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Catholic Life Features

EWTN series highlights the work of St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy

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St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy will be the spotlight on an upcoming episode of EWTN’s “Living Divine Mercy.” Airing Ash Wednesday, the segment will show a typical day at the unique East Side Buffalo mission.

George Foster, a video producer for the Marian Helpers Association in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, spent two days at St. Luke’s recording hours of footage involving the food program, school and charitable mall that provides clothes and home goods. Foster also spoke with the missionaries who staff St. Luke’s who truly are living Divine Mercy every day.

Dave Topor gives Giulianna an English lesson at St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy Home School. The school was spotlighted by EWTN on “Living Divine Mercy.” (Photo by Patrick J. Buechi)

“They’re just amazing. It’s a one-of-a-kind place,” said Foster. “I do a lot of stories about ministries and about exceptional people who live Divine Mercy in their lives. It is wholly unique. The love that the people have there and their generosity; it has to be seen to be believed.”

The hours of footage will be whittled down to a six-minute segment on the “Living Divine Mercy” episode airing on March 2. Hosted by Father Chris Alar, MIC, the show helps viewers get a better understanding of the Divine Mercy message through powerful, real life examples of people who truly live it in their everyday lives.

Foster seemed impressed by the scope of St. Luke’s work, which includes preparing 1,200 meals for the residents of Buffalo’s East Side. That’s more than twice the meals from the pre-Covid days.

“Being here two days, he said, ‘If I had my way I’d have a two-hour special about this place.’ He goes, ‘I can’t believe all the things that go on here, and the way you do and seeing the people,’” said Amy Betros, co-founder of the mission. “When they came, they did everything. They came to Mass with us. They saw our prayer. The went up to the school. Saw the kids. Thursday’s the best day here because, if you want to see what really goes on. We have the school, the food giveaway, we have the meals. He got to see what they do in the kitchen. He saw them packing the food. He saw the food coming in. He saw the mall open. He got to see the whole mission in action.”

Others interviewed include David Topor, who teaches in the home school for residents of St. Luke’s Gospa Village, a gated community of houses for single mothers and their children.

“I think (they want to see) mercy being lived out, mercy in action,” he said. “They came here and saw one of our food giveaways. They saw when we were giving our lunches and dinners to people. They were interested in that. Then they spoke to a number of us about our stories, how we got here, what we do here.”

Topor’s own story involves a search to find where God was leading him. While working as a youth minister at Infant of Prague Parish in Cheektowaga, he would bring kids to St. Luke’s to volunteer. Missionaries would also come to Infant of Prague to talk about St. Luke’s. A relationship developed and Topor felt led to become a missionary himself.

Dennis Gilhooley was serving in music ministry at Holy Spirit in North Buffalo when he got asked to play keyboards with the Voices of Mercy, St. Luke’s resident choir. Once he met the other missionaries, he too felt called to become more involved.

“It would be great to give people a little more exposure to St. Luke’s and exactly what we do here. I feel it’s a very special place. I think as people hear our story and see it, I hope they see how powerful God’s mercy is,” he said.

Even with Covid-19 disrupting the lives of everyone, and having a detrimental effect on the needy, St. Luke’s continues its dedication to spreading the reality of God’s great and infinite love for all people through the message of His Divine Mercy.

“I play chess with Covid. It makes a move, I make a move,” said Betros. “We’ve been able to not shut down ever during this whole thing.”

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