Divine Mercy Sunday

Happy Easter!

Thank you to those who are praying the Divine Mercy Novena with me.

The novena ends on April 18th, the day before the Feast of Mercy.

Have you heard of this feast?

I want to tell you about it (again) because I don’t want you to miss out!


The Origin

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, this year the Feast of Mercy is: April 19th.

Jesus explained the significance of this day in private revelations 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).

Jesus made it very clear that the feast is to take place on the second Sunday of Easter, the Octave.

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 it occurs on this day for a reason.

While Divine Mercy Sunday was already celebrated in Poland and Vatican City for several years, Pope John Paul II extended it to the Universal Church in 2000.

Since it’s only twenty years old, all Catholics aren’t aware of it.

But the Lord doesn’t want this special day to be kept a secret. He wants the whole world to know of His mercy and the graces available to souls.

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Shrine of Divine Mercy in Cracow-Lagiewniki, Poland. Photo from faustyna.pl

How?

There are clear steps for participating in Divine Mercy Sunday based on divine revelation and the teachings of the Church.

Confession

  • 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 ideal to go right before the feast. If we cannot do so, we’re permitted to go twenty days before or after.
  • If confession isn’t possible because of the pandemic, make an Act of Contrition and promise to go to confession as soon as possible.

Holy Communion

  • Go to Mass for the feast (the Vigil April 18th or Sunday April 19th) and receive Holy Communion.
  • 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.
  • If receiving Holy Communion isn’t possible because of the pandemic, watch Mass on TV/online, make a Spiritual Communion and promise to receive Communion sacramentally as soon as possible.

The Indulgence

Along with the countless graces available to souls on that day, an indulgence can 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).

Conditions Required for the Indulgence:

  • One’s soul must be free from the attachment to 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. If praying in a church, chapel or in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament isn’t possible because of the pandemic, say the Our Father, Creed and a prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus before a devout image of Him.

If one fulfills all of the requirements, the indulgence is plenary.

If one fulfills some of the requirements, the indulgence is partial.

Indulgences can only be applied to one’s own soul or the deceased.

The indulgence can only be obtained by Catholics, but the graces available on this day aren’t limited to Catholics!

If you’re reading this and you’re not Catholic, I encourage you to participate in Divine Mercy Sunday in whatever way possible.

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Shrine of Divine Mercy in Cracow-Lagiewniki, Poland. Photo from faustyna.pl

Why?

Even though the indulgence is a blessing and incentive, it’s not the only reason one participates in the Feast of Mercy.

I believe we should fully participate 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 obey His will?
  • It will bring us peace. 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. Aren’t we all sinners and in need of mercy? This day allows us to contemplate God’s endless mercy and thank Him for this wonderful gift.

Please join me in celebrating the Feast of Mercy this Sunday!


Information from the official Vatican document explaining how one can obtain the indulgence in special situations, such as a pandemic, which I summarized above.

The Decree on Indulgences attached to devotions in honour of Divine Mercy

For those who cannot go to church or the seriously ill

In addition, sailors working on the vast expanse of the sea; the countless brothers and sisters, whom the disasters of war, political events, local violence and other such causes have been driven out of their homeland; the sick and those who nurse them, and all who for a just cause cannot leave their homes or who carry out an activity for the community which cannot be postponed, may obtain a plenary indulgence on Divine Mercy Sunday, if totally detesting any sin, as has been said before, and with the intention of fulfilling as soon as possible the three usual conditions, will recite the Our Father and the Creed before a devout image of Our Merciful Lord Jesus and, in addition, pray a devout invocation to the Merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you).

If it is impossible that people do even this, on the same day they may obtain the Plenary Indulgence if with a spiritual intention they are united with those carrying out the prescribed practice for obtaining the Indulgence in the usual way and offer to the Merciful Lord a prayer and the sufferings of their illness and the difficulties of their lives, with the resolution to accomplish as soon as possible the three conditions prescribed to obtain the plenary indulgence.

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