By Eddie O'Neill
In one month alone last year, Father Chris Crotty put more than 3,000 miles on his 2003 Nissan Frontier pickup. Doing what? Preaching the Gospel.
Ordained in 2001, Father Crotty is a member of the Fathers of Mercy. He has spent the last six years traveling the globe preaching God's love through parish missions, conferences and nights of healing.
Headquartered in Auburn, Ky., the Fathers of Mercy were founded in France during the early part of the 1830s with a mission to preach parish missions and retreats, emphasizing the power of the holy Eucharist and confession.
After his ordination, Father Crotty served briefly as an associate pastor of a parish in Louisville, Ky. It was there he says that he saw a need to tap into the power of the Holy Spirit. "While at the parish, I came to understand the importance of the Holy Spirit in pastoral care due to the unprecedented amount of brokenness that I found in the souls and families I was called to served," he told Our Sunday Visitor.
It was the power of the Holy Spirit that transformed his parish missions and healing Masses once he hit the mission trail in 2002.
"The Holy Spirit began to draw souls to these missions, and true healing began to take place," he said. "Physical healings from cancer, heart conditions, leg and limb conditions and a whole host of medical maladies have been healed on the missions."
In his opinion, the greatest cures that take place are the chemical and sexual addictions he has seen healed. His favorite story is that of a healing that took place of a man suffering from liver cancer. According to Father Crotty, the man had just adopted four children under the age of 12 from the Philippines, one of which had been abused sexually. Both he and this particular son attended the mission. The father was completely healed of liver cancer. At the end of the mission, the boy told Father Crotty that Jesus had taken him on his lap and told him that everything was going to be all right.
When these healings take place, Father Crotty is honored to be a part of them. "When these things happen, it is a sign of God's love for his people," he said. "God wants to bestow his love where there is faith."
The San Francisco Bay native has seen time and time again the need for healing of family trees. His missions and healing Masses often include a special prayer designed to heal a person's past. "Part of this realization comes from wounds that I experienced in my own life," shared Father Crotty. " If we look at our histories, we are all broken in one way or another, and it takes the power of prayer to allow that truth to be realized."
Father Crotty admits that life on the road can get old fast. Flat tires, cold rectories, time zone changes and delayed flights are a constant reminder that he is far from home. But he said it is the grace of the Holy Spirit that keeps him going and doesn't allow him to be discouraged.
The 41-year-old priest noted that he has preached in all of the states, except for five, as well as in numerous countries around the world. In traveling back and forth across the country, he has come to appreciate the richness of the various cultures in the United States.
"From the staunch faith of the Russian Germans in the Dakotas to the generosity of the Catholic Pueblo Indians in New Mexico, I have experienced so much goodness from people throughout the nation," he told OSV. "Being a part of the various cultures on the missions and meeting thousands of new people each year are what I always look forward to."
Wherever he is, the message he preaches is that God's love is real and personable. "My basic message is that each soul, despite their condition, is loved by Christ, and he desires union with them," he said. "Once they experience his loving presence and forgiveness on a healing mission, they are given hope to become an instrument for reaching other souls that need the love of Christ."
For that reason, Father Crotty encourages all the faithful to get out and experience a parish mission. It's where lives are changed. "These missions are where peoples faith is revived and people's prayer lives are renewed," he said.
Eddie O'Neill writes from Wisconsin. For more information, visit www.fathersofmercy.com.
Please note: Comments left online may be considered for publication in the Letters to the Editor section of OSV Newsweekly.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Catholic Faith Resources | For Catholic Parishes | Order OSV Products | RSS | Advertise | About Us | Contact Us | Jobs