From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

‘Walking One Earth’ is theme of St. Aloysius Parish’s 75th annual Novena of Grace

the Inland Register

(From the Feb. 7, 2002 edition of the Inland Register)

Jesuit Father Richard (Dick) Mercy and Peter Brady (Brad) Rothrock will lead this year’s Novena of Grace, offering nine days of prayer and worship from March 9 through 17 at St. Aloysius Church, 330 E. Boone.

The tradition of the novena was started in 1633 after St. Francis Xavier appeared to Father Marcellus Mastrilli as he lay near death for three weeks following an accidental head trauma. St. Francis asked him to renew his vow to missionary ministry and encouraged a devotion of nine days of prayer. Father Marcellus fully recovered and returned to missionary work. He was martyred in Japan in 1637.

The practice of nine days of devotion has continued and grown. Because many have had their prayers answered, it has been termed the “Novena of Grace.”

During these nine days of prayer, St. Aloysius Church will offer four daily services: 12:15, 3:30, 5:15, and 7:30 p.m. Both Sunday services will begin at 12:30 p.m. to allow for normal Sunday liturgies.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be offered after each service.

“Walking One Earth” is this year’s theme, which will be dually developed by Father Mercy and Brad Rothrock. Both men have benefited from rich Jesuit formation backgrounds.

The spiritual message will emphasize the common thread that unites us through our oneness in God, which is enriched through our diversity of culture, faith, and origin. It will encompass our need, as a people of one Creator, to walk in solidarity with all people; to be the voice for the voiceless; to seek justice, healing, and reconciliation within the fractured human community.

The novena’s mission of awareness of God at work in individual lives and in the world initiates with the Gospel reading for Sunday, March 9. The reading, from the Gospel of St. John, recounts the story of the man born blind. The message will explore our own search for clarity of vision through which we encounter God’s enduring presence and transforming love for all of us.

This year’s presenters bring a wealth of diverse life experience to the novena presentations, as well as a shared background in Jesuit spirituality.

Father Mercy, Seattle born, has a wealth of Native American spiritualism that he will bring to this novena. He entered the Jesuit order in 1959, was ordained in 1971, and has been privileged to have spent the last 25 years ministering to the Native Americans of the Northwest. Along with Jesuit Father Tom Colgan, Father Mercy formed Kateri Northwest Ministry Institute, through which he has been an encouragement to Native American leaders for the last 13 years by supporting Indian expressions of Catholic faith.

Father Mercy says that his own faith has been deepened by his involvement with the Indian people and their genuine expression of thanksgiving as a way of life; a gratitude which is always directed to the Creator.

Brad Rothrock was born in Spokane and graduated from Gonzaga Prep. His background has included time spent in L’Arche communities in France and Honduras, caring for mentally delayed men and women.

He spent five years in the Jesuit order and in 1993 began working with Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the U.S. bishops’ overseas development and emergency relief agency, traveling through much of Europe, Africa, Croatia, and India. He is currently based in Brazil as country representative for CRS. He and his wife, Sophie Moeckli, have four young children.

Brad reflects that each new encounter with people from wonderfully diverse backgrounds throughout the world has brought numerous opportunities for learning and growth for each member of his family. He is grateful for each glimpse of hope and gesture of God’s abiding love that he has experienced on his many journeys, and his life mission is one of building bridges of solidarity throughout all peoples.

The public is welcome to participate in this 75th annual Novena of Grace.

For further information, contact St. Aloysius Parish Center: 323-5896.

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