Divine Mercy Sunday

Divine Mercy Sunday, May 1, 2011, at the Vatican included the beatification of Pope John Paul II for which over a million pilgrims went to Rome.[1][2]

Divine Mercy Sunday is a Roman Catholic solemnity celebrated the Sunday after Easter. It is based on the Catholic devotion to the Divine Mercy due to Saint Faustina Kowalska, and is associated with specific indulgences.[3][4][5]



Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun had stated that she had visions of Jesus and conversations with him. In an entry in her diary, Faustina stated that in a vision she was told by Jesus that anyone who participates in the Mass and receives the sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist on this day is assured of full remission of their sins and punishments.[6][7]

On March 23, 1937, Faustina wrote in her diary (Notebook III, item 1044) that she had a vision that the feast of Divine Mercy would be celebrated in her local chapel, and would be attended by large crowds, and that the same celebration would be held in Rome attended by the Pope.[3][5] She wrote:

The crowd was so enormous that the eye could not take it all in. Everyone was participating in the celebrations.[3]

Divine Mercy Sunday is also the culmination of the novena of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.[6] Faustina wrote that in her visions Jesus instructed her that the Feast of the Divine Mercy (the Sunday after Easter) be preceded by a Divine Mercy Novena which would begin on Good Friday.[6]

In her diary (Notebook 1, item 49) Faustina wrote that Jesus told her that he wanted the Divine Mercy image to be "solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter; that Sunday is to be the Feast of Mercy."[8][9]

The first Mass during which the Divine Mercy image was displayed was on April 28, 1935, the second Sunday after Easter and was attended by Faustina.[10] April 28, 1935 was also the celebration of the end of the Jubilee of the Redemption by Pope Pius XI.[10][11] Father Michael Sopocko (Faustina's confessor) celebrated the Mass that Sunday and obtained permission to place the image within the Gate of Dawn church in Vilnius during the Mass.[10][12]

Vatican approval

The Divine Mercy image is used in Divine Mercy Sunday celebrations.[8][9]

The devotion was actively promoted by Pope John Paul II, who on April 30, 2000 as he canonized Faustina designated the Sunday after Easter as the Sunday of the Divine Mercy (Dominica II Paschae seu de divina misericordia) in the General Roman Calendar.[7][13] A year after establishing Divine Mercy Sunday, on April 22, 2001 Pope John Paul II re-emphasized its message in the resurrection context of Easter:

Jesus said to Sr Faustina one day: "Humanity will never find peace until it turns with trust to Divine Mercy". Divine Mercy! This is the Easter gift that the Church receives from the risen Christ and offers to humanity.[14]

In June 2002 John Paul II granted indulgences (involving specific conditions) to Catholics who attend Mass on Divine Mercy Sunday, or recite specific prayers on that day, which were then formally decreed by the Apostolic Penitentiary.[4] The "Duties of Priests" for celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday are found in the plenary indulgence decree.[4]

The devotion to Divine Mercy Sunday grew rapidly after its designation by Pope John Paul II and is now widely celebrated by Catholics.[15] The Divine Mercy image is often carried in processions on Divine Mercy Sunday, and is placed in a location in the church so that it can be venerated by those who attended the Mass.[15]

The liturgical celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday reflects the devotional elements of Divine Mercy - the first prayer of that Mass beginning with:

"Heavenly Father and God of Mercy, We no longer look for Jesus among the dead, for He is alive and has become the Lord of Life".[16]

This opening prayer refers to Divine Mercy as the key element in the plan of God for salvation and emphasizes the belief that it was through mercy that God gave his only son for the redemption of mankind, after the fall of Adam.[16]

John Paul II, who died in April 2005 on the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday, was himself beatified on Divine Mercy Sunday, May 1, 2011, by his successor, Pope Benedict XVI.[17]

See also

Further reading


  1. ^ CNS News May 2, 2011
  2. ^ Daily Telegraph May 1, 2011
  3. ^ a b c Saints of the Jubilee by Tim Drake 2002 ISBN 9781403310095 pages 85-95
  4. ^ a b c Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary on Divine Mercy Indulgences 29 June 2002 at the Vatican web site
  5. ^ a b Ann Ball, 2003 Encyclopedia of Catholic Devotions and Practices ISBN 0-87973-910-X pages 174-175
  6. ^ a b c EWTN on the Divine Mercy Novena
  7. ^ a b A Divine Mercy Resource by Richard Torretto 2010 ISBN 1450232361 pages 188-190
  8. ^ a b Tim Drake, 2002, Saints of the Jubilee, ISBN 9781403310095 pages 89-90
  9. ^ a b Faustina: The Apostle of Divine Mercy by Catherine M. Odell 1998 ISBN 0879739231 page 66
  10. ^ a b c Faustina: The Apostle of Divine Mercy by Catherine M. Odell 1998 ISBN 0879739231 pages 102-103
  11. ^ Miravalle, Mark Introduction to Mary 1993, ISBN 9781882972067, page 122
  12. ^ A Divine Mercy Resource by Richard Torretto 2010 ISBN 1450232361 page 16
  13. ^ Vatican website: Canonization of St. Faustina Kowalska, April 30, 2000
  14. ^ Divine Mercy Sunday Homily, April 22, 2001, Vatican website
  15. ^ a b 'Sourcebook for Sundays, Seasons, and Weekdays 2011: The Almanac for Pastoral Liturgy by Corinna Laughlin 2010 ISBN 1568548710 page 195
  16. ^ a b A Divine Mercy Resource by Richard Torretto 2010 ISBN 1450232361 pages 58-59
  17. ^ "Pope paves way to beatification of John Paul II". bbc.news.co.uk. January 14, 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-12191423. Retrieved 2011-01-14. 

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