Where did the feast of Divine Mercy come from?
If you were born well before the year 2000, you know the feast of Divine Mercy has not always been celebrated in the Church. In the early 1900s, a young Polish nun began receiving private revelations. Jesus appeared to her during her times of prayer, speaking a message of mercy and love for the world. She received a set of prayers — the Divine Mercy Chaplet — and the request to have a feast day established to remind the Church of the mercy of God. St. Faustina died in 1938, on the cusp of war and in the midst of one of the most violent centuries in the history of the world.
Her story and her diaries began circulating in Poland and beyond. It quickly became apparent that this was a holy young women, and the cause for her canonization opened. In the year 2000, she was canonized by the first-ever Polish pope, St. John Paul II. On her canonization day, he established the second Sunday of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday, “a perennial invitation to the Christian world to face, with confidence in divine benevolence, the difficulties and trials that mankind with experience in the years to come.”
There is a plenary indulgence available on Divine Mercy Sunday when the faithful fulfill these conditions:
- Go to confession within 10 days before or after Divine Mercy Sunday,
- Receive communion (within the 10 days before or after Divine Mercy Sunday),
- Pray for the intentions of Pope, and
- On the Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday, in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honor of Divine Mercy, or who, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus, e.g. ‘Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!’ (www.vatican.va)
From the Desk of Fr. Casey