I’ve been praying the Divine Mercy Novena since Good Friday. (I’m grateful to those who are praying along with me!)
Those praying the novena know it ends on April 27th, the day before the Feast of Mercy.
Have you heard of this feast?
I’d like to tell you about this special day because I don’t want you to miss out!
- What it is
- How one participates in it
- Why one participates in it
The Feast of Mercy, aka Divine Mercy Sunday, is the second Sunday of the Easter season.
Since Easter Sunday is on a different date each year, the Feast of Mercy is April 28th this year.
Jesus explained the significance of this day to St. Faustina,
“…My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the Fount of My Mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come forth from the very depths of My most tender mercy. Every soul in its relation to Me will contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity. The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy” (Diary, 699).
In private revelations to St. Faustina, Jesus made it very clear that the feast is to take place on the first Sunday after Easter.
The choice of the first Sunday after Easter for the Feast of Mercy has a very deep theological significance, which points to the close relationship between the Paschal Mystery of the redemption and the mystery of The Divine Mercy. The integral relationship is further emphasized by the Novena of Chaplets to The Divine Mercy which begins on Good Friday as a preparation for the Feast (Introduction xxiv).
Even if we don’t fully understand the mystery, we know the feast occurs on this day for a reason.
While the feast was already celebrated in Poland and Vatican City for several years, Pope John Paul II officially declared the second Sunday of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday in the year 2000.
Since it’s a relatively new feast, all Catholics aren’t aware of it.
The Lord doesn’t want the feast to be kept a secret. He wants the whole world to know of His mercy and the graces available on this special day!
There are clear steps for participating in the feast based on divine revelation and the teachings of the Church.
As stated above,
“The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion [for the feast] shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment” (699).
How amazing is that?!
- It reconciles us with God so we’re able to receive the graces available on that day.
- Most parishes offer Confession every Saturday; so it’s possible and ideal to go the day before the feast, April 27th. If we cannot do so, we’re permitted to go twenty days before or after the feast.
- Go to Mass for Divine Mercy Sunday and receive Holy Communion (April 27th Vigil or April 28th).
- If we’re in a state of mortal sin, we must go to Confession before receiving Communion. If you’re not sure of the state of your soul, I advise going to Confession right before the feast.
Along with the countless graces available to souls on that day, an indulgence can also be obtained.
The Decree of Indulgence for Divine Mercy Sunday grants a plenary or full indulgence to those who satisfy certain conditions established by the Church and a partial (incomplete) indulgence to those who fulfill some but not all of the conditions.
A plenary indulgence means that by the merits of Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints, the full remission of the temporal punishment due to sacramentally forgiven sins is obtained. The person becomes as if just baptized and would fly immediately to heaven if he died in that instant. A partial indulgence means that a portion of the temporal punishment due to forgiven sin is remitted (EWTN website).
Conditions Required for the Indulgence:
- One’s soul must be free from the attachment to all sin. (In other words, there is no sin one is unwilling to abandon)
- Participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation
- Receive Holy Communion at Mass. If one is ill or homebound, one can be brought Communion by a priest or Eucharistic minister
- Pray for the intentions of the Pope. The Our Father and Hail Mary are suggested
- Participate in prayers or devotions held in honor of Divine Mercy in a church/chapel OR say the Our Father, Creed and a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus — e.g. Jesus I trust in You, My Lord Jesus have mercy — in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. (Praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy in the necessary location fulfills this part)
If one fulfills all of the requirements, the indulgence is plenary.
If one fulfills some of the requirements, the indulgence is partial.
Indulgences can be applied to one’s own soul or the souls of the deceased. They cannot be applied to others who are living.
Even though the indulgence is an incredible blessing and incentive, it’s not the only reason one participates in the Feast of Mercy.
I believe we should fully participate in Divine Mercy Sunday because:
- Jesus wants us to! His heart burns with the desire to pour out graces upon us. Everything He does is for love of us and the good of our souls. Why wouldn’t we follow His will?
- On that day, the gates of Divine Mercy are open for us. Jesus said, “Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy.” Don’t we all want to experience true peace? This is possible only when we turn to the Lord and ask for His grace.
- It gives us the opportunity to celebrate. We’re all sinners and in need of mercy. The feast allows us to focus and reflect on God’s endless mercy and thank Him for this wonderful gift.
I hope you’ll join me in celebrating the Feast of Mercy this Sunday, April 28th!