Ed Cycenas’ dream facility rooted in divine mercy

| April 21, 2015 | 1 Comment
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Ed Cycenas stands in the consecrated chapel at Monte Christo in Siren. Cycenas built the altar, chair and other log pieces and installed wood paneling throughout the lodge. He made the stained glass Sacred Heart in the altar from a broken windshield. (Catholic Herald photo by Anita Draper)

Ed Cycenas stands in the consecrated chapel at Monte Christo in Siren. Cycenas built the altar, chair and other log pieces and installed wood paneling throughout the lodge. He made the stained glass Sacred Heart in the altar from a broken windshield. (Catholic Herald photo by Anita Draper)

Editor’s note: As of late 2016, this center is closed.

Anita Draper
Catholic Herald staff

On Divine Mercy Sunday, the faithful are promised “complete forgiveness of sins and punishment,” according to God’s words to St. Faustina, a nun who lived in Poland in the 1930s.

To partake of this heavenly reward, Catholics must pray a nine-day novena, receive the Eucharist and go to confession within seven days of Divine Mercy Sunday, the second Sunday of Easter.

For Ed Cycenas, divine mercy is the key to the gates of paradise. It’s also an opportunity for him to give back to the church and to the Diocese of Superior.

Each year, the Siren resident hosts a Divine Mercy Sunday event, opening his doors to all who seek God’s mercy. Accompanied by local priests – this year, Fr. Mike Tupa and Fr. Tom Thakadipuram are celebrating the Mass and hearing confessions – Cycenas invites visitors to join them for adoration, Mass and a luncheon.

“It’s really unknown,” he said of Divine Mercy Sunday. “We’re trying to promote an official day of the church.”

Instituted by St. John Paul II as a feast day in 2000, Divine Mercy Sunday can be traced to God’s revelations to St. Faustina. He spoke of his mercy and asked for the designation of a feast day on the second Sunday of Easter; when those messages were publicized, it sparked an international movement.

“My dad and ma were big devotees of the rosary and also of the divine mercy. They taught myself and my brothers about divine mercy,” he explained. “My brother (Joel Cycenas) went into the priesthood, and he was there for about six or eight years, and then he resigned, unfortunately.”

Cycenas isn’t sure where his parents first encountered God’s revelations to St. Faustina, but he thinks it might have been from Fr. Alfred Kunz, a priest from the Diocese of Madison who was murdered in his church in 1998. Fr. Kunz was a friend of the family and used to go hunting with them, Cycenas said. His murder remains unsolved.

Monte Christo – the Mountain of Christ – is the site of the April 12 event and a tribute to a merciful God. Located a couple miles out of Siren, the future retreat center currently consists of a main lodge, but Cycenas has a far more elaborate project in mind.

He wants to build 12 or 13 cabin-style hermitages for silent retreats, but he also hopes to construct a shrine, Fatima center and a trail with the Stations of the Cross or a statue walk.

Built in 2002, the main lodge is the first phase of the project to be completed. It features guest rooms, gathering space and a consecrated chapel.

The site of Monte Christo has been in Cycenas’ family since 1946. He and his wife, Robin, own the property.

“We had about 100 acres of land, which was just hunting land,” he said. “Our plan was to build a retirement home for our mom and dad.”

Instead, they built Monte Christo, which he describes as “a learning place for the divine mercy.” He and Robin moved into the lodge last fall.
“We basically are the caretakers of it,” he added.

Cycenas has another dream: to host a small retirement community, where four or five priests can live, help guide retreatants and say Masses in neighboring parishes when the need arises.

“We’re trying to help out the priests,” he said. “We’re trying to help out our diocese.”

But, before that happens, Cycenas needs money to buy materials for the hermitages. If the scale of his project sounds overwhelming, Cycenas said he isn’t worried about whether his plans come to fruition. It’s in God’s hands, he added. If he wants Cycenas’ dreams to become a reality, “He’d better send some money.”

The Divine Mercy Sunday celebration begins at 2:30 p.m. April 12 at Monte Christo, 23871 Tollander Road, Siren. Mass is at 3:30 p.m., followed by a luncheon.

“I’d rather have God’s mercy than God’s justice,” he added.

Editor’s note: As of late 2016, this center is closed.

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  1. Ed Cycenas says:

    Sorry we have closed down

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