It was a Sunday to remember. Internationally, Roman Catholics rejoiced in the beatification of Blessed John Paul II on Divine Mercy Sunday on May 1. Locally, the faithful gathered at the to take part in a Divine Mercy Healing Service and celebrate the opening of Our Lady, Queen of Peace Adoration Chapel.
About 200 people filled the pews of the Tiverton church expecting to hear Eileen George, who was scheduled to host the Teaching and Healing Service at 3 p.m.
At the eleventh-hour Father Jay Finelli received a call. He passed on the sad news to the gathering: Eileen George was ill and unable to come.
“I went into panic mode,” Father Jay told them. “But this is Divine Mercy Sunday. Jesus came back for a second time (the Sunday after the Resurrection), and He’s here with us. It’s not Eileen that is going to be healing today; it is not me; it his Him. We will pray.”
Father Jay put the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance and placed it on the altar. Catholics believe in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.
“We’ve all come with expectations. I did, too,” said Father Jay. “But she’s not here. If you need to be healed, don’t go to a person. Eileen can’t heal; it’s Jesus that heals through her. All we need to do when we need anything is go into the church and sit before him in faith. If you came for some kind of healing, lay it at the altar.”
Father Jay told the Gospel story of the woman with a hemorrhage of twelve years’ duration, incurable at any doctor’s hands, who came up behind Jesus and touched his cloak. Immediately, she was healed.
“She heard Jesus was coming to town (and she thought) if I can get there, all I have to do is touch the hem of his garment, and I’ll be healed,” said Father Jay. “How much faith she had!”
As an aside, Father Jay recalled his first visit to Rome, when he saw the pope at a distance.
“I dashed through a hole (in the crowd) to shake hands with John Paul II. You have to be tough,” he said laughing. “The old Italians are tough, and the nuns even tougher.”
Father Jay said that all believers can follow the example of the woman in the Gospel, and reach out to Jesus.
“Picture Him in your mind and when He walks by, touch Him,” he said. “It’s not magic. What we call it is faith. I believe He is present – body, blood, soul and divinity. He’s here fully and fully in heaven. He wants to reach out and touch everyone.”
The opening of Our Lady, Queen of Peace Adoration Chapel will offer the faithful the opportunity to spend time in Eucharistic Adoration.
“Come and sit before Jesus,” said Father Jay. “You don’t have to look for so many extraordinary places to go. You don’t have to go to Medjugorje, Lourdes or Fatima. Jesus is here. Come to Jesus. Come to Him who wants to be with you.”
Together, the worshippers prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
“Have mercy on us and on the whole world,” they sang in unison over and over again; and a chain of unbroken prayers covered the earth.
The Our Lady, Queen of Peace Adoration Chapel is open Monday through Friday, noon to midnight. All are welcome. If you would like to commit to one hour a week as an adorer, call the rectory at (401) 624-8131.