It hasn’t been around for long, but a religious organization aimed at teaching children about prayer and Divine Mercy has already gone global.
In a few years, the Foundation of Jesus the Divine Mercy has led catechism classes and prayer of the Divine Mercy Chaplet in Canada, Ghana, India, Poland, and the U.S.
“We tell the children they are like earthly angels and their prayers are like sweet incense,” FJDM’s Pat Polachek told The B.C. Catholic.
Polachek, who lives in Pittsburgh, co-founded the organization with friend Antoni Zabierowski after she was profoundly inspired at the World Apostolic Congress on Mercy in Poland in 2011.
Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, formerly Pope John Paul II’s personal secretary, had been preaching during the closing Mass when he said something that caught Polachek’s full attention.
“He said: ‘I am empowering you to take the spark of Divine Mercy to the world,’” said Polachek. “At that moment, I thought: this must be God’s will, if Cardinal Dziwisz is empowering us to do it.”
She and Zabierowski (who lives near the Sanctuary of The Divine Mercy in Krakow, Poland) decided they’d like to take up the challenge and bring the devotion to the Divine Mercy to schools, parishes, and orphanages around the world.
“Once the children are in love with Jesus, everything else will fall into place,” she said. “Their pure prayers are profound.”
Since the founding of FJDM, 10 U.S. classrooms, including a Spanish catechesis class run by the Missionaries of Charity in the Bronx, have heard the sounds of children learning about God and praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
FJDM is also promoting a sung Divine Mercy Chaplet and encouraging families to devote an hour to prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. They’re calling this initiative the Family Eucharistic Holy Hour.
Polacheck said children in Ghana, India, and Poland, as well as Spanish and Vietnamese groups in Canada and the U.S., have already learned a sung version of the Divine Mercy Chaplet and recorded themselves singing it for an EWTN broadcast last month.
She hoped the hour-long program would encourage more Catholic parishes to teach children the song, encourage their devotion, and strengthen their faith.
According to Vancouver’s Ethelyn David, the Divine Mercy Chaplet is an easy prayer to spread.
“It’s a simple devotion, but so powerful,” said David, who put together a children’s choir with the help of Father Tien Tran of St. Matthew’s Parish in Surrey. In January, they were filmed singing in Vietnamese for the EWTN broadcast in August.
“I'm hoping to spread the message of God's love for us. He already died on the cross for us, but this is an extra way for us to come to Him.”
David, on board with Polachek’s plans, hopes to put together other children’s groups in the Archdiocese of Vancouver, so future video broadcasts of the Divine Mercy Chaplet will feature local Chinese or Filipino children, as well.
“This devotion will increase our love for Jesus and is an easy devotion to spread to others.” The Family Eucharistic Holy Hour, featuring the sung Divine Mercy Chaplet in five languages, aired on EWTN Aug. 20. Polachek said there will be another program on EWTN Oct. 4 and Oct. 16 at 4:00 p.m. She hopes Catholic groups will pick up the concept, use it in their own parishes, and spread the word about this devotion.
The Church has the Divine Mercy Chaplet and devotion thanks to St. Faustina Kowalska, a Polish religious sister and mystic. Her personal diary revealed she had many visions of Christ and is described by the Vatican as an “apostle of the Divine Mercy.”
Her feast day is Oct. 5.
How To Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy
According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Optional Opening Prayers: You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us.
(Repeat 3 times) O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of Mercy for us, I trust in You!
For each of the five decades (On each “Our Father” bead of the rosary, pray) 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.
(On each of the 10 “Hail Mary” beads, pray) For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
Concluding prayer (Repeat 3 times) Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
Optional Closing Prayer: Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.