National Catholic Register

Culture of Life

Dawn of Divine Mercy Sunday

User’s Guide to Sunday

BY Tom & April Hoopes

March 23-29, 2008 Issue | Posted 3/18/08 at 2:45 PM

 

Sunday, March 30, is the Second Sunday of Easter (Year A, Cycle II), Divine Mercy Sunday.

In Rome, the first Apostolic Congress on Mercy will take place April 2-6, under the direction of Pope Benedict XVI.


Parish

This Sunday is the Second Sunday of Easter. Every day starting Easter Sunday, for eight days, is considered an Easter day (Easter Monday, Easter Wednesday, etc.). The (octave) Easter Sunday is no less an Easter Sunday than the first.

Nonetheless, in the year 2000, Pope John Paul II gave this Sunday the alternate designation of Divine Mercy Sunday. It is further recognition of the devotion given to St. Faustina Kowalska who, like the Sacred Heart apostle St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, experienced apparitions of Jesus and was entrusted with a new devotion.

Parishes that promote Divine Mercy Sunday have found that they get more parishioners participating in confession, and these parishioners become more active in the parish.

TheDivineMercy.com

Pastors interested in making use of the opportunities Divine Mercy Sunday provides can find suggestions at the above website of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, who have the care of the National Shrine of Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass.


Family

Don’t miss the chance to get the Divine Mercy indulgence, instituted in 2002. The conditions include the usual ones, which are: sacramental confession (within about 20 days before or after), Eucharistic Communion (preferably on the day, or the days before or after), prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father (certain prayers are not specified).

The Divine Mercy indulgence requires additional special conditions: 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 (for example “Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!”)

FamiliaUSA.net provides additional “Next Sunday Ideas.”


Media

Joseph: King of Dreams is a direct-to-video movie, a kind of prequel by the makers of the Moses movie The Prince of Egypt.

It shares the other movie’s tendency to bend the story a little, but not its artistic acclaim. But the story of Joseph and his brothers is hard to spoil (as Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical proved) and this movie provides a nice lesson about mercy when the story’s Joseph has a hard time forgiving his brothers in the end. The Register’s reviewer, Stephen Greydanus, gives it a B on his site, and that’s about right.


Readings

Acts 2:42-47; Psalms 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24; 1 Peter 1:3-9; John 20:19-31

Epriest.com offers free homily packs for priests.


Our Take

The day’s readings are tailor-made for the feast of Divine Mercy.

We hear about mercy in the Old Testament. “Let the house of Israel say, ‘His mercy endures forever.’ Let the house of Aaron say, ‘His mercy endures forever.’”

Let those who fear the Lord say, ‘His mercy endures forever.’”

Yes, let them!

The second reading, from St. Peter, explains why the Second Sunday of Easter can also be considered Divine Mercy Sunday: “Blessed be the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

And John’s Gospel gives us the most important expression of Divine Mercy: It describes the institution of the sacrament of mercy, confession, the only sacrament that was instituted after the Resurrection.

If nothing else, let this Divine Mercy Sunday remind us that confession is one of the greatest gifts of our Catholic faith. In the confessional, we shed our sins and emerge in a kind of resurrection.


Divine Mercy Apostle. Polish St. Faustina Kowaska first saw the familiar image of Christ in an apparition. The rays represent the blood and water that flowed from Christ’s side and the sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist. Promote the ABCs of Mercy:

A — Ask for mercy (especially in confession)

B — Be merciful.

C — Confidence! Trust God completely.


The Hoopeses are co-editors

of Faith & Family magazine.