Fr. Anthony Gramlich MIC, the rector of the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, graciously spent some time with SPES discussing the New Evangelization.

What draws people to the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy?

In part, the beauty of our campus, the clean air, the grass and the trees help bring people to us.  Then when they are in the shrine, the beauty of it draws them deeper – the images of Our Lady, The Divine Mercy images… I think The Divine Mercy is the initial way to bring back fallen away Catholics and to bring people into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  After this initial proclamation, then we help them grow deeper into their faith through literature, pilgrimages, and a deeper prayer life.  This is all so that they can become evangelizers themselves.

For us, evangelization is not just physically going out, but receiving with hospitality those who come in the door.  We evangelize by ministering to pilgrims; by accepting and welcoming them; by sharing with them His Divine Mercy.

Do many other non-Catholics visit the Shrine?

People of other faiths do visit.  People just really love the grounds and the beauty really appeals to them.  They might walk their dog through the Stations of the Cross.  Maybe they are saying a Rosary, maybe not.  They are, however, being exposed to the Passion of Our Lord, His sacrificial love for us all, and that really impacts them.

What are some of the ways you outwardly evangelize?

There is a diocesan wide pilgrimage to the Shrine in September.  And we always have a large feast on Divine Mercy Sunday to which our bishop is invited.

There are different ways to draw people into His Divine Mercy.  For example, every day we Marians offer adoration, confession – right now there are four priest offering confession! – the Rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet daily, and a pilgrim’s mass.  A lot of people haven’t seen or been able to participate in the Exposition and Benediction of the Holy Eucharist which can be quite a powerful experience that moves people to know Christ.

We also have our broader community which includes the Confraternity and Association of Marian Helpers.  In addition, we have many speakers, we do conferences, and we publish books and media.  Fr. Gaitley and Fr. Calloway are probably our most well known writers and speakers, but all of us Marians do parish missions and retreats.

Thank you Father!

Learn more about Fr. Anthony and the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception.