Today we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. This great day is associated with Sr. Faustina. She was a Catholic nun and mystic from Poland who experienced apparitions of Jesus which inspired the devotion of Divine Mercy and earned her the title of “Apostle of Divine Mercy.”
The Church reminds us that, “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.” Pope John Paul II was very familiar with the life and witness of Sr. Faustina and focused on her for inspiration. He canonized her at a Mass in the year 2000 at which he instituted the observance of Divine Mercy Sunday. Our Church further reminds us that Pope John Paul II “… 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 Sr. 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, nor is it impacted by seasonal limitations. This was his message to Sr. Faustina, and this is his message to us.
Like Pope John Paul II, Pope Francis has also focused on the life and example of Sr. Faustina. He has emphasized the need for mercy. Our Holy Father stated that sin is a closed door that needs to be opened. He reminded us that Jesus “loves to enter precisely ‘through closed doors’ when every entrance seems barred.” We also encounter Him in the sacrament of Reconciliation.
Our Holy Father 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.
We are invited to take to heart the following prayer included in the “Chaplet of Divine Mercy”: Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
This Sunday will have a Holy Hour at the Church at 3:00 pm, the acknowledged hour of Divine Mercy. All are invited to attend as we thank the Lord for showering His mercy on us.