Fr. Michael Gaitley, author and speaker, presents message of mercy to Denton college students

by Jacqueline Burkepile

North Texas Catholic

November 21, 2016

Father Michael Gaitley, MIC, explains his devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Divine Mercy to a group of more than 100 college students at St. John Paul II Church in Denton. (Photo by Jillian Lim)

DENTON — Jesus said to St. Faustina Kowalska, “The greater the sinner, the greater his right to my mercy.” (Diary of St. Faustina) On the evening of Nov. 10, nationally-renowned Catholic author and speaker Father Michael Gaitley, MIC, used this quote to present Jesus’ message of mercy to more than 100 college students at St. John Paul II Church and Campus Ministry.

Fr. Gaitley began the evening by concelebrating Mass with Father Kyle Walterscheid, pastor of St. John Paul II Church. The best-selling author of many Catholic books, including 33 Days to Morning Glory, then shared stories about his faith journey, his vocational discernment, and his devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Divine Mercy.

Fr. Gaitley explained that he initially hoped to attend the University of California, Los Angeles so he could live a sinful life as a professional beach volleyball player. God instead led him to the Franciscan University of Steubenville, where many priests explained that “the meaning of life is to become a saint.” One of his peers later introduced him to St. Louis de Montfort’s True Devotion to Mary, which says “a total consecration to Jesus through Mary is the quickest, easiest, surest, and most perfect way to become a saint.” Not wanting to miss this opportunity, he made the consecration, which “changed everything.” He began praying the Rosary, attending daily Mass, and discerned his call to the priesthood. Many challenges along the way led him to understand God’s infinite love and mercy.

“God doesn’t love [in] the way human beings love. We love people because they’re attractive, funny, talented, rich, and powerful,” Fr. Gaitley said. “God loves us because we’re so weak, broken, and sinful. God’s merciful love is like water that rushes to the lowest place.”

More than 100 college students listen to Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC, (not shown) speak on conversion and mercy. (Photo by Jilliam Lim)

After discovering the Divine Mercy devotion, Fr. Gaitley said that for the first time in his life, he believed God loved him.

“The weaker and more broken we are, the more his merciful love goes out. God’s love is not something we earn. It’s something we receive in faith and love,” Fr. Gaitley said. “He wants us to trust in his mercy with a contrite heart.”

At the end of his talk, Fr. Gaitley encouraged students to consecrate themselves to Mary and to embrace Jesus’ Divine Mercy.

“Let Mary bring you to the love of the heart of Jesus in this time of mercy,” Fr. Gaitley said. “I hope all of us here will become not just saints, but great saints through the power of Divine Mercy.”

University of North Texas student Victor Baez attended Fr. Gaitley’s talk. Baez said the priest’s stories were inspiring, and he appreciated that Fr. Gaitley related well to a college student’s perspective.

“I can see in the lives of the saints and in Mary that it’s possible to be with God someday in Heaven, and I don’t have to wait for that day to come. I can bring Heaven on earth through my relationships with people and through my participation in Mass,” Baez said.

Fr. Walterscheid said that Fr. Gaitley’s message of mercy “bore a powerful witness” to the college students. He said it is important for them to know God’s mercy and love, so that they can be renewed in faith, hope, and charity.

“Fr. Gaitley’s testimony from grave sin to saintly life gave great hope to all our students,” he said. “It’s not every day that students hear that our Lord’s mercy is greater than any sin. It was a very uplifting message for our students to grow deeper in their relationship with Christ.”

DENTON — Jesus said to St. Faustina Kowalska, “The greater the sinner, the greater his right to my mercy.” (Diary of St. Faustina) On the evening of Nov. 10, nationally-renowned Catholic author and speaker Father Michael Gaitley, MIC, used this quote to present Jesus’ message of mercy to more than 100 college students at St. John Paul II Church and Campus Ministry.

Published (until 12/27/2035)