Second Sunday of Easter – Sunday of Divine Mercy
Divine Mercy Sunday, observed on the octave (the eighth day) of Easter, celebrates the fullness of Christ’s resurrection, (this year April 19th). The solemnity comes to us through St. Sr. Maria Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun who kept a diary in the early 1900s of Christ’s private revelations to her on His message of mercy.
On Feb. 22, 1931, Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska first saw a vision of Jesus with rays of mercy streaming from His Heart. Christ told her to have an image painted to represent the vision, and to write below it, "Jesus, I trust in you!" St. Faustina also wrote in her diary that Christ encourages the faithful to trust in His mercy and turn to Him for that mercy. St. Faustina died of tuberculosis in 1938 at age 33. Pope John Paul II canonized her in 2000. That same year, the pontiff declared Divine Mercy Sunday a worldwide feast day. Two years later, he instituted a plenary indulgence for those who participate in the devotion.
To receive the graces of the plenary indulgence on Divine Mercy Sunday, the message of Christ requests that the faithful prepare in the following ways:
• Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation with true repentance on or before Divine Mercy.
• On Divine Mercy Sunday, receive a worthy Communion and venerate the image of Divine Mercy.
Praying the Chaplet
St. Faustina wrote that Christ revealed to her a special chaplet to be prayed, using a standard Rosary or special Divine Mercy chaplet beads. Through St. Faustina, Christ asked the faithful to pray the chaplet every day at 3:00 p.m., the hour of great mercy and His death.
• Begin with one of each of the following prayers: The Our Father, Hail Mary and Apostles’ Creed.
• On the five large beads before each decade, pray the following: “Eternal Father, I offer you the body and blood, soul and divinity of your dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.”
• On the 10 small beads of each decade, pray the following: “For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”
After praying five decades, conclude with the following three times: “Holy God, holy mighty One, holy immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”
Divine Mercy Indulgence – Special Consideration this Year
In the light of the current pandemic, Archbishop Carlson has decreed that the faithful of the Archdiocese of St. Louis may gain plenary indulgences while public masses are suspended without actual confession and communion, provided that they have inner contrition and the resolution to go to these sacraments as soon as possible (cf. Norms for Indulgences, n. 28) following the lifting of the current suspension of public masses.
This applies to the indulgence attached to the feast of Divine Mercy, and all other plenary indulgences, for as long as public masses are suspended.
The faithful who cannot pray before the Blessed Sacrament on Divine Mercy Sunday can remember that they, like all faithful, can gain a plenary indulgence by praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet to “implore from Almighty God the end of the epidemic, relief for those who are afflicted and the eternal salvation for those whom the Lord as called to Himself” (Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary March 20, 2020).
As a reminder, in order to obtain a plenary indulgence, the faithful must, in addition to being in a state of grace:
• Have the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin, even venial sin;
• Have sacramentally confessed their sins (as soon as possible);
• Receive the Holy Eucharist (as soon as possible);
• Pray for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff (Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be).
Sincerely yours in Jesus,
Fr. John Seper