Parishes Preparing for Divine Mercy Sunday
"....When they say this Chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying not as the just judge but as the Merciful Savior." This Sunday now has an even greater focus, based on the devotion of St. Faustina Kowalska of Poland to Divine Mercy. With the Second Sunday of Easter now Divine Mercy Sunday, faithful Catholics will be gathering in their parishes to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Services are normally held at the "hour of mercy," 3:00pm in the afternoon, which is the hour that Jesus died.
This Sunday now has an even greater focus, based on the devotion of St. Faustina Kowalska of Poland to Divine Mercy. With the Second Sunday of Easter now Divine Mercy Sunday, faithful Catholics will be gathering in their parishes to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Services are normally held at the "hour of mercy," 3:00pm in the afternoon, which is the hour that Jesus died.
Divine Mercy Sunday really began with a young Polish teenager, Helena Kowalska, who had felt called to religious life and tried to enter a number of convents. Finally, she was accepted by entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy whose members devote themselves to the care and education of troubled young women. Entering the convent when she was almost twenty, Faustina made her profession as a nun at age twenty-one, in 1926.
During the early 1930´s, Sister Faustina received a number of appearances and visions of Our Lord and His Blessed Mother. During her early visitations from Jesus, he revealed to her that her purpose on earth was to bring about a devotion to His Divine Mercy; she was to be an apostle and secretary of God´s mercy. She was to demonstrate mercy and call attention to His purposes of mercy for the world.
Much of what we know about Saint Faustina and Divine Mercy are found in the pages of her diary.
On February 22, 1931, Jesus Christ appeared to her, bringing a message of God´s mercy for the world. She wrote in her diary:
"In the evening, when I was in my cell, I became aware of the Lord Jesus clothed in a white garment. One hand was raised in blessing, the other was touching the garment at the breast. From the opening of the garment at the breast there came forth two large rays, one red and the other pale. In silence I gazed intently at the Lord; my soul was overwhelmed with fear, but also with great joy. After a while Jesus said to me, 'paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the inscription: Jesus, I trust in You.'"
At a later time, the Lord explained some of the meanings involved in his appearance:
"The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous; the red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls. These two rays issued forth from the depths of My most tender Mercy at that time when My agonizing Heart was opened by a lance on the Cross....Fortunate is the one who will dwell in their shelter, for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him."
Four years later, in 1935, he revealed to her the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, a series of prayers prayed using Rosary beads, and said, "....When they say this Chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying not as the just judge but as the Merciful Savior."
Concerning a Sunday for Divine Mercy, she wrote in her diary, "On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity."
In 1936, Faustina became ill with what was probably tuberculosis. Though dealing with disease, she spent as much time as possible praying the Chaplet for Divine Mercy and for the conversion of souls. She also continued to write in her diary.
By June of 1938, she could no longer write and died four months later, on October 5. When Faustina's superior was cleaning out her room she opened the drawer and found the paintings of the Divine Mercy.
At the time of her death, all of her writings were sent to Rome for review, as they contained reports of her visions with Jesus and Mary.
Her writings were the subject of a great deal of controversy at the Vatican and, for twenty years, were included in the list of "Forbidden Books."
When Karol Wojtyła (who became Pope John Paul II) was installed as the Archbishop of Kraków in the 1960´s, he re-opened the investigation of Saint Faustina and her writings, which brought about a different conclusion. This led to a revitalization of devotion to Divine Mercy.
Observation of a Sunday for Divine Mercy was observed sporadically in a number of places over the years that followed.
However, on April 30, 2000 Pope John Paul II canonized St. Maria Faustina of the Blessed Sacrament and designated the Second Sunday of Easter each year as Divine Mercy Sunday. The pope had always had a special devotion to St. Faustina and Divine Mercy.
In his homily for Divine Mercy Sunday, 2005, the Holy Father said, "It is the appropriate and incisive answer that God wanted to offer to the questions and expectations of human beings in our time, marked by terrible tragedies. Divine Mercy! This is the Easter gift that the Church receives from the risen Christ and offers to humanity."
He died on the Vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday in 2005.
Randy Sly left ministry as an Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church years ago to come into the full communion of the Catholic Church. He is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online.
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lord’s invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Lent / Easter News
- When Did We See You Hungry? Lent and the Love of Preference for the Poor
- Courageous Cardinal George Challenges Us to Use Lent as a Time to Take Stock of Our Lives
- Led by the Spirit into the Desert: God Does Not Need Lent, We Do
- Almsgiving, Prayer, and Fasting: The Three Pillars of Lent
- Contemplatives in the World: Learning to Pray During the Forty Days of Lent
- Ash Wednesday: Turn Away From Sin and Turn Toward the Lord
- Deacon Fred Bartels: Ash Wednesday As a Moment of Decision
- Fr Dwight Longenecker on the Practical Practice of Fasting
- Fr Randy Sly: 'Fat Tuesday' - Mardi Gras Meant to Be More than a Party
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?
More Easter / Lent
'So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead' - Luke 24:46
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption. continue reading
Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in all four canonical Gospels. (Mark 11:1.11, Matthew 21:1.11, Luke 19:28.44, and John 12:12.19) ... continue reading
On Palm Sunday, we celebrate the first joy of the season, as we celebrate Our Lord's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem where he was welcomed by crowds worshiping him and laying down palm leaves before him. It also marks the beginning of Holy Week... continue reading
HOLY THURSDAY is the most complex and profound of all religious observances. It celebrates his last supper with the disciples, a celebration of Passover ... continue reading
On Good Friday, each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption. In the solemn ceremonies of Holy Week we unite ourselves to our Savior, and we contemplate our own death to sin in the Death of our Lord ... continue reading
Easter is the principal feast of the ecclesiastical year. Leo I (Sermo xlvii in Exodum) calls it the greatest feast (festum festorum), and says that Christmas is celebrated only in preparation for Easter. It is the centre of the greater part of the ecclesiastical year ... continue reading
For most people the easiest practice to consistently fulfill will be the traditional one, to abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year. During Lent abstinence from meat on Fridays is obligatory in the United States as elsewhere. Christ Himself said that His disciples would fast once He had departed (Lk. 5:35). continue reading
Everything answered from when does lent end, ashes, giving something up, stations of the cross and blessed palms. The key to understanding the meaning of Lent is simple: Baptism... continue reading
Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion. First Station: Jesus is condemned to death... pray the stations now
What did you give up for Lent?
From the humorous to the bizarre, people have had interesting Lenten experiences. Tell us about what you are going to give up for this Lenten Year.
What others gave up »
Deacon Keith Fournier - Catholic Online, 3/11/2014
Lent 2014 brings the death and resurrection of the Lord more insistently into the horizon of our lives. Before the Lord, we are all weak and needy, poor in who we are, rich in him. Grateful for ...Continue Reading
Deacon Keith Fournier - Catholic Online, 3/11/2014
The option or love of preference for the poor. This is an option or a special form of primacy in the exercise of Christian charity to which the whole tradition of the church bears witness. It ...Continue Reading
Deacon Keith Fournier - Catholic Online, 3/10/2014
This ancient practice of setting aside 40 days in order to enter - in Jesus - into the desert places in our own daily lives and confront the temptations and struggles we face - is a gift. It ...Continue Reading
Wendy C. RN., BA. - Catholic Online, 3/8/2014
'Give alms...Pray to your Father...Fast without a gloomy face...' (Matthew 6:1-18) LOS ANGELES, CA - Giving alms, Jesus teaches, means making the needs of others our own, especially the needy of our ...Continue Reading
On Good Friday, the entire Church fixes her gaze on the Cross at Calvary. Each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption.
In the symbol of the Cross we can see the magnitude of the human tragedy, the ravages of original sin, and the infinite love of God. Learn More
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption.
The ashes are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year. The ashes are christened with Holy Water and are scented by exposure to incense. Learn More
Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion.
ACT OF CONTRITION. O my God, my Redeemer, behold me here at Thy feet. From the bottom of my heart... Pray the Stations
'Christ Himself said that His disciples would fast once He had departed' Lk. 5:35
Abstinence. The law of abstinence requires a Catholic 14 years of age until death to abstain from eating meat on Fridays in honor of the Passion of Jesus on Good Friday. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles and shellfish are permitted.
Fasting. The law of fasting requires a Catholic from the 18th Birthday (Canon 97) to the 59th Birthday (i.e. the beginning of the 60th year, a year which will be completed on the 60th birthday) to reduce the amount of food eaten from normal. The Church defines this as one meal a day, and two smaller meals which if added together would not exceed the main meal.
Learn More »