Hope is real.
      Peace is possible.
             Life is worthy.
                     Prayer is powerful.
~ by Mattie J.T. Stepanek

Mattie J.T. Stepanek

July 17, 1990 – June 22, 2004

Message from Mattie:

“One day, for all to know, our legacy will simply be the shape of the life we leave behind, for eternity…

We are created by God – with purpose – in God’s image. God is all-goodness. God is great. God is love.

We, then, are created with purpose – to be good and great and love.

Let us remember this, and move forthward knowing and believing and living this truth, as we shape our lives and our legacies, and our eternity with God.”

– Mattie J.T. Stepanek

Msgr. John J. Enzler Celebrated Mattie’s 2023 Memorial Mass

“We celebrate tonight the gift of a young man who was truly holy,” said Msgr. John J. Enzler at the 2023 Memorial Mass for 19th anniversary of Mattie’s death held at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Kensington Maryland.

“Mattie’s ‘yes’ is what made him such a special young man – to be able to give that gift of his faith to so many others,” said Monsignor.

Read more of Msgr. Enzler’s homily, watch the Mass in full, see photos on our Events Page.

Two women with photo of Mattie at the mass

Guild Director Cheryl Kerwin delivered a powerful talk at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Derwood Maryland this spring noting that “Christ goes to His cross and He offers his very life up for our sins; the expiation of our sins.”

Cheryl said, “Jesus never forgot why He was born and the heavy burden of the cross. If we are true servants of the Lord, we must expect to experience suffering and struggle, just as Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane, and then when He accepted the cross on the way to Calvary. Mattie was such a person too. He was wise beyond his years and understood what it meant to follow the Lord. He chose not to be defeated by his challenges and instead, turned his face to God, responding to the purpose God gave him. His Heartsong / his purpose, included dealing with his infirmities in a joyful, non-judgmental way (that is, not blaming God) and he conveyed that every day through his talk, his poetry, and simply his actions.”

Cheryl talked about how Mattie lifted people’s spirits and “offered to carry their crosses, through his talks, his reflections, and his poetry. He shared his conversations with God and is still influencing people to think about faith, hope, love, peace, kindness, and purpose.

Click to Watch full video
Watch full video

“Crosses come in many forms. Just as in Jesus’ time, He and we are threatened with financial burdens, illness – both mental and physical, food insecurity, job insecurity, the loss of a loved one. Crosses are a part of our human experiences. Jesus didn’t give up on the Good Thief (Dismas) who was nailed to the cross beside him, and he doesn’t give up on us either. Can we take someone down from their cross today? Can we show them love instead of hate? Mattie knew very well that God never gives up on us. His poems speak of hope repeatedly. He most certainly wanted very much to live but he wasn’t afraid of dying. Mattie knew what it meant to be a suffering servant – to experience near-death, struggles, grief, and anguish, but to let God direct his desires and actions, and share in the divine blessings received by accepting God’s guidance in seeking justice. (taken from Isaiah 53: 10-11)

To watch Cheryl’s entire presentation, please visit St. Francis of Assisi’s YouTube channel.

Resolution Blessing

Sit and Pray with Resolution Blessing

Composer Joseph Martin set Mattie’s prayer Resolution Blessing to music in 2016. Here it is beautifully performed by the Hal Leonard and Shawnee Press Church Choral.

Mr. Martin, whose music has been performed at the Vatican, wrote, “From the inspired words of young poet and peacemaker Mattie J.T. Stepanek comes this benediction for peace.”

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