St. Andrew Church in Eagle River has announced plans to hold a special holy hour prayer service to celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday on April 27 at 3 p.m.
Devotion to the Divine Mercy originated in the early 1900s, when Jesus Christ appeared to Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, a nun and former peasant girl in Poland. He presented himself as the Divine Mercy and asked Sister Kowalska to have the image drawn and then promulgate devotion to him under that title. He told her that “humanity will not find peace until it turns trustfully to divine mercy.”
In the apparition, Jesus Christ stood with two large rays, one red and the other white, coming from his heart. Respectively, they signified Christ’s blood “which is the life of souls,” and the water “which makes souls righteous” that poured out when his heart was opened by a lance during his crucifixion.
In 2000, Blessed Pope John Paul II established “Divine Mercy Sunday” – the Sunday after Easter – as the church-wide feast honoring the Divine Mercy.
Starting on Good Friday, many faithful pray a novena – a series of prayers said across nine days – focusing on the mercy that comes from Christ’s death and resurrection.
Those who observe Divine Mercy Sunday may obtain a plenary indulgence or complete remission of punishment due to sin. In 2002, the Apostolic Penitentiary explained the pope attached the indulgence “so that the faithful might receive in great abundance the gift of the consolation of the Holy Spirit. In this way, they can foster a growing love for God and for their neighbor, and after they have obtained God’s pardon, they in turn might be persuaded to show a prompt pardon to their brothers and sisters.”
The plenary indulgence is granted (under the usual conditions of a sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and a prayer for the intentions of the pope) to the faithful who, on Divine Mercy Sunday, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, recite the Our Father and the Creed, and also adding a devout prayer, for instance, “Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!”
The faithful may fulfill the requirement of confession within eight days before or eight days after the feast.