Mike Amodio heard a clear message from Cardinal Dolan as the Saturday of Mercy tour through the archdiocese made its final stop at St. Martin de Porres Church in Poughkeepsie on Nov. 5.
“Mercy is always there. Whether we take it or not, it’s entirely up to us,” said the Beacon resident, who attends St. Joachim-St. John the Evangelist parish in Beacon.
Cardinal Dolan spoke about mercy to about 300 people before celebrating Mass in the parish church where he discussed death, and new life, during his homily in front of a packed congregation of 650 people.
The Year of Mercy, which Pope Francis initiated on the feast of the Immaculate Conception on Dec. 8, 2015, is coming to a close on Nov. 20, the feast of Christ the King. The Saturday of Mercy at St. Martin de Porres was the sixth in the archdiocese—the first three were at parishes in New York City during Lent, the fourth at the Marian Shrine in Stony Point on April 16 and the fifth at St. Patrick’s Church in Yorktown Heights on Sept. 17.
“It’s faith and hope, especially after this horrible year we’re having with all the political problems going on and everything going on in the world,” said Adele Smith, a parishioner of St. Martin de Porres.
“It’s just loving each other and being there for each other. I’m a preschool teacher and I try to instill that in my children about kindness and love, even though they’re only three years of age. I believe it’s so important.”
Cardinal Dolan defined mercy as the “compassionate, personal, tender, everlasting, forgiving love of God.” He said there are two kinds of mercy: God’s mercy for us, which he described as the most “potent” force in the world, and the mercy that we show to one another.
Cardinal Dolan said God’s mercy can be accepted or it can be denied for reasons of presumption and despair. A person denying God’s mercy due to presumption believes he has no sins and does not need God’s mercy. Someone with despair may turn away God’s mercy because he believes his sins are too hideous to be healed.
“Mercy is our ability to experience the Divine Mercy of Jesus in our everyday lives and a willingness to bring that mercy to everyone we meet,” said Ryan Gagnon, a 23-year-old volunteer at Capuchin Youth and Family Ministries in Garrison.
“Don’t judge people by what you think they are and what you think they do. Have that mind-set of Jesus, and we are all God’s children.”
Following his talk, Cardinal Dolan and a contingent of priests heard confessions. At that time, Father John Maria Devaney, O.P., a Missionary of Mercy in the archdiocese, delivered an address, and the rosary was recited. Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament concluded the Saturday of Mercy, and Mass followed.
“We experienced the power and presence of God’s mercy in our lives,” said Msgr. James P. Sullivan, pastor of St. Martin de Porres, in his remarks opening the Mass. “We had 10, 11 priests here for confessions. What a beautiful moment it has been for us here at St. Martin de Porres, and a beautiful moment for all the people in the deanery in Dutchess and Ulster counties as they came together with their cardinal to reflect together on this Year of Mercy.”
Cardinal Dolan discussed death in his homily because Catholics are invited to think about their own eternal life this month as well as pray for the souls of the faithfully departed. He mentioned seven points on death including that God creates human beings to live with Him forever, and that eternal life is a gift from God that can be accepted or rejected.
“You and I do not fear death,” Cardinal Dolan said. “You and I know this life is the preparation for what God has in store for us through all eternity.
“Death is that final invitation to the trust and mercy of Jesus, who never lets us down.”