From our pastor, Father Neil Herlihy
Today we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. Pope Francis has urged us to embrace this day and truly reflect a spirit of mercy, repentance and reconciliation in our lives. On this day, one week after Easter, we are reminded why Jesus rose from the dead: and one of the reasons was to shower the world with divine mercy.
This is what the Church has to say in part about this great feast:
“During the Church’s millennium celebration in 2000, Pope John Paul II declared that the Second Sunday of Easter be known as “Divine Mercy Sunday”. Prior to this celebration, the Pope also wrote a profound encyclical called “Rich in Mercy”. This encyclical explained the doctrinal and scriptural foundations for our understanding of mercy. Our Holy Father looked to a holy woman of Poland, Sr. Faustina, for inspiration. He canonized St. Faustina at that same Mass in 2000 at which he instituted the observance of Divine Mercy Sunday. He also clearly articulated the essential message that Jesus gave to Sr. Faustina and the message is that the graces of His mercy are greater than the stains of our sins.”
It may seem unusual that Divine Mercy Sunday comes so soon after the season of Lent. After all, is not Lent the season to focus on repentance and mercy? Well our Church believes that the timing is most appropriate because Jesus’ message to Faustina reminds us that there is no limit to his mercy for those who truly believe, for those who humbly ask for forgiveness. His mercy is not limited by boundaries. It is not impacted by seasonal limitations. This was his message to Faustina, and this is his message to us.
As you may know, we have an image of Divine Mercy hanging in our Day Chapel. We also have booklets on the Divine Mercy in our pamphlet racks. This image and these booklets remind us of the message of the Lord to Sr. Faustina.
As we recall the great feast of Divine Mercy Sunday, on this day we also celebrate the canonization of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II as saints of our Church. Pope John XXIII was instrumental in bringing about the Second Vatican Council which resulted in many reforms in our Church. Pope John Paul II was instrumental in bringing about the fall of Communism in Europe and in successfully engaging the secular world in the arena of ideas.
Today, as we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday and as we celebrate the canonizations of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II, we can thank the Lord for the gift of our precious faith which we should humbly embrace and cherish.