When St. Faustina Kowalska received revelations from Jesus over the course of her short life, the Polish nun reported that Christ frequently asked that a feast day be dedicated to Divine Mercy and that the feast be celebrated on the Sunday after Easter.
Those requests became a reality in 2000 when Pope John Paul II established the feast of Divine Mercy as a way for believers to seek God’s mercy and forgiveness in a special way.
Parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Baltimore will celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday April 19 and many will also offer opportunities to receive the sacrament of reconciliation, participate in eucharistic adoration and pray the Divine Mercy novena.
“The Divine Mercy really helps the faith to grow because the purpose is to ultimately join the Lord in heaven and to be one with him in heaven,” said Monsignor Jeremiah F. Kenney, retired archdiocesan judicial vicar.
“When God gives us the graces that are associated with the Divine Mercy novena, they assist us in our free will to choose the things of God,” he said. “Grace does not impede the free will, rather it enables the free will to make the proper choices for our salvation.”
Monsignor Kenney holds a special connection to Divine Mercy Sunday. He served as the episcopal delegate that presided over the diocesan investigation of the miraculous healing of Father Ronald Pytel, the late pastor of Holy Rosary in Fells Point who was cured of a life-threatening heart condition through the intercession of St. Faustina. Father Pytel’s miracle was the final step that led to St. Faustina’s canonization in 2000.
“Jesus is never outdone in generosity,” Monsignor Kenney said. “If we have faith, we can certainly ask God for anything – especially in this moment of Divine Mercy.”
Father Louis Bianco, associate pastor of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Homeland, will celebrate a Divine Mercy Mass April 19 at the cathedral following the 3 p.m. Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Priests will hear confessions from 2-3 p.m. and there will be exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and benediction following the liturgy. The faithful will have an opportunity to venerate a relic of St. Faustina, and there will be a blessing of religious articles.
At Holy Rosary, home of the official Archdiocesan Shrine of the Divine Mercy, there will be confessions from 12-1:20 p.m. Legionary of Christ Father Charles Sikorsky will celebrate a 1:30 p.m. Mass, followed by exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, eucharistic procession and veneration of the image of the Divine Mercy and St. Faustina relic. A Polish meal will be available 11 a.m.-4 p.m. in the school hall.