Divine Mercy Sunday
Catholics all over the world today celebrate the feast of the Divine Mercy.
Established in 2000 by then Pope John Paul II, now a saint, the Feast of Mercy is celebrated on the second Sunday of Easter.
As part of the celebration, the Catholic Church today grants a plenary indulgence or complete remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins to those who recently went to confession, receives Holy Communion today, and prays for the intercession of the Holy Father and the Church.
Maria Faustina Kowalska, a young uneducated nun in a convent in Cracow, Poland during the 1930s, experienced visions and received extraordinary revelations from Jesus, encounters which she wrote about in several notebooks.
She wrote of her private conversations with Jesus who asked her to proclaim God’s infinite mercy to the world.
The journals were later published as “The Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul.”
While the message of mercy is not new to the teachings of the Church, the Diary sparked a great movement and a strong focus on the mercy of Christ.
Pope John Paul II canonized Sr. Faustina in 2000 making her the “first saint of the new millennium.”
That same year, he declared that the Feast of Mercy shall be observed every first Sunday after Easter.
The image of Jesus which Faustina said was shown to her represents the Risen Christ bringing mercy to the world
Two rays of light shine from the heart to illuminate the world. They represent “blood and water”, which flowed by Christ’s side when a soldier pierced his crucified body.
Blood symbolizes the sacrifice of the cross and the Eucharist, while water represents baptism.
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