"On that day, the very depths of My tender mercy are open." (Diary Entry 699)
Click here for celebrations in the Diocese of Portland.
On May 5, 2000, Blessed John Paul II decreed that the Second Sunday of Easter, the Octave of Easter, would be known as Divine Mercy Sunday. The Feast was established by the pope after he canonized Saint Faustina, a humble Polish nun to whom Jesus revealed his message of divine mercy.
Born in 1905 in a small Polish village, Saint Faustina became a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy at age 20. While at the convent, she received several revelations from Jesus, who communicated to her the depth of his mercy and his desire that all be merciful to one another.
In her diary, Saint Faustina shares the message she says the Lord gave her during several visions beginning in February 1931. She wrote that the Lord told her, ‘I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in my mercy' (Diary of St. Faustina 687).
The diary includes 14 occasions on which Jesus asks that a Feast of Divine Mercy be established. One of those can be found in diary entry 699:
‘I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day, the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the Fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day, all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened…It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy.'
In Saint Faustina’s visions, Jesus appears with his right hand raised in a blessing and his left touching his garment above his heart. Red and blue/white rays emanate from his heart, symbolizing the blood and water that was poured out for our salvation and our sanctification. Jesus asked that the image be painted with the words “Jesus, I trust in You” inscribed beneath it.
In recent years, more and more parishes are marking Divine Mercy Sunday with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, veneration of the Divine Mercy image, the sacrament of reconciliation, and the praying of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Click here for a list of some of the celebrations in the Diocese of Portland.
The Chaplet of Divine Mercy was given to Saint Faustina by Jesus with this promise: “Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death ... Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to recite this chaplet only once, he would receive grace from my infinite mercy. I desire that the whole world know my infinite mercy” (Diary, no. 687).
Jesus also gave St. Faustina the Divine Mercy Novena, nine intentions for which to pray the Chaplet.
In 2002, Pope Saint John Paul II decreed a plenary indulgence* associated with the devotion of Divine Mercy Sunday, “to ensure that the faithful would observe this day with intense devotion.”
To receive a plenary indulgence, you must go to confession, receive holy Communion and pray for the intentions of the pope. That should be done in the days leading up to the feast. Then, on Divine Mercy Sunday, you must “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” (Apostolic Penitentiary Decree).
*A plenary indulgence is the "full remission of the temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven." Through the sacrament of confession, our sins are forgiven, but some of the worldly effects of those sins may remain. A plenary (full) indulgence completes the healing process.