Mercy Mondays

Divine Mercy: An Opportunity Worth Celebrating

By Kamil Ziolkowski | Monday, March 28, 2016

The first efforts to establish the Divine Mercy in the Catholic Church were undertaken by Blessed Michael Sopocko, confessor and confidant of St. Faustina Kowalska. He had been promoting this worship since 1935 in the churches of Vilnius, present-day Lithuania. In 1946, the Polish Bishops' Conference, led by Cardinal Augustus Hlond, sent a petition to the Vatican to establish the Feast of Divine Mercy on the first Sunday after Easter. However, after 11 years, in 1957, the Vatican commissioned a group to examine the development of the devotion to the Divine Mercy. During the canonization of Sister Faustina in 2000, John Paul II proclaimed the second Sunday of Easter as the Feast of Divine Mercy for the whole Church. It is worth noting that the Church beatified John Paul II on the Feast of Divine Mercy in 2011, and proclaimed him a saint, alongside of John XXIII, on the Feast of Divine Mercy in 2014.

The Divine Mercy flourishes also in the Archdiocese of Chicago. The late Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop Emeritus of Chicago, established St. Stanislaus Kostka Church as a Shrine of Divine Mercy. Since that time, the devotion of Divine Mercy in this parish has grown among the Polish, American and Hispanic communities.

This Easter, the Archdiocesan Office for the New Evangelization (ONE) invites you to a special celebration of The Divine Mercy Vigil of Prayer and Petition. The celebration of this Feast will begin on April 2nd in St. Stanislaus Kostka Church at 5 p.m. with English Mass. After the Mass, there will be bilingual prayers offered in Spanish and English. Then, at 8 p.m., all believers can participate in a Polish Mass at Holy Trinity Polish Mission, under the leadership of Bishop Antoni Dziemianko from Belarus, followed by a procession of light to St. Stanislaus Kostka that is also a Jubilee Pilgrimage Site. ONE encourages people to participate in the procession using regional costumes.

The following day, April 3, after prayers offered by the Polish-speaking community and Filipino community, there will be an opportunity to meditate in the silence of sacred space. At 7:30 a.m. there will be a Mass in English and at 2:30 p.m. the Rosary, followed by Mass at 3 p.m., with Fr. James Kubicki, National Director of the Apostleship of Prayer. From 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., the Sacrament of Reconciliation will be offered.

The Church puts before us the opportunity and, at the same time, a job to do. Do not be afraid to worship the God of Mercy. Praise Him, who is the Giver of life, love, faith and hope.

Mercy Challenge

The new life of Resurrection calls us to live with a renewed commitment to the ideas of discipleship. Find a way, as a family, to share the joy of Easter and have a conversation about the Divine Mercy Sunday with someone who needs to hear it. Who is the person, family or neighbor who needs to hear about the Risen Christ and Divine Mercy chaplet?

Find the Divine Mercy Chaplet here: www.ewtn.com/devotionals/mercy/novena.htm

Kamil Ziolkowski is a seminarian at Bishop Abramowicz Seminary.