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, hope, 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 and a living witness to His Divine Providence that it may inspire and lead many to a transforming encounter and experience of the presence of God.
In 1998, we formally formed a Board of Directors to lead our organization. At that time, DMES was officially organized and registered as a non-profit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and the Franchise Tax Board of the State of California.
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 message and devotion.
Toward the end of 1990, the first task in this inspired mission of promoting the Divine Mercy message was to donate the Divine Mercy Image to St. Joseph Church (later merged with St. Patrick’s Catholic Church) in San Francisco. The Image was enthroned and the first Feast of the Divine Mercy in the San Francisco Bay Area was celebrated in April 1991. Another Divine Mercy Image was enthroned at St. Boniface Church at the Tenderloin District of San Francisco. And the Divine Mercy message and movement were introduced mostly to the Catholic churches in the Greater Bay Area.
In 1993, Sister Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun whom Jesus gave the message to spread to the world, was beatified. This beatification of Sister Faustina intensified and confirmed our determination to continue to spread Jesus’ message of Divine Mercy.
Later in 1994–with the Holy Spirit’s prodding—we organized a major religious processions in the streets of San Francisco, the first one in 30 years. These early efforts ensured that more and more people became aware of, and devoted to the Divine Mercy message and devotion. Priests and religious, who were loyal to our Catholic Church teachings and its leadership, began to support our activities. After witnessing the fruits of the Divine Mercy and seeing how the Holy Spirit was working powerfully, the Divine Mercy message and devotion spread throughout the greater San Francisco Bay Area.
In April 2000, DMES 56 members witnessed the canonization of Saint Faustina Kowalska in Rome. This event began the Divine Mercy devotees’ annual pilgrimages to the holy shrines to also promote the Divine Mercy message. In 2014, DMES organized its 14th Divine Mercy pilgrimage to witness Pope John Paul ll and Pope John XXlll’s respective canonizations for sainthood on the Feast of Divine Mercy Sunday in Rome.
Beginning 2013, DMES began the weekly Rosary and devotion to Our Lady of Fatima every Saturday along with the Divine Mercy prayers at Mount of Divine Mercy. Mount of Divine Mercy opened its gates to all families and prayer groups to honor our Blessed Mother Mary, St. joseph, and Jesus, the Divine Mercy.
Our spiritual and corporal works of mercy also found their expression in the following programs and activities:
Annual Divine Mercy West Coast Conference
Commencing in 1994, the Divine Mercy Eucharistic Society hosted its first annual Divine Mercy West Coast Conference at St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco. This is an adult and youth conference, and 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. It provides attendees an abundance of spiritual sustenance and guidance in drawing from God’s unfathomable Divine Mercy. In 2014, DMES held its 20th Divine Mercy West Coast Conference-annually held since 1994.
Divine Mercy Center and Perpetual Adoration Chapel
In 1998, we rented the former chapel and office owned by St. John the Baptist Church in El Cerrito, CA. Later in 1999, we established the Divine Mercy Perpetual Adoration Chapel, at the time the first Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapel in the Oakland Diocese. Visitors could adore the Blessed Sacrament for 24 hours/7 days a week. In 2012, after 13 years of managing the Chapel, the owner of the Chapel building, took over the management of the Perpetual Adoration Chapel and made it part of their parish ministry.
Mary’s House of Mercy
In 2001, we rented the former friary 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 in crisis pregnancy, who chose life for their unborn, a stable and supportive, home-like environment and who had nowhere to turn. During this period we provided a safe haven for 350 women and their newborns to live, while providing wrap-around services with the aid of a social worker. Most mothers and their babies reunited with their families and/or transitioned to a new home after completing approximately their 1 ½ years. In 2013, the owner and landlord terminated our lease for provision to use the building as extension of their school programs. And in place of Mary’s House of Mercy, Divine Mercy Eucharistic Society instituted a referral program for single, pregnant women in crisis.
Formation of the Health Care Professionals for Divine Mercy
In 2009, with the growing concern of issues in bioethics affecting medical care and the role of spirituality in the care of the sick, injured and dying, Divine Mercy Eucharistic Society started “The Divine Mercy for Healthcare Professionals” seminar in the Bay Area. This conference was through the inspiration and joint collaboration of Healthcare Professionals for Divine Mercy, an apostolate of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of Stockbridge, MA. 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.