Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Church Dispensing God's Mercy On The Urging of Pope Francis

I was fortunate to have spent a week visiting near a very vibrant parish in the Diocese of Venice, Florida which observed "24 Hours of Mercy," while I was there.  Bishop Frank Dewane, in consultation with his priests designated March 4th and 5th to be the time in which the people of that Diocese would observe the "24 hours of Mercy."
I attended the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and I watched as the pastor and an associate pastor stayed in Church and ministered God's mercy. Many tearful and fallen away Catholics came. Observing from a distance and sitting in front of the Blessed Sacrament, I could not know what people were sharing, of course. Some were going to Confession, others were seeking spiritual guidance. Many needed tissues to wipe their tears. Yes, this was the "field hospital" that Pope Francis has spoken about, set up in a parish church, in Southwest Florida. And though I stayed about an hour and a half in Church, I was greatly moved by what I saw. This went on from 1:00 PM until 11:00 PM. on Friday. The next day on Saturday it continued in the morning until Mass which was at 11:30 AM after Benediction. I attended the Mass, but the Mass had to start a half hour late, because people were on line and they were given the opportunity to confess or share and then the Mass began.
At Mass last Sunday the pastor said that over 100 fallen away Catholics had come to the Church seeking Confession or spiritual guidance. Many had been encouraged by their friends to come.
The whole "24 Hours of Mercy" was not only fruitful but awe-inspiring. The best of the Catholic Church in view. God's mercy being administered by caring priests of God. It's as good as Catholicism gets and I saw it there in that Church, the healing and blessing of God's mercy being administered by good and generous priests.