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Connie Anderson encounters the Divine Mercy through producing her documentary, Living Mercy. 

In February 2012, I finalized the script for Living Mercy. This half-hour documentary focused on The Divine Mercy devotion, a local Catholic church, and the community of Greater Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where over 250,000 people found temporary homes following Hurricane Katrina. Beginning in Lent 2006, over 1,000 people attended Our Lady of Mercy Church's weekly novena, including many evacuees. 

Pastor Fr. Miles Walsh explained that the evacuees who packed the daily Masses were "looking for loved ones, had no place to go, no work to do." They were seeking refuge. A prayer rose in Fr. Miles’ heart: "God, we're in need of Your mercy. Pour out Your mercy upon us." 

The parish would hold the novena over nine weeks rather than nine days of prayer from Good Friday to Divine Mercy Sunday. "Since the very beginning, it's been nothing short of miraculous the way this Church is filled to overflowing on those nine Tuesdays prior to the Feast of Divine Mercy." 

Deacon Richard Grant commented on the novena's lasting popularity. "Week after week and now year after year, they keep coming. Our Church holds a thousand people, but they're standing up. So we know there's more than that." 




Deacon Grant noted the novena brought much spiritual fruit among the parishioners through the weekly novena and among the parochial school students through the school's First Friday Holy Hour. "When we have school Mass, some of the kids sing. Most of them don't. Some of the ones that do don't sing very loud. But when they get to the Chaplet, all the kids, especially the older kids who think it's just not cool to sing, get into singing the Chaplet." 

"It's beautiful to hear nine hundred young voices singing the Divine Mercy Chaplet in Church. It's absolutely awesome!" 

Parishioner Carol Dazzio described the novena’s Tuesday evening format and why she thought the prayers were important. "You know it's such a wonderful evening. We start out with confessions. First of all, it's during Lent, that's a time of penance and prayer. And through God's Mercy, our sins are forgiven." 

"We attend Mass, and we receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus. Then, Fr. Miles puts the monstrance up on the altar, and we recite the Chaplet, during which time we beg God for mercy, 'Have mercy on us and on the whole world. ' We tell Jesus we trust Him. 'Jesus, I trust in You!' Fr. Miles blesses the congregation with the monstrance, we adore Jesus, and we praise Him." 

"It starts people on a little road to holiness. It brings peace, love of God, and holiness to the whole community." 




When the documentary was taped, Deacon Gene Brady, now deceased, headed the diocesan ministry to the area's nursing homes. While he advised families to visit their loved ones at least once a week, he commended the volunteers who gave the residents prayer support. 

Deacon Brady observed how the Chaplet of Mercy could invite God's direct intervention. "They pray for mercy, for anything in their lives that needs mercy, and also for others in their family and friends." 

Our Lady of Mercy's Parochial Vicar, Fr. Arun John, who was from India, remarked on his country's patron, St. Thomas the Apostle. "When he heard that Jesus was risen, he wanted to believe it, he wanted to see it. As we know the story in the Bible, Jesus appeared again and asked Thomas to touch." 

Fr. Arun likened St. Thomas to Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who also wanted to bring God's Mercy to people through touch. "There are so many ways we can see how Mother Teresa has impacted Indian society through her work by touching people with her heart." 

He expressed the hope, "When we experience this Mercy of God, (we should) not just keep it for ourselves. We should tell others what we experienced.” The nine-week novena is now celebrated in several churches throughout the Baton Rouge diocese. 




Living Mercy, which included additional interviews, premiered on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 15, 2012, on Catholic Life TV (Baton Rouge) and the Catholic Television Network (Boston). It aired later that week on WLAE-PTV (New Orleans). In 2013, EWTN broadcast Living Mercy twice on its global Catholic television network. 

Legatus’ Baton Rouge Chapter purchased DVDs for annual conference gifts. EWTN currently has DVDs ($10.00 each) for purchase via its Religious Catalogue. All proceeds go to the network to help spread Our Lord's Divine Mercy worldwide. 


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Copyright 2024 Connie Anderson
Images: All Images Taken from Living Mercy, copyright QuickHelp Productions.