April 28th: Divine Mercy Sunday
by Julia Doolin
The second Sunday of Easter is the Feast of Divine Mercy. This year, the feast falls on April 28. For the last 15 years, the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans and St. Joseph Parish in Shreveport have alternated hosting a Divine Mercy Sunday Holy Hour. Those who are involved with this event have been inspired by the manner in which the devotion has grown in our diocese. This year, the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans will host the holy hour with Very Reverend Peter B. Mangum, Diocesan Administrator, presiding. The holy hour will begin promptly at 2:30 p.m. and will include the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, as well as veneration of the Divine Mercy image. The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be offered immediately following the holy hour.
The Divine Mercy devotion began spreading throughout the world in the 1930’s and is based upon private revelations to a young Polish nun whom we now know as St. Faustina. The message is not a new one, but is instead, a reminder of what the Church has always taught through Scripture and tradition: God is merciful and forgiving and we, too, must show mercy and forgiveness. But the message of the Divine Mercy devotion calls people to a deeper understanding that God’s love is unlimited and available to everyone – especially the greatest sinners.
In a decree dated May 23, 2000, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments stated that “throughout the world the Second Sunday of Easter will receive the name Divine Mercy Sunday, a perennial invitation to the Christian world to face, with confidence in divine benevolence, the difficulties and trials that mankind will experience in the years to come.” Taking the declaration of the feast day a step further, the Apostolic Penitentiary announced on August 3, 2002, that in order “to ensure that the faithful would observe Divine Mercy Sunday with intense devotion, the Supreme Pontiff himself established that this Sunday be enriched by a plenary indulgence…so that the faithful might receive in great abundance the gift of the consolation of the Holy Spirit.”
With regard to the plenary indulgence associated with Divine Mercy Sunday, the usual conditions apply: sacramental confession (typically eight days before or after the indulgenced act), Eucharistic communion, and prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff. The faithful are asked to gather 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 (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!)
We are grateful to have the opportunity to participate in such a wonderful event. Please join us at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans (939 Jordan Street in Shreveport) on Sunday, April 28, at 2:30 p.m. for a wonderful opportunity to experience God’s unfathomable mercy.