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Divine Mercy Sunday at St. Bartholomew

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By Gail Finke

“There are people in our lives who need to receive the mercy of God,” Father Benedict O’Cinnsealaigh said Sunday at St. Bartholomew Church in Finneytown. “They need to receive it from us. But it may be that we need to receive it from them. Today is the day of mercy, and it should be a day of mercy all around: from God to us, and from us to each other.”

The talk was part of St. Bart’s annual Divine Mercy Sunday celebration. More than 300 people packed the pews and more waited in line at four stations, where 10 priests heard Confessions. Outside, members of Springfield Township’s Police Explorers directed cars through the sprawling parking lot. Inside, people knelt in adoration, sang, prayed, and listened to the talk about the heroic task of giving mercy.

Father O’Cinnsealaigh, rector of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West, asked a young volunteer and his mother to help him illustrate what mercy costs. He asked Karen, mother of Hunter, what she would give to save her son’s life, and then asked what she would ask her son to give to save hers. What about an enemy? he then asked. What would she give to save an enemy? What would she ask her son to give to save an enemy?

St. Paul says that Christ died for us when we were still sinners, Father O’Cinnsealaigh explained. In some translations, the same passage uses the word enemies. “It’s not an easy thing, to die to save an enemy,” he said. “It’s a heroic thing. He died for us – for me – for you – and now he says, ‘Do the same.’”

The annual Divine Mercy Sunday celebration at St. Bart’s was planned by members of the Blessed Saints Pastoral Region (St. Bartholomew and St. Vivian parishes). In addition to five deacons and Father O’Cinnsealaigh, 10 priests participated in the liturgy: Glenmary Fathers C. Artsiewicz, T. Kirkendoll, and J. Peterson; Franciscan Father K. Freson; Jesuit Fathers T. Howe and E. Pigott; and Fathers Gerard Hiland, Tom McCarthy, and L. Ulinzweimana.

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