PALA – The 21st annual Divine Mercy Conference will be held Saturday, Oct. 19, at the San Juan Diego Center at Mission San Antonio De Pala, 3015 Mission Road, in Pala.
Conference speakers will include Father Chris Alar, director of the Association of Marian Helpers; Father Charles Willingham of St. Michaels Abbey in Orange County; Jesse Romero, retired Los Angeles deputy sheriff and lay evangelist; Mike Pacer, former trial lawyer from Chicago and director of Evangelize all Ministries and Father Dave Leon, a Diocesan priest in San Diego.
Alar is a priest with the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. Alar wrote and produced “Divine Mercy 101” DVD and is the author of the soon-to-be released book “After Suicide: There is still hope for them and you.” He is an international speaker and is a regular host and guest on EWTN. He also hosts the online series, “Divine Mercy Matters,” at www.DivineMercyMatters.org. Currently, he serves as Father Joseph, the director of the Association of Marian Helpers and is the head of the Marian Press, located on the grounds of the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
Willingham is a Norbertine priest with St. Michaels Abbey in Orange County. The Norbertine fathers live a common life of liturgical prayer and participate in many activities which serve the Christian faithful. Willingham has been part of its many and various apostolic ministries for 24 years, serving as a teacher of religious education, chaplain to colleges and a speaker at retreats for religious and laity throughout the U.S.
Romero is a retired Los Angeles deputy sheriff. Currently, he serves full time as a bilingual Catholic lay evangelist who is nationally acclaimed for his dynamic upbeat Christ-centered preaching, also referred to as “On Fire Evangelization.” After rediscovering his Catholic roots, Romero studied and prayed his way back to a fervent ongoing practice of the Catholic faith. He has defended the church in several official debates with different Protestant pastors and on Spanish television against secular humanists. His motto is “Love God, Save Souls, Slay Error.” He has a bachelor’s degree from Mount St. Mary’s University in Los Angeles and a master’s degree in Catholic theology from the Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. He is the recipient of the archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Award and The Fullness of Truth “Defender of Faith’ Award. He is the author of “Our Mouths Were Filled with Laughter,” “La Verdad Te Hara Libre” and “Catholics Wake Up.”
Pacer practiced as a Chicago trial lawyer for 14 years before hearing a call from God to “just leave.” His trust walk over the past 14 years has led him to a life as a dynamic international speaker, award-winning author, retreat facilitator and parish mission leader. He and his wife Lori are the directors of Evangelize all Ministries, an apostolate that promotes “God is! a powerful plan for parish evangelization and renewal.” Pacer is also the president of 5 Stones, a not-for-profit that partners with Catholic organizations, providing them tools to magnify their message and evangelize the world.
Leon, who will serve as spiritual adviser for the conference, is a Diocesan priest in San Diego. He serves in hospital ministry and spiritual direction. He served as a member of the Diocesan Pastoral Board for Charismatic Renewal, is a member of Confraternity of Catholic Clergy and serves as spiritual adviser for Courage and Encourage.
The celebrant for closing Mass is Abbot Charles Wright from Prince of Peace Abby.
Mission San Antonio De Pala is a historic parish with original mission chapel, old cemetery, museum, old jail, patio gardens, picnic grounds and a 10-year-old function hall. The secluded location offers a prayerful and reflective atmosphere.
The Divine Mercy Devotion comes from the diary of a young Polish nun and began as a special devotion which spread throughout the world in the 1930s. The message teaches that God is merciful and forgiving and that people too must show mercy and forgiveness. The Divine Mercy devotion calls people to a deeper understanding that God’s love is unlimited and available to everyone – especially the greatest sinners.
The message and devotion to Jesus as the divine mercy is based on the writings of St. Faustina Kowalska, an uneducated Polish nun who in obedience to her spiritual director wrote a diary of about 600 pages recording the revelations she received about God’s mercy. Even before her death in 1938, the devotion to The Divine Mercy had begun to spread.
Pre-registration is open until Oct. 13 at www.SDDivinemercy.com. Pre-registration fees are $25 for individuals, $35 for married couples and $15 for children 17 and under. At the door, individuals are $30, married couples are $50 and children 17 and under are $15. Priests and religious members are free.
Registration opens at 8 a.m. Saturday.
Rosary will be said at 8:40 a.m. and the conference begins at 9 a.m.
Confessions will be heard from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
The closing mass will celebrated at 6 p.m.
Coffee and doughnuts will be available in morning as well as beverages all day long. Attendees are welcome to bring their own lunch.
A box lunch will be available for pre-order; attendees should let them know if they prefer water or soda. Place the lunch order at registration and include payment. The box lunch will include 1/2 turkey and 1/2 roast beef sandwich, bag of chips, trail mix, cookie and soda or water for $7.50.
The Divine Mercy bookstore for books and gifts will be open during the conference except during the mass and holy hour. Any table inside the hall where speakers are will not be open during talks as a courtesy to speakers.
For more information, call (619) 276-6637 or register www.SDDivinemercy.com.
Submitted by Divine Mercy Movement.