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Divine Mercy overflows at bush shrine

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Young families were among the hundreds who took part in a solemn procession at the bushland shrine. Photo: Supplied
Young families were among the hundreds who took part in a solemn procession at the bushland shrine. Photo: Supplied

One of the fastest growing centres of evangelisation in the country threw its doors open to large crowds of the faithful for the feast of Divine Mercy on 7 April, with many taking extra opportunities offered for the sacrament of reconciliation

The first Sunday after Easter is the busiest time at the Divine Retreat Centre and shrine in Somersby on the central coast and its director Fr Roni George VC was grateful for the “fantastic turnout.”

The centre cares for a precious first-class relic of the Polish mystic St Faustina Kowalska, a fragment of bone, whose experience forms the basis for the feast day established by St Pope John Paul II in 2000.

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Many young families were among the hundreds of people for an outdoor solemn procession with the Eucharist at the bushland shrine, veneration of the Divine Mercy image and the first-class relic of St Faustina as well as one of St Teresa of Calcutta.

The shrine’s priests were kept busy with confessions but it was also an occasion to celebrate the eleventh anniversary of the centre located near Gosford, which is growing a reputation as a sanctuary of prayer and profound healing.

“We want to acknowledge and thank all our well-wishers and benefactors who have su­­pported us on this journey,” said Fr George, following the event.

“Keep praying for us, that we may continue to minister to God’s children for years to come especially in Australia.

“Praise God for the fantastic turnout yesterday. So many received our Lord’s blessings and experienced his love.”

People also filled the church at St Bernard’s parish in Botany where a Divine Mercy group has led weekly devotional prayers based on the writings of St Faustina for years.

Parishioner Michael Spies said people travel from across Sydney each year for the feast day Mass at 3pm celebrated by parish priest Fr Abraham Augusthy, Divine Mercy prayers and novena and the opportunity for confession.

“I used to be one of those guys who went to Mass on Sundays because I had to, not because I wanted to,” Spies said.

“But my whole outlook on everything has changed, especially my attitude to Mass and to the Eucharist.

“It makes me realise how blessed we are to have Divine Mercy, the fact that Jesus is willing to forgive me for whatever rotten things I’ve done in my life.”

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