By Shirley Figueroa Lascano
It was a windy and chilly Sunday morning when faithful members of the Filipino Association of St. Michael’s parish, Flushing, led by Divina Pasion, began their morning rosary prayer in honor of their patron saint, La Naval de Manila, at the doors of the church. They were pilgrims preparing to depart by bus for the National Shrine of Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass. Evelyn Feliciano and Angelina Lee, the pilgrimage coordinators of the Filipino Association, made their last minute head count of passengers for this annual journey.
Divina Pasion addressed the schedule of the day’s events. Michael Pasion had prepared Divine Mercy booklets for distribution, complete with the nine-day prayers, the chaplet and hymns.
This pilgrimage has a two-fold goal: to feed our spiritual hunger and to feed our worldly hunger. What would a Filipino-sponsored pilgrimage be without food! The dedicated food committee teams of Virgilio and Delia Navarro together with Regie Katounis and Cecille Hombrebueno started to hand out our pre-packed breakfast.
Arriving at the Shrine, pilgrims trekked the inclement terrain for the 1 p.m. Mass.
Bishop Mitchell Rozanski, of the Diocese of Springfield, Mass., was the main celebrant. He offered this Mass for Mother Angelica, a great Apostle of Divine Mercy, who passed away on Easter Sunday.
His homily touched on this extraordinary Jubilee, the Year of Mercy. What is Mercy? Bishop Rozanski described mercy best on these four themes: (1) “the word reveals the very mystery of the most Holy Trinity; (2) the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us; (3) the fundamental law that dwells in the heart of every person who looks sincerely into the eyes of his brothers and sisters on the path of life; and lastly (4) the bridge that connects God and Man, opening our hearts to a hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness.” All these themes were clearly demonstrated and reflected in the life of St. Faustina Kowalska of which we could also try to imitate into the framework of our daily lives.
Bishop Rozanski said that our salvation depends on mercy. This gives us hope of eternal life as we allow Jesus, the face of God the Father, to cleanse us of our sins. Jesus is the Father’s face that bridges man and God.
And thus, I felt the encounter with the crucified and risen Lord when the clock hit 3 o’clock exactly! His warmth I felt like I am standing beside a fireplace, enough heat to battle the coldness of the day! God’s Mercy is truly in us and with us all the days of our life!
Shirley Figueroa-Lascano is the evangelization ministry coordinator for Filipinos at St. Michael’s parish, Flushing