his Passion, Death and Resurrection indicates the royal road which gives meaning to pain and loneliness.

Living with faith and joyful hope this moment of trial, receiving communion or attending Holy Mass and community prayer, even through the various means of communication, will be for them the means of obtaining the Jubilee Indulgence."

For the imprisoned, the Holy Father says, "They may obtain the Indulgence in the chapels of the prisons. May the gesture of directing their thought and prayer to the Father each time they cross the thresh-old of their cell signify for them their passage through the Holy Door, because the mercy of God is able to transform hearts, and is also able to trans-form bars into an experience of freedom."

Young people were united in mercy and love during

Jubilee pilgrimage to shrine in Laurie


By Jay Nies (The Catholic Missourian)

Whenever someone gives food to the hungry, instructs the ignorant, visits the sick, comforts the afflicted, bears wrongs patiently or carries out any of the other Corporal or Spiritual Works of Mercy, “they are truly loving their brothers and sisters just as they are loved by God.”

Making God’s presence known by sharing His love is how Bishop John R. Gaydos summed up the theme for the Jubilee for Young People, observed in this diocese with an April 23 pilgrimage to the National Shrine of Mary, Mother of the Church, in Laurie.

About 35 sixth- through eighth-graders, along with parents and chaperones, attended.

It was part of a worldwide Jubilee for Young People called for by Pope Francis as part of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.

The focus was on the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.

Perfect weather greeted the young people as they were invited to process through the Holy Door into St. Patrick Church as part of the jubilee observance.

“The Holy Door is meant to mark the end of a journey of thought and prayer about life and God’s mercy,” Father Patrick Dolan, pastor of St. Patrick parish in Laurie and St. Philip Benizi parish in Versailles stated. 

He likened a pilgrimage to a coach watching video footage of a game and telling the team, “These are the things we’re going to work on.”

“When you come to an event like this, you are thinking of things they need to work on,” he said. 

A penance is not a punishment, he noted, but is instead a sacrificial act that is also an opportunity for spiritual growth, he said. 

At Mass, Bishop Gaydos preached his homily about Jesus’ command to “love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:31-33A, 34-35), as well as the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.

“I give you a new commandment” 

“The commandment, ‘Love one another just as I have loved you,” is the essence of all that Jesus did and taught,” said Bishop Gaydos. “As such, it is a way of prolonging the presence of Christ among them.” 

It also gives them a purpose. 

“By their Christ-like love, they will be bearing witness to Christ to the world,” the bishop said. “The commandment of love thus provides the disciples with their identity, with their mission, and with a continuing sense of the presence of God among them. 

“By their love, Christ continues to live among them,” he said.

And by imitating their following of His command — specifically by carrying out Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy in His name — people can continue to reveal His loving presence to the world.

The Corporal Works of Mercy include: feeding the hungry; giving drink to the thirsty; clothing the naked; giving shelter to the homeless; visiting the sick; ransoming the captive; and burying the dead. 

The Spiritual Works of Mercy include: instructing the ignorant; counseling the doubtful; admonishing sinners; bearing wrongs patiently; forgiving offenses willingly; comforting the afflicted; and praying for the living and the dead. 

The young pilgrims got to learn about and take part in many of those works through interactive exhibits during the Jubilee celebration.

Being an answer to prayers

Hannah Cundiff, a seventh-grader at North Callaway R-1 School, got to put essentials into a package to be given to homeless people, helping her understand how basic their needs were. 

Realizing that prisoners are often lonely and in need of some prayers, she got to write a note of encouragement to a person in prison.

“The displays were informative about many world problems including the lack of clean water,” Hannah’s mother, Kathy Cundiff, stated. “She is more conscious of not wasting water for showers. 

“The kids seemed to make new friends easily and they were a really great group of teen-agers!” she said. “Overall, it was a wonderful, educational day.”

Shannon Cerneka and Orin Johnson of Oddwalk Ministries led the singing at Mass and gave a soulful concert in the sun-filled National Shrine of Mary, Mother of the Church. 

Much of the music came from their new CD, titled “Mercy At Work,” which they released in time for the Year of Mercy. 

In story and song, they talked about the importance not only of turning frequently to the sacraments for healing and forgiveness but also actively promoting mercy and justice. 

“Our role as Christians is to go out and be agents of mercy to those in need and to know that we really are Christ’s hands and feet,” said Mr. Cerneka.  

“In the world, when people are crying out and asking for God’s help — and even when they don’t realize how much they need God’s help and mercy — we need to be out there helping them in God’s name,” he said.

Mike Berendzen and Marybeth Hunton from the diocese, St. Patrick parishioner Michelle Haggerty and several younger parishioners created the interactive displays.

Later on, members of the St. Patrick parish youth group turned cardboard boxes into makeshift housing and spent the night outdoors in order to get an idea of what life is like for people who don’t have a roof over their head.

Chris Libbert of St. Peter parish in Fulton attended with his son Matthew, a sixth-grader at Fulton Middle School. 

Mr. Libbert said Oddwalk’s music helped the young people interact well and take some important lessons home with them. 

He said he hopes to see more events like this in the future.

“I really think we need to keep doing these kinds of things to get our youth involved in our Church,” he said. “They’re our future! We need to keep doing things like this to stimulate their minds about what we need to know and what we’re called to be doing.”

Praying for the living and the dead

a spiritual work of mercy


(The Catholic Missourian)

Father Patrick Dolan, pastor of St. Patrick parish in Laurie, joins parishioners Rosemary Stoltz and her son Jim outside old St. Patrick Church during a blessing of graves on April 20. Mrs. Stoltz and her husband were long-time members at St. Patrick parish and were in charge of the Octoberfest since it started along with the same group of people for years. Father Henry Ussher, associate pastor, and parishioner Jim Nevins bless the burial place of Mr. Nevins’ daughter, wife and son. Mr. Nevins’ son was the parish’s maintenance manager and was well known for decorating the property at Christmastime. The blessing of the graves took place after Mass in historical St. Patrick Church, which was built in the 1860s and restored most recently in 1999. It is open on Sunday afternoons throughout the summer. — Photos by Diana Baracz

  Opening The Holy Door of Mercy at The Shrine

  Sunday, December 13th


Pope Francis officially opened  The Holy Door, beginning The Year of Mercy, Dec. 8th. 

Monthly Retreats are planned at the Shrine starting Saturday, January 23rd.  There will be a Retreat on the 4th Saturday of each month except March will be March 13th because of Holy Saturday on the 4th Saturday.  Weekly Retreats will start after Feb. 17th,  after Ash Wednesday.


"Pray with great confidence, with confidence based on the goodness and infinite generosity of God and upon the promises of Jesus Christ.  God is a spring of living water which flows unceasingly into the hearts of those who pray." -- St. Louis De Montfort"

"When one is given the Spirit of wisdom, one is able to perceive God’s fingerprints upon the wonders of the world. One is able to see the pattern God has established in history (world history,faith history, and even our own personal history).This should leave us with a sense of comfort,for it means that life is not chaotic. God has a plan."

Help me be a concrete example of your love to restore hope in one person’s heart today.  Matthew 9:21 She said to herself, “If only I can touch His cloak, I shall be cured.”

"Undertake courageously great tasks for God's glory, to the extent that he'll give you power and grace for this purpose. Even though you can do nothing on our own, you can do all things in him. His help will never fail you if you have confidence in his goodness.  Place your entire physical and spiritual welfare in his hands. Abandon to the fatherly concern of his divine providence every care for your health, reputation, property, and business; for those near to you; for your past sins; for your soul's progress in virtue and love of him; for your life, death, and especially your salvation and eternity—in a word, all your cares. Rest in the assurance that in his pure goodness, he'll watch with particular tenderness over all your responsibilities and cares, arranging all things for the greatest good."
— St. John Eudes, p. 363

"With our eyes fixed on Jesus and His merciful gaze, we experience the love of the Most Holy Trinity. The mission Jesus received from the Father was that of revealing the mystery of divine love in its fullness. 'God is love' (1 John 4:8,16), John affirms for the first and only time in all of Holy Scripture. This love has now been made visible and tangible in Jesus' entire life. His person is nothing but love, a love given gratuitously. The relationships He forms with the people who approach Him manifest something entirely unique and unrepeatable. The signs He works, especially in favor of sinners, the poor, the marginalized, the sick, and the suffering, are all meant to teach mercy. Everything in Him speaks of mercy. Nothing in Him is devoid of compassion."  — Pope Francis

According to Leviticus 25:8-13 a Jubilee Year is to be celebrated every 50th year. Slaves and prisoners are to
be freed, debts forgiven and the mercies of God will be manifest. For us today, this means a freeing of self to
be loyal to God.

St. Patrick’s and The Mother’s Shrine has been designated by Bishop Gaydos as a special place of prayer for pilgrims during the Holy Year of Mercy. On Sun. Dec. 13th before 9:00 Mass, a special prayer service will be conducted to open the Holy Door which we have designated as the door in the entryway that leads to St. Leo's.

Counting on God's Mercy in the Holy Year of Mercy " Be merciful as your Heavenly Father is merciful" echoes every corner of the globe in anticipation of the proclamation of the Jubilee Year of Mercy on Dec. 8, 2015. Mercy is what we all desire as weak and sinful human beings. God freely bestows his mercy on us being a merciful father and
requires us to do same to those who wrong us or to those who need our care/comforting. Mercy is a loving act of kindness with many faces - forgiveness, concern for others, tolerance and acceptance. Mercy strives on the wheel of Love, the very nature of God.
To help us participate in the activities of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, our diocese has put together pieces of information in the Catholic Missourian of November 27, 2015. The spirit of God invites us to take and read as he
did to St. Augustine in his days. Here in our parish there will be monthly pilgrimage that will follow after the opening of "Holy Door" on 12/13/15 before 9.00 am Mass. As we desire God's mercy in many, many ways, let us extend a hand of mercy to all we meet during the Year of Mercy and thereafter: the hand of mercy in form of forgiving one another, helping the vulnerable, caring for the sick, welcoming sinners, helping the ignorant with the light of our faith and making
God known to the faithless.

Pope Francis will begin the ceremonies for the Holy Year of Mercy by opening the door of St. Peters on the 8th of December, 2015 the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. This door will mark the final step of those who go on pilgrimage to Rome to pray in a special way for the gift of God’s mercy. Entering this door marks the final prayers of the pilgrims.

Bishop Gaydos has designated The National Shrine of Mary Mother of the Church as a special place for pilgrims to come and celebrate their trust and their faith in the God of Mercy. We too will open a special door of mercy later in the month of December. More information will be forthcoming on this.

Please pray that the year of mercy will be a time of renewal. When Pope Francis opens the Holy Door of St. Peter’s may be it be a call for all of us to open the doors of our minds and hearts to welcome the gift of mercy and love of our God.

"Merciful like the Father"
God Bless, Father Pat

Our Ritual of Opening the Door will be before the 9:00 Mass, Dec. 13th, which is the 3rd Sunday of Advent.

Saturday Retreats, fourth Saturday of the month, except March will be March 19th because of Holy Saturday on the 4th Saturday . 

Each Wednesday starting Feb.17th, (the week after Ash Wednesday) will be a mini retreat 1pm till 3 pm.   People enter retreats through the Holy Door. 


Saturday Schedule

10:30   Welcome – short prayer outside before entering (explain the logo).

Prayers, Music, Talk

11:15  Private Meditation

12:30   Gather for Lunch (sack lunch, spaghetti, something we can add to as crowd grows)

1:00  Workshop –Mercy In Action - include corporal and spiritual works of mercy (make soup packets)

1:45  Private  Reflections

2:15  Communal Prayer – Rosary, Way of Cross

3:00   Chaplet of Divine Mercy

3:20   Sacrament of Reconciliation, Adoration (Expose Blessed Sacrament) someone lead prayers for indulgences

4:00   Closing Mass  (Mass will change to 5 pm on March 1st)


Wednesday Schedule (Weekly)

1:00  Welcome, Sacrament of  Reconciliation

1:30  Talk

2:00  Communal Prayer Pope Francis Year of Mercy Prayer/ Private Mediation

2:15  Chaplet of Divine Mercy

2:30  Adoration

3:00  Closing Mass