BRO. DON DE CASTRO
Founder & Servant Leader of the Divine Mercy - 3 O'Clock Habit
Bro. Don de Castro, a radio announcer and newscaster by profession, was introduced to the Divine Mercy on the Easter of 1985 after the Easter mass at the Immaculate Conception Parish [now the Immaculate Conception Cathedral] in the Diocese of Cubao, Quezon City. This came to be when he was approached by Bro. Renato "Boy" Fider, head of the Divine Mercy group in the Parish, and was given a copy of the booklet on the Devotion to the Divine Mercy.
Being immediately touched by the message and devotion to the Divine Mercy and at the height of the political turmoil in the Philippines, Bro. Don then invited Bro. Boy and fellow devotees of the Divine Mercy in Cubao and other parishes within the Archdiocese of Manila for a meeting to discuss as to how they could launch a nationwide prayer for peace. In the said gathering, the group agreed to propagate a daily prayer at 3 o’clock in the afternoon that was composed by St. Faustina as written in her diary, entailing Bro. Don to travel across the Philippines. On May 2, 1985, Msgr. Ramirez presided a “send-off” mass for Bro. Don at the San Miguel Pro Cathedral in Manila.
Soon after, Bro. Don found himself travelling all over the Philippines to coordinate with local bishops, dioceses, lay communities as well as with radio and television stations. Bro. Don was then able to secure endorsements from bishops in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, institutionalizing a nationwide prayer for peace. Then on June 16, 1985, the 1st ever nationwide airing of the now widely known 3 O’Clock Habit was made and the Divine Mercy “Say A Little Prayer” Movement [DM-SLPM] / 3 O’Clock Habit was born. This momentous and historic event, eventually became a daily habit of all Filipinos and is continually being aired by radio and television stations nationwide to this day. As a follow-up to the surge of the 3 O’Clock Habit, on Aug. 3 & 4, 1985, the 1st Divine Mercy Convention was held at the College of the Holy Spirit in Mendiola, which furthered the establishment of Divine Mercy communities nationwide.
In 1986, Bro. Don then also established the 1st ever Divine Mercy Chapel in the Philippines at #19 Spencer St., Cubao, Quezon City, Metro Manila. To further the propagation of the Divine Mercy, in 1987, Bro. Don, was able to request for airtime on Channel 4, a government-owned television station, where he was also a television newscaster then, to air the 1st ever TV Mass in honor of the Divine Mercy as well as “The Hour of Great Mercy©,” an exclusive program on the Divine Mercy. On the same year, Bro. Don organized as well the 1st ever media convention on the Divine Mercy in order to further orient media practitioners on the message and devotion to the Divine Mercy, which because of the 3 O’Clock Habit, was phenomenally spreading like wild fire across the nation. The convention was graced by the presence of the late +Jaime Cardinal Sin, then Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Manila, who addressed the delegates and concelebrated the Holy Mass together with Bishop Teodoro Bacani, D.D. and Fr. James Reuter, S.J., among other priests, which was aired live on Channel 4.
At the onset of 1988, with the growing support and enthusiasm of the devotees and supporters of the Divine Mercy, Bro. Don then decided to put the message and devotion into practice by establishing a Divine Mercy Charity Lying-In Clinic, Divine Mercy Dental Clinic & Divine Mercy Home For Unwed Mothers at Aurora Blvd., Cubao, Quezon City, Metro Manila, which was blessed & consecrated by the late +Jaime Cardinal Sin.
Sometime in 1991, the Oasis of Love Community, represented by film director, Mr. Ben “M7” Yalung, approached Bro. Don to co-produce a tagalog movie on the life of St. Faustina. A year after, the movie “Divine Mercy Sa Buhay Ni Sister Faustina©” was premiered nationwide with actress, Donita Rose, portraying St. Faustina and featuring renowned actor, Christopher de Leon, in a lead role.
Then after, in 1992, the late +Jaime Cardinal Sin, called upon Msgr. Salvador R. Jose and Bro. Don de Castro to help establish an Archdiocesan Shrine in honor of the Divine Mercy on a 1,500 sqm. property in Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila that was previously donated by Don Paco Ortigas. Through the generosity of donors, benefactors, supporters and propagators of the Divine Mercy, Bro. Don was able to help raise 83% of the total amount needed to construct the Shrine. On June 12, 1996, the 1st ever Archdiocesan Shrine in honor of the Divine Mercy was completed with Rev. Fr. Jose Maximiano assigned as its 1st rector.
To further strengthen the fundamentals in propagating the message and devotion to the Divine Mercy, the Marian Fathers in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A. the primary propagators of the Divine Mercy in the world were commissioned by the Holy See to establish the John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy headed by Fr. Serafim Michalenko, MIC, Rector of the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy, U.S.A., & Fr. George Cosicki, CSB, a biochemist and known author on books & teachings on Divine Mercy. Recognizing the crucial role played by Bro Don in helping spread the Divine Mercy not only in the Philippines but also around the world, Bro. Don was invited to be the Philippine delegate and one of the first graduates of the institute in 1996.
Charged to advance and propagate the Divine Mercy even more, Bro. Don then established the first and only television channel in the world spreading the message and devotion to the Divine Mercy 24hrs. a day, 7 days a week, which is dubbed as the Divine Mercy TV Channel [DMC] ©. DMC initially aired across the Philippines and around Asia in the year 2000 via Dream Satellite TV then on local cable television via Destiny Cable. DMC now airs worldwide via video streaming over the internet thru www.divinemercyph.com.