A image of Jesus of Divine Mercy is seen as Pope Francis celebrates Mass on the feast of Divine Mercy in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Parish to host Divine Mercy Conference

Divine Mercy Conference: Sept. 28, 7-9:30 p.m..; Sept. 29, 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Sept. 30, 1:30-6 p.m., Our Lady Queen of the Apostles, 100 Crestwood Blvd., Royal Palm Beach. All are invited. No charge. Lunch: $5. 561-856-3458.

ROYAL PALM BEACH | Our Lady Queen of the Apostles Parish is pulling out all the stops for the Lord to spread his message about “Divine Mercy.”

“People will be energized by the speakers,” said parishioner Nuris Diaz, who is helping organize the Divine Mercy Conference Sept. 28-30 at the Royal Palm Beach parish. The event is free, everyone is invited, and there will be two staging areas for spiritual activities — one for the English speakers and one for Spanish speakers.

“We have some great speakers,” said Diaz, who also said that there will be a first-class relic of a saint for people to venerate. The relic is an actual body part of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, a member of the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, the first person to encourage the devotion of Divine Mercy after the message was placed on her heart in the 1930s by Jesus Christ himself.

Father Chris Alar, director of the Association of Marian Helpers, the official promoters of the authentic Divine Mercy message, will be on hand and will most certainly be discussing the saint and the diary that she wrote with her experiences with the Lord and what he told her about Divine Mercy.

“In 2009, I was opened to the message,” Diaz said. “I learned about it from a friend of mine. He is a priest. It has impacted me. I have seen so many people transformed by it over the years.”

Another presenter is Tony Meléndez, a guitar player, composer, singer and songwriter born without arms. Meléndez learned to play the guitar with his feet, but what is more inspiring than his musical talents and abilities are his words of faith and hope. He gives motivational talks everywhere, and he has performed around the world and before Pope John Paul II in 1987. He will surely inspire all with his message and witness of faith.

Franciscan Father Stan Fortuna is also another big name coming to the diocese to be part of the event. A member of the Community of Franciscan Friars of Renewal, he was ordained a priest in New York. He established the nonprofit Francesco Productions in 1987 that distributes evangelical music, video productions and books.

Father Fortuna is a well-known speaker and performer at concerts. He is especially liked by the younger Catholics and has performed at youth conferences. He also frequently appears on Catholic television.

The lineup of Spanish speakers for the weekend conference is also impressive. They include Father Emilio Acevedo, Father Tony Bonilla and Franciscan Father Fray Jose Maria Guerrero, all well-known evangelists and speakers from the Dominican Republic.

“I hope to come to the conference,” said Willie Peralte, an advocate of the Divine Mercy message and parishioner of Holy Family in Port St. Lucie. “Everyone in the world should know about Divine Mercy.

The message Jesus gave Faustina is such a wonderful message. Once you know the message of God’s mercy and love, that is all you need.”

The weekend begins on Friday, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m. with an opening and welcome by Father Z. Andy Rudnicki, pastor. Talks follow. The evening will include music and prayer.

Saturday morning the conference begins at 8:30 a.m. and goes to 6 p.m. The day will include talks, exposition and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, music, praying of the Divine Mercy chaplet and Benediction. Mass is planned at 4:30 p.m.

The program on Sunday begins at 1:30 p.m. with praise and worship, prayer of the chaplet, music and talks. The evening concludes with a 6 p.m. Life Teen Mass. A relic of St. John Paul II, the pope who canonized Sister Kowalska, will also be displayed at the church for veneration, along with the relic of St. Faustina Kowalska.

The program is free and open to all. A bag lunch is available for $5. For more details and information, call Nuris Diaz at 561-856-3458.

St. Maria Faustina Kowalska
In 2000, St. John Paul II canonized Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska, a member of the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. She first encouraged the Divine Mercy devotion after the mercy message was placed on her heart in the 1930s.

Jesus told her, “I am sending you with my mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to my merciful heart. You are the secretary of my mercy. I have chosen you for that office in this and the next life.”

Jesus told the Polish nun to record his message of mercy in a diary. The words of Jesus are found in the 700-page diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, which continues to be published today and is available through Marian Press in Massachusetts.

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