Mary Leads Couple to Mercy

By Melanie Williams (Oct 6, 2016)
Each year tens of thousands of pilgrims visit the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy on Eden Hill in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Who are they, and what draws them here? The following is the latest in our "Pilgrims Progress" series. Meet Luis and Maria Luisa Garza:

Every Sunday at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Portland, Texas, you can find Luis and Maria Luisa Garza teaching the Catholic faith to a small group of children. Portland was once a mostly Southern Baptist town. Today, many children come from broken homes and are not baptized. Luis and Maria Luisa prepare children for the Sacraments and CCD.

This is just one of Luis and Maria Luisa's missions. In the depths of their hearts is their devotion to Divine Mercy, and this devotion is what brings them to the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy.

Father Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, calls the devotion to Divine Mercy "the greatest grassroots movement in the history of the Church," and the Garzas are at the heart of this movement in their parish.

The Garzas haven't always known about Divine Mercy. First, they came to a deeper love of and devotion to Our Lady. They actually first joined a Blue Army Prayer Cell at their parish more than a decade ago. The Blue Army is a prayer group of the World Apostolate of Fatima. The Garzas' prayer cell meets once a week to grow in a spirit of reparation, responding to Our Lady's requests at Fatima for the praying of the Rosary, penance, and sacrifice. They gather outside the cathedral nearby on First Saturdays to pray the Rosary for Life, process with a statue of Our Lady of Fatima, and then go inside to celebrate Mass.

It was their love for Mary that led the Garzas to seek more Church-approved devotions. This is what led them to a talk by Joan and Dave Maroney, the Mother of Mercy Messengers (MOMM), at a nearby parish. For the first time ever, they heard about the message of Divine Mercy, and it set their hearts on fire.

"We knew," Luis said, "that we needed to spread the message of Divine Mercy in any way we could!"

Luis began praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy every day at 3 p.m. at work, and Maria Luisa would pray from home, watching EWTN's broadcast. They also began praying it every day together in the evenings.

Their parish did not celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday or have the devotion in any form, so the Garzas asked their pastor if they could start celebrating it. They have been able to celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday at their parish for the past two years.

The Garzas ordered hundreds of Divine Mercy prayercards and pamphlets on the Divine Mercy Chaplet and Novena, and passed them out to everyone who came.

Now, their pastor has been reassigned and they are waiting to hear who their new pastor will be. "We are praying and hoping for a priest who will be on fire for the message of Divine Mercy and spread it even more!" Maria Luisa said. She has been going to Perpetual Adoration at her parish for this intention, and she trusts that Jesus' will shall be done.

Learn more about how to celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday in your parish.

Come make a pilgrimage to the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy.