How to Celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday
the Mass of canonization of St. Faustina on April 30, 2000, the year of
the Great Jubilee, Pope John Paul II proclaimed:
"It is important then that we accept the
whole message that comes to us from the word of God on this Second
Sunday of Easter, which from now on throughout the Church, will be
called Divine Mercy Sunday." The readings on that Sunday are always about mercy, trust and
the forgiveness of sins.
By the words
"the whole message," the Holy Father was referring to the
strict connection between the "Easter Mystery of the Redemption" -- the
suffering, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Christ,
followed by the sending of the Holy Spirit -- and this Feast of Divine
Mercy, on the Octave Day of Easter. This feast adds so much more meaning to
the Easter celebrations. It was Jesus, Himself who asked for it to be
celebrated on this particular Sunday following Easter.
There has been much confusion as to how this feast is to be celebrated.
To know how to celebrate the Feast, one must only look at the two
decrees that were issued by the Holy See and the words of Our Lord in
the diary of St. Faustina, which the Church has accepted, as reliable
and worthy of belief. The first decree which established the Feast
states that the normal readings for that Sunday are always to be used.
They are already perfect as they are and reflect what the Image of
Divine Mercy portrays.
second decree is for the plenary indulgence for Divine Mercy Sunday that
was issued on June 29, 2002. This decree also states what the specific duties of
Priests are to be, which can be found in the last paragraphs: inform the parishioners, hear confessions, and lead
the prayers. The indulgence decree also asks Priests to gently encourage the Faithful to
practice works of charity or mercy as often as they can, following the
example of Christ.
The words of Our Lord in the diary are very clear, Jesus said,
the image to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter, and I
want it to be venerated publicly so that every soul may know about it.
By means of the Image I shall be granting many graces to souls; so let
every soul have access to it." (Diary 341, 570) The Image should be placed in the church so
that everyone can see it, perhaps in the sanctuary area and at all the
masses on that day so that everyone may venerate and know about it and
come to trust in the Lord.
Our Lord also said,
"I desire that priests proclaim this great mercy of Mine
towards souls of sinners. Tell My priests that hardened sinners will
repent on hearing their words when they speak about My unfathomable
mercy, about the compassion I have for them in My Heart. To priests who
proclaim and extol My mercy, I will give wondrous power; I will anoint
their words and touch the hearts of those to whom they will speak." (Diary, 50, 1521) Easter Sunday is
the best time to proclaim God’s mercy.
Many dioceses have special organized diocesan wide celebrations and have
advertised in diocesan publications and the mass media. Because Our Lord
said that the feast is to be a "refuge for sinners" it is most important
to use the mass media to encourage fallen away Catholics to return to
the practice of their faith and seek repentance. The promise of the total forgiveness of sins and punishment
is the best motivational tool that we could ever find to get souls to
come back to the practice of their faith.
Our Lord Jesus said,
"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 graces flow are opened. Let no
soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet....
Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy."
(699) The plenary indulgence that was issued for Divine Mercy Sunday
does not change the promises of Our Lord. Rather it provides the
Church's highest mark of approval and endorsement and gives souls more
time to go to Confession.
Priests have remarked
have the highest regard for it. A gift and a great privilege for all. An
extra gift that Our Lord chose St. Faustina to bring to the world for
and, "We will have the Image at all masses and we
will have a solemn mass at noon. It is appropriate to celebrate it on
this day where the readings already speak of the forgiveness of sins and
Many parishes have optional devotions at 3pm (the hour of mercy, as
Jesus referred to it) with Confessions available for
those that need to go.
Our Lord also said,
"The first Sunday after Easter is the Feast of Mercy, but there
must also be acts of mercy....I demand from you deeds of mercy, which
are to arise out of love for Me."
is clear that Our Lord wants mercy to be shown to others and this can be
done by telling everyone about the special promise of the total
forgiveness of sins and punishment that He has graciously given to us.
the Holy Father's homilies, he often refers to the words of Our Lord
that are found in the diary. In his homily on Divine Mercy Sunday in
2001 in Rome he 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.''
quotes Our Lord by starting with "Jesus said to St. Faustina."
of the Image of The Divine Mercy saying "The two rays, according to what Jesus
Himself told her, denote blood and water. The blood recalls the
sacrifice of Golgotha and the mystery of the Eucharist: the water makes
us think of Baptism and the Gift of the Holy Spirit."
we can see, the celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday is quite simple, in
fact, outside of having an image of The Divine Mercy in the church to
venerate, preaching about Trust and Mercy, and leading the prayers after
the Masses for the plenary indulgence, there really isn’t anything else to do on that day itself. It is Jesus Himself that
does all the work on that day. Most of the energy should be
focused on getting people to come back Church on Divine Mercy Sunday.
Jesus will do the rest. All that we need to do is to tell
everyone about the plenary indulgence and urge them to go to
Confession. We can not forget that Easter Sunday is the best time for us to talk
about mercy, because the churches are so full
of people in so great a need. Don't forget to reach out to all of
the other Catholics in your area with newspaper articles.
image is needed for your parish, you can find them at
in many different sizes and types, ready to be framed, and
also as a beautiful tapestry or call Robert Allard, the Director of the Apostles
of Divine Mercy, at 1-888-732-0722.
Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, Divine Mercy in My Soul (c) 1987
Congregation of Marians of the Immaculate Conception, Stockbridge, MA
01263. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.
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