Celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday

In the 1930s, a young woman in Poland claimed to have vivid revelations in which she was personally visited by Jesus. And decades later, we still honor her writings and the image that appeared to her, of the risen Messiah, whose heart revealed rays of red and “pale” light, symbolizing blood and water and whose words resonate with Catholics to this day: “Jesus I trust in you.”

Pope Francis greets the crowd after celebrating Mass marking the feast of Divine Mercy in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican April 8, 2018. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Faustina Kowalska, a sister of the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2000. He also proclaimed the second Sunday of every Easter would be known as Divine Mercy Sunday, which fulfilled Jesus’ revelation to Saint Faustina that as feast day dedicated to Divine Mercy be established, as is written in her diary.

Besides being a day that commemorates St. Faustina’s writings and revelations, it is also a special day that offers a plenary indulgence, which removes the temporal punishment of sins that have already been forgiven. Below are the conditions to obtain this plenary indulgence according to Pope John Paul II decree:

  1. The usual conditions for a plenary indulgence:
  • sacramental confession [according to previously issued norms, within about 20 days before or after]
  • Eucharistic communion [according to previously issued norms, preferably on the day, or the days before or after]
  • prayer for the intentions of Supreme Pontiff [certain prayers are not specified]
  1. The specific conditions for this Indulgence

On 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, 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!)

Another important aspect of the Divine Mercy that came from St. Faustina’s revelations is the Divine Mercy Chaplet, a set of prayers that are prayed using rosary beads, often at 3 p.m., the hour of Jesus’ death. The prayer begins with one Our Father, one Hail Mary and the Apostles Creed. Then on the Our Father beads of the rosary, recite, “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 ten Hail Mary beads, pray, “For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and the whole world.” Repeat this on all five decades, and conclude with “Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and the whole world.”

Parishes in the Diocese of St. Augustine are celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday in various ways. For example, St. Joseph Parish in Mandarin will have Holy Hour in the Main Church at 2:30 p.m. with the veneration of the Divine Mercy image with confession in the Marian Center. St. Madeleine Catholic Church will have an Hour of Great Mercy at 2:30 p.m., during which parishioners will sing the Chaplet of Divine Mercy before the Blessed Sacrament awaiting the 3 p.m. Hour of Mercy.

Contact your parish or visit your parish website to find ways to celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday.