Dear Friends in Christ, March 29, 2015
Today on this Passion / Palm Sunday we begin the holiest week of the entire church year. In last week’s bulletin I shared some thoughts about this week, especially regarding the Sacred Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday Easter Vigil. I hope you found that information helpful.
I would now like to draw your attention to the great feast that occurs the Sunday after Easter – namely Divine Mercy Sunday. This Sunday, the Second Sunday of Easter, is the conclusion of the great Octave – or Eight Days – of Easter. Easter Sunday as it were extends throughout the entire week and culminates in the celebration of the Mercy of God in Christ. Of course, even after the Great Eight Days the Easter Season continues for another six weeks, leading up to the great Feast of Fifty Days, otherwise known as Pentecost. The whole Easter Season is really about Jesus’ infinite mercy, but Divine Mercy Sunday is a special day set aside to highlight this gift. I recognize that heretofore you at St. Mary have not celebrated this Feast. Having witnessed your devotion over the past nine months, dedicated a beautiful donated image of the Divine Mercy in November on All Souls Day, initiated the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy on Friday mornings, and most importantly listened to your pleas for more spiritual nourishment at your own parish, I have decided to institute the Feast of Divine Mercy at St. Mary this year.
Now, you may have seen the fliers inviting you all to a Divine Mercy celebration at St. Patrick Parish in McHenry that same day. As much as you all realize that I am trying very hard to be a team player and join forces with the McHenry parishes and my fellow McHenry pastors, I also recognize that there are some things that must be maintained at our own parish. This is not a competition to “steal” anyone from St. Patrick or anywhere else, but rather an opportunity to affirm and strengthen our own devotion here at St. Mary. So, that said, here it the pertinent information regarding Divine Mercy.
DIVINE MERCY CELEBRATION
1. Divine Mercy Novena (April 3 – April 11) – Beginning Good Friday and continuing 9 days through the Saturday after Easter, there is a powerful Novena to the Divine Mercy that was revealed to St. Faustina and given to the Church for our devotion. Regarding the Novena:
a. Please note the pamphlets in the bulletin this weekend. They have the 9-day Novena prayers, as well as the basic instructions for praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
b. The Novena can be prayed anywhere and with anyone. Some parishes will have opportunities for praying in church with a group. We are not having any group prayer with the Novena this year. Perhaps in the future we will. What I am encouraging you all to do is pray the Chaplet and Novena prayers either on your own or with your families.
c. The Chaplet is always included with the special Novena prayers. Any standard Rosary works for praying the Chaplet. You can always use your fingers as well!
2. Divine Mercy Sunday (2nd Sunday of Easter – April 12) – St. John Paul II instituted a special Feast in honor of Jesus’ Mercy and, following Christ’s own revelation to St. Faustina, called the entire Church to gather in celebration of Christ’s Mercy on this day. Here’s what we will have:
a. Confessions – From 2:00pm to 2:45pm I will be offering the great Sacrament of Mercy in honor of this day.
b. Eucharistic Holy Hour – From 3:00pm to 4:00pm we will have Adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. In this hour will be included a few hymns, a short reflection, recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and ample time for quiet prayer with Jesus.
I hope that you will be able to take the time to enter more deeply into the awesome gift of Jesus’
Mercy! Pray the Novena with your families, and bring your families to the Eucharistic Holy Hour that Sunday. You will be glad you did!!!
Blessed Holy Week and Easter!