The bedside of a dying loved one is an anguished place to be. We are torn, hoping and praying for healing, trying to think of everything we can do to bring comfort: spoon-feeding for nourishment, fetching another blanket for warmth, offering assistance to sit up or get out of bed. We resist the thought that our loved one will die, that it is time to call a priest.
Yet of all the things you could do in these moments, the most important is to pray for the soul of your loved one in the final days of life. And one of the best ways to do that is to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet, even if—especially if—your loved one is estranged from the Church.
Why is that?
In a series of private revelations beginning in 1931 to an obscure Polish nun named Faustina Kowalska, Jesus entrusted to her three keys to His unfathomable mercy: the Divine Mercy Chaplet, the Divine Mercy Image, and Divine Mercy Sunday. Jesus proclaimed:
Encourage souls to say the chaplet that I have given to you. It pleases me to grant everything they ask of Me by praying the chaplet….Write that when they say this chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the Just Judge but as the Merciful Savior.
Jesus also showed her that even by saying the chaplet outside a dying person’s presence, the effect is the same. Appointing St. Faustina as “the secretary of my mercy,” He said, “I have chosen you for that office in this life and the next life.” Today St. Faustina is venerated as the “Apostle of Divine Mercy.”
Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church is blessed to have a Shrine of Divine Mercy in the Lower Church, unique in the South. In this shrine are first-class relics of St. Faustina and Pope Saint John Paul II, who canonized St. Faustina as the first saint of the Third Millenium. And in the center of the shrine is the Image of Divine Mercy, with rays emanating from Jesus’ heart signifying the Blood and Water that poured from His side on the Cross. On the back wall of the shrine is our columbarium, symbolically entrusting those interred there to God’s Divine Mercy. All are encouraged to pray and visit this beautiful shrine.
A New OLR Ministry of Prayer for the Dying
In response to this extraordinary grace given to a dying person when the Divine Mercy Chaplet is prayed, OLR has formed a new prayer ministry called the “The Ministry of Divine Mercy for the Dying.” It is the fruit of eight faithful OLR parishioners who have been meeting twice a month to pray, study scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and The Diary of St. Faustina in what is called a Cenacle of Divine Mercy.
Here is how this new ministry will work. To make a request that the Cenacle pray for someone who is dying, contact Martha Mahan in the church office. Please tell her if you are a parishioner and the name and relationship of the person for whom you wish the chaplet to be prayed. (Even non-parishioners are welcome to call on this ministry.) She will then give this information to the Cenacle so that its members may begin praying the chaplet, with love and urgency, every day for a week for this person, thus offering 56 chaplets for mercy on the soul of your beloved. Be assured that, to protect your privacy if you wish this information to remain confidential, it will remain among the Cenacle members.
We hope that this ministry will bring hope and comfort to all who are facing the anguish of anticipating the death of someone they love.