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Let mercy overcome misery

It is the Year of Mercy, and people are starving for God’s mercy, even if they don’t recognize it. I was pleasantly surprised to see concrete evidence of this hunger at Mercy Chose Me, our archdiocesan conference on mercy.

Close to 500 people packed the parish hall at Immaculate Heart of Mary in Northglenn to learn about the role of mercy in the New Evangelization, our archdiocesan model of mercy Julia Greeley, how to incorporate mercy into one’s spirituality, and to discover opportunities to engage in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Lent, which we began on February 10, is a perfect time to practice the works of mercy and make them a regular part of our daily lives.

The hectic pace of our society makes it difficult to be merciful. It’s easier to pass by the suffering of others, to let our schedules carry us past encounters with others that would be a chance for healing and forgiveness to enter our lives and theirs.

A few months ago, someone approached me and suggested that we should hold a Eucharistic Procession around the Planned Parenthood campus in Stapleton. I told that person I would pray about it, and after I brought it before the Lord, it became clear that we should hold the procession.

The need for God’s mercy at Planned Parenthood or any abortion facility is enormous. The Colorado Department of Health reported that 10,648 children were killed by abortion in 2014 in our state. That means that over 21,000 parents – not to mention other family members – were wounded by the trauma of abortion.

If that many Coloradans lost their lives or were harmed by an infectious disease, I’m sure that the state and federal governments would assemble task forces, coordinate relief for the afflicted and spread awareness through the media. But because the suffering is quietly borne and the unborn are defenseless, the trauma experienced by parents, extended families and siblings goes untreated.

The Church does extraordinary things through our Archdiocesan Catholic Charities to help those who find themselves in a crisis pregnancy situation or who have made the tragic decision to abort their child. Lives have been changed forever through these works of mercy. No one is beyond God’s mercy.

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I am inviting you to join me in carrying out a spiritual work of mercy on March 5 at the Planned Parenthood facility in Stapleton. On that day, beginning at 10:00 a.m., I will lead a Eucharistic Procession seven times around the campus, similar to what Joshua did around Jericho.

Truly experiencing the freedom of the Jubilee Year begins with each of us acknowledging that we are sinners in need of God’s mercy. Once we receive his mercy, then we are able to bring it to others. With that in mind, we will ask God as we process around Planned Parenthood to have mercy on all those who enter the abortion clinic, on those that work there, on all those impacted by the evil of abortion, and on our country. We will pray for their deliverance from the evil they participate in.

A wonderful way to prepare yourself to participate in this prayerful procession is to experience God’s mercy in the sacrament of Confession before attending. Then, ask the Lord to prepare your heart to be his agent of mercy in interceding for those involved in the sin of abortion.

God’s mercy conquered death when he rose from the dead. The mercy of the Father can overcome abortion, and all sin and evil, when we open our hearts to him. Let us pray for the conversion of all involved in abortion and the spread of God’s mercy throughout the world!

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila
Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila
The Most Rev. Samuel J. Aquila is the eighth bishop of Denver and its fifth archbishop. His episcopal motto is, "Do whatever he tells you" (Jn 2:5).

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