By Tom Maguire | Associate editor
It seemed like the logical place to be: Divine Mercy Parish on Divine Mercy Sunday.
“It is Divine Mercy Sunday. So I wanted to do something special,” said Mary Louise Therese (Olszewski) Isgar, one of the more than 100 attendees at the Holy Hour of Mercy at the Central Square church.
Presiding was Bishop Douglas J. Lucia. The Order of Service included the Procession, Exposition, Adoration, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, Benediction, the Divine Praises, Reposition (Te Deum) and Veneration of the Relic of St. Faustina. The Divine Mercy Parish choir sang under the direction of the organist, Music Minister Dominick Corbacio. Attendees received a program, a card with the Image of the Divine Mercy, and a flyer on the Divine Mercy Novena and Chaplet.
Divine Mercy Parish explains the devotion this way: “In 1931, Jesus appeared to Sister Faustina in Poland and expressed his desire for a feast celebrating his mercy. The purpose of this feast is to encounter and extend the mercy of God offered in and through his Son, Jesus Christ, by the power of his death and resurrection.”
“We are very blessed to be Divine Mercy Parish and the Mission of St. Bernadette,” said Father Christopher R. Seibt, the pastor, “and the only parish named after Divine Mercy in the diocese, and so we wanted to start inviting people to come here almost like a pilgrimage site for Divine Mercy Sunday. So we invited the Bishop to come out, and we’re hoping to make this an annual thing. We had an amazing crowd today. It was just so prayerful. And it was just a beautiful time to get together and to experience and encounter God’s mercy so we can extend it to others.”
Father Seibt said Jean Postell and her prayer group began the devotion at St. Agnes in Brewerton many years ago, and they are now at Divine Mercy. He said St. Agnes (Brewerton) and St. Michael’s (Central Square) combined to create Divine Mercy Parish. The parish is linked with the Mission of St. Bernadette, which was created by St. Mary’s (Cleveland) and St. Bernadette (Constantia).
Reminded that it was a beautiful day outside, Father Seibt said, “I thought it was absolutely beautiful inside too, hearing all the voices pray the Chaplet; just the atmosphere of prayer that was in here the entire time was amazing. And people came from all over—Southern Tier, some folks came from the east, from Baldwinsville area. So we were able this year to draw some people; we’re hoping to make it even bigger and better next year.”
“The turnout was phenomenal,” said Deacon Mark J. Berube, who also was grateful the Bishop was there. “We were hoping we’d have a crowd like this and we’re certainly happy.”
Divine Mercy, he said, is a “devotion that’s especially wonderful because we all need God’s mercy. … The warmth and the beauty and the radiance that was going on in the church was just beautiful.”
“Where else would you go on a beautiful day of mercy. … I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” said attendee Isgar, who belongs to Holy Family Church in Fairmount.
Asked what benefit she derived from attending, she said, “Mercy. … His mercy is there for all of us.” And she appreciated the Bishop’s “nice strong voice!”
Isgar’s sister, Carol Olszewski, said: “I believe in what Jesus wants us to be. … I lost my spouse in June and I needed an anchor. I needed an anchor, and I found it here at Divine Mercy, so I became an usher. … I know that I can help the parishioners. I can welcome them and make them feel comfortable here.”
She thought Sunday’s ceremony was “absolutely solemn and beautiful, and Father Seibt always does a wonderful job. … We are inside here with Jesus. It doesn’t get any better than that.”