Here in Northern California, the Divine Mercy Eucharistic Society (DMES) is a Catholic community of lay people whom God has touched deeply. This experience has brought us to share our God-given gifts of faith and love with the Church and with our greater society. We have therefore dedicated ourselves to establishing the Mount of Divine Mercy as our humble offering to our Lord that it may inspire and lead many to a transforming encounter and experience of the presence of God.
With utmost humility, the community was founded in the Diocese of Oakland, California, out of obedience to Jesus, The Divine Mercy, whose inspiration clearly manifested itself. In 1998, under the name Divine Mercy Foundation, we formally formed a Board of Directors to lead our organization. At that time, DMES was officially organized and registered as a non-profit religious organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, with its original office in El Cerrito, California.
In 2005, the community changed its name to Divine Mercy Eucharistic Society to better describe the meaning of the apostolate. DMES is listed in the Official U.S. Catholic Directory under the Diocese of Oakland. Likewise, DMES is recognized by the Marians of the Immaculate Conception at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts — a congregation of priests and brothers dedicated to the promotion of the Divine Mercy devotion.
An invitation from Father Patrice Chocholski, Secretary to Cardinal Schonborn, who was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to lead the first World Apostolic Congress on Mercy (WACOM) held in Rome in 2008, recognized DMES as part of the world congress movement. This event also confirmed our inspiration to evangelize the Divine Mercy devotion.
Our spiritual and corporal works of mercy also found their expression in the following programs and activities:
Annual Divine Mercy West Coast Conference
Beginning in 1994, this was an adult and youth conference featuring distinguished speakers held during the season of Lent. It provides attendees an abundance of spiritual sustenance and guidance in drawing from God’s unfathomable Divine Mercy. It is one of the many ways that we spread and teach the message of the Divine Mercy, emphasizing the teachings of Jesus Christ through the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Scriptures, and the writings of St. Faustina.
Divine Mercy Center and Perpetual Adoration Chapel
In 1998, we occupied the former chapel and office of the Sisters of Mercy on the grounds of St. John the Baptist Church in El Cerrito, CA. Later in 1999, we established the Divine Mercy Chapel, the first Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapel in the Oakland Diocese. Visitors could adore the Blessed Sacrament for 24 hours/7 days a week. In October 2012, DMES received a letter from St. John the Baptist Parish in El Cerrito informing us that after consulting with the Diocese of Oakland, they would be assuming the management of the Perpetual Adoration Chapel, thereby ending the DMES agreement with the parish after 15 grace-filled years.
Mary’s House of Mercy
In 2001, we occupied the former friary of the Conventual Franciscans across from St. Paul Church in San Pablo, CA, where we opened the second Adoration Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. At the same facility, in 2002, we established Mary’s House of Mercy, a 13-bedroom home for pregnant women in crisis located in West Contra Costa County, serving the greater Bay Area. The mission of Mary’s House of Mercy was to provide homeless single women experiencing a crisis pregnancy a stable and supportive, home-like environment so that they could prepare for motherhood.
Many of our residents had fled domestic violence, were low-income, and had minimal or no family support. In January 2013, Divine Mercy Eucharistic Society received a letter from St. Paul Church in San Pablo informing us that after consulting with the Diocese of Oakland, St. Paul School would be given priority use of their facilities to increase school enrollment, thereby ending the DMES agreement with the parish after 12 blessed years of championing the cause of sheltering homeless pregnant women in crisis and helping them settle into stable lives with their newborns.
Formation of the Health Care Professionals for Divine Mercy
In cooperation with the Healthcare Professionals for Divine Mercy of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, this new pastoral program was designed to educate and share the message and fulfillment of the Divine Mercy to all segments of the health care industry. It was an attempt to encourage people in the health care industry to value their work not just as a profession in healing our bodies, but through God’s grace, transform their work into a vocation of saving souls, especially in these very troubling times where the sanctity of life is threatened.
In our work, we call upon our faith, perseverance, love, and trust in God, who always provides. Trust is the essence of the Divine Mercy message — Jesus, I Trust in You.