On Friday, October 13th (100th anniversary of the final apparition of Our Lady at Fatima), another Mercy Night was held at the Church of Saint Catherine of Siena in Cedar Grove, New Jersey. A new seminarian to our house, Christopher Hughes (Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts) will share his experience at his first Mercy Night by the Emmanuel Community. Thank you for your prayers, which aided in making this Mercy Night a success!
Recently, I joined my brother seminarians from Immaculate Conception Seminary at Mercy Night. Mercy Night was the “talk of the town” at the seminary, so I thought it would be worth a try. Never did I think I would be so moved by what occurred that night.
I led a Mercy Group with a brother seminarian of mine, and I was told to just “let the Holy Spirit do all the work.” I watched people come to us weighed down and stressed by their burdens, what bothers them, and most of all what needs prayers. I saw the Holy Spirit at work in ways that I had never seen before. I had no idea what to say in some cases, but I was absolutely amazed at the graces God had given me to say what needed to be said and what that person needed to hear. At the conclusion of each prayer, I saw people walk away relieved, confident, and faith-filled. They had been touched by the love of God, and it was clear that they had encountered God in those gathered.
People had come to Mercy Night searching for answers – some had already spent months, if not weeks searching. The Spirit drove each and every one of those people to come to Mercy Night on a dark Friday evening. People left Mercy Night with the answers they were seeking. Their worries had been put into words, their sins had been forgiven, and most of all, a true encounter with Christ.
I left Mercy Night in awe at how God was truly at work that night. Seeing a couple of hundred people come out on a Friday night to pack a church moved me extremely – it strengthened my own faith, knowing that there are many in this world – a world that sometimes seems faithless – that still cling to their faith.
Leading a Mercy Group was special. I have always wondered how priests that I have encountered in the past always knew what to say when I sought advice. I now have experienced it firsthand – it’s the power of the Holy Spirit. This has caused me to rely on the Spirit more, as it is something needed not only for my (God-willing) future ministry, but something needed for everyday life – in all places and in all situations.
Being from Massachusetts and new to New Jersey, I hadn’t heard of the Emmanuel Community before, but was blown away through my experience at Mercy Night. This is certainly a community with Christ at their center and that strives to share Christ with others. I look forward to the next Mercy Night and to exploring the Emmanuel Community further!
Perhaps you may know someone who could benefit from Mercy Night. Maybe it’s that friend, co-worker, or family member that is struggling. They are not alone on this journey, and by taking a leap of faith, answers can be sought. May the Holy Spirit drive us to invite them and share the good news.
Diocese of Fall River