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Be the Light: Shining God's Mercy


On March 13, 2015, Pope Francis was presiding over a penance service in St. Peter’s Basilica when he announced an extraordinary Jubilee dedicated to Mercy.  The Jubilee Year was to begin on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (December 8, 2015) and conclude on November 20, 2016 - Christ the King Sunday.

In anticipation of the Jubilee Year, Bishop Steven J. Raica and the diocesan staff hosted Merciful Like the Father: Becoming Heralds of God's Mercy, a conference designed to encourage the faithful to begin thinking about works of mercy in their everyday lives. Bishop Raica delivered the keynote address, and conference participants attended several breakout sessions that included topics such as indulgences, grief and bereavement ministry, ministering in hospitals, and more. Throughout the year, parishes across the diocese hosted the series Hidden Treasures of the Catholic Church, with each month focusing on a different work of mercy. 

Now, as we approach the end of this Jubilee Year, Bishop Raica invites the faithful to join him at Be the Light: Shining God's Mercy, a conference focusing on the many ways we can continue to live out our call to mercy. 

The conference will be held at the Cooney Conference Center in Gaylord and will feature Fr. Duane Wachowiak as the keynote speaker. Doors will open at 9:00 a.m. for check-in and hospitality, and the day will begin with a prayer service at 9:30 a.m. Participants will attend four 45-minute breakout sessions throughout the afternoon, and the day will conclude with the 5:00 p.m. Mass and Closing of the Holy Door to Conclude the Year of Mercy celebrated by Bishop Raica at St. Mary Cathedral.

Cost for the day is $10 per person for those who register by Monday, October 31, and $15 per person for those who register after. The cost includes lunch, and scholarships are available for those in need. Registrations must be received by Wednesday, November 16 and will not be accepted at the door.

For more information or to request a scholarship, contact Wayne Winter at 989.732.5147 or via email at 

Keynote Address

The Mystery of Faith: Finding Mercy in the Liturgies of the Church

Fr. Duane Wachowiak

The Corporal and Spiritual Acts of Mercy are proclaimed in the many prayers used at Mass and other liturgical celebrations. Particular attention will be made to the Eucharistic Prayer and how we can be reminded to continue this  Jubilee Year of Mercy each time we participate in this act of God's mercy toward us.  Some cultural adaptations allowed in Mass will also be discussed during this "walk-through" of the prayers and life of the Church. 

Fr. Duane Wachowiak was born and raised in Saginaw. He attended seminary at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wisconsin, and was ordained by Bishop Patrick Cooney in 1998. In 2002, he received a Master’s in Theology with a concentration in Liturgy from the University of Notre Dame. He has since served as the Director of Worship & Liturgy for the Diocese of Gaylord, and returned to Sacred Heart as the Director of Liturgy and Liturgical Formation, where he was also a member of the Board of Directors.  Fr. Duane is a member of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions, and has previously served on the Board of Directors. His commentary was heard on live TV during the Episcopal Ordinations of Bishop Steven J. Raica in 2014 and former Bishop of Gaylord Bernard A. Hebda in 2009. Currently, he is the Pastor of St. Mary-St. Charles in Cheboygan,  St. Clement in Pellston, Sacred Heart in Riggsville, and St. Mary in Burt Lake.