STOCKBRIDGE, MA — More than 20,000 people are expected to attend the annual Divine Mercy Sunday Weekend festivities on April 7-8, at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, the provincial headquarters of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. This annual event is hosted by the Marian Fathers, who have promoted the Divine Mercy message and devotion since 1941.

The principal celebrant for the Sunday liturgy will be the Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz, DD, archbishop of the Archdiocese of Louisville, Kentucky. Archbishop Kurtz, a friend of the Marian Fathers, served as the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2013 to 2016.

A live international broadcast will air on the EWTN Global Catholic Network beginning at noon Eastern time on Sunday, April 8, with a one-hour program hosted by Very Rev. Fr. Joseph Roesch, MIC, and Fr. Chris Alar, MIC, followed by the Mass.

This year’s theme will be “A Cry for Mercy” since our troubled world is in such need. Unified by this theme, the live broadcast will include the following special guests:

Sammie Wood, a mother of three from Clayton, New Mexico. In 2014, she tragically lost her teenage daughter, Clare, to suicide. Sammie sees it as her calling to help those who grieve the loss of a loved one to suicide.

Dana Scallon, Irish singer and politician, who has fought many years for the pro-life cause through her music and as a politician. Dana wrote the theme song for the 1993 World Youth Day, “We Are One Body,” leading more than 280,000 young people in song before the Holy Father. In the 1990s, Dana hosted her own music and talk show for EWTN. In 1997 and 2011, she was nominated to run for president of Ireland, campaigning on core Catholic values, especially the right to life. In 1999, she was elected to the European Parliament, where she served until 2004. Dana is currently advocating for the people of Ireland to vote against a referendum that would legalize abortion.

Dr. George A. Harne, the president of Northeastern Catholic College in Warner, New Hampshire. Dr. Harne studied great books at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland. He earned graduate degrees in the history of music from both the University of Washington and Princeton University. President Harne and his wife, Debbie, both entered the Catholic Church in 2006. They have five children. Dr. Harne is currently working with Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC, and the Marian Missionaries of Divine Mercy to provide spiritual formation to undergraduates at Northeastern Catholic College.

Throughout the weekend, the 350-acre Shrine grounds are transformed into a small tent city, providing opportunities for Confessions, Adoration, and visiting the Divine Mercy Gift Shop. Both the Vigil Mass at 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 7, and the Sunday liturgy on April 8 will be celebrated on Eden Hill at the Mother of Mercy Outdoor Shrine. One of the highlights of the weekend will be the prayer banner composed of thousands of pieces of cloth inscribed with prayer intentions for Divine Mercy Sunday. Translators will be on hand to provide assistance in Spanish, Polish, Italian, French, German, and Tagalog. In all, approximately 600 volunteers will assist with various responsibilities.

The Marian Fathers extend a warm invitation to all to come to Eden Hill in Stockbridge to experience this annual celebration. Admission is free. Online bus registration has closed, but private vehicles are welcome with no registration required. The GPS address for the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy is 74 Pine Street, Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Background of the Marian Fathers

Since 1941, the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M. have been promoters of the authentic Divine Mercy message and devotion. Their apostolic center is located at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. In 1993, St. John Paul II gave the Marian Congregation a special mandate: “Be apostles of Divine Mercy under the maternal and loving guidance of Mary.”

(press release sent to WSBS from the Marians of the Immaculate Conception for online and on air use; all photos used by permission)