To the Editor:
Thank you to the Iowa City Deanery for beginning the Year of Mercy in Iowa City Dec. 14-16 with a reconciliation service with Bishop Martin Amos followed by 24 hours of confessions with 15 area priests and 40 hours of adoration. Thank you for Father Corey Close’s leadership, to Father Rudy Juarez and staff for hosting and to all our priests who participated in this wonderful event at St. Patrick Church in Iowa City. Thank you to the area Knights of Columbus and others for helping to get volunteers from the area churches to take turns leading the Chaplet of Divine Mercy in English and in Spanish. It was a grace-filled time. So many people commented, “I wish we could make this an annual event!” “I wish we could do more of this!”
Now, how can each of us respond to Pope Francis’ desire for the church to make clear its mission of being a witness of mercy? First, we must become close to Jesus, which means spending time with him. Everyone is encouraged to walk through the “Holy Door” of their deanery’s designated church, to make a good confession and pray before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. This builds the foundation of his love in us and enables us to be his instrument of peace, love and mercy in the world.
St. Patrick Church has a Perpetual Adoration Chapel with regular adorers who spend one hour with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, 24 hours a day/seven days a week. Many people spend time with our Lord throughout their day. Many parishes also have weekly or monthly holy hours of prayer.
Pope Francis said that this mission of mercy must start with our own spiritual conversion. Prayer and reconciliation are necessary for this, because to encounter mercy we must first encounter God.
Ellen Rethwisch, coordinator
Perpetual Adoration Chapel,
St. Patrick Church, Iowa City