Divine Mercy Sunday events scheduled
By JOANNE FOX, Globe editor
The canonization of Blesseds John Paul II and John XXIII is taking place on the Feast of Divine Mercy this year.
“This is not an accident,” said Connie Funk, chair of the spiritual committee, Trinity Heights Queen of Peace, Sioux City. “Their lives are very interconnected with the Divine Mercy message.”
Services to celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27, will be held at a number of diocesan sites.
Through St. Faustina, who died in 1938 at the age of 33 from complications of tuberculosis, Christ revealed a powerful prayer called the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Many people opt to pray this at 3 p.m. as a reminder of Christ's ultimate act of mercy – his death on the cross for the salvation of the people.
Pope John Paul II beatified St. Faustina on the second Sunday of Easter in 1993. In April 2000, again on the second Sunday of Easter, she was canonized as the first saint of the new millennium. The pontiff announced that the Second Sunday of Easter would be celebrated as Divine Mercy Sunday throughout the universal church.
The Divine Mercy Novena will begin on Good Friday and continue through Easter Sunday.
“We are encouraging individuals to pray this novena on their own,” Funk recommended. “Trinity Heights will also offer the novena prayers April 21-26 at 7 p.m. at the Queen of Peace Marian Center.”
Each evening, there will also be adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and benediction. The opportunity to receive the sacrament of reconciliation will be available each night.
From April 21-25, Trinity Heights will host a reflection delivered by a Siouxland priest on the popes who will be canonized. Speakers are: Monday, Father William Vit; Tuesday, Father Patrick Behm; Wednesday, Father Brad Pelzel; Thursday, Father Brent Lingle; and Friday, Father David Hemann.
Father Lingle, coordinator of the diocesan department of formation and ministry, will be reflecting on Pope John Paul II’s encyclical “Dives in Misericordia (Rich in Mercy).”
“Since it will be in the octave of Easter, I will focus particularly on the sections about how mercy is revealed in the cross and resurrection and how love is more powerful than death and sin,” he said. “As Blessed John Paul II says, ‘The cross is like a touch of eternal love upon the most painful wounds of man's earthly existence.’ This encyclical is very much in tune with the reflections on mercy and God’s love that we find present in the diaries of St. Faustina.”
On April 26, a Divine Mercy video, created by Father Michael Gaitley of the order of Marian Fathers of Immaculate Conception will be shown at 7 p.m. at Trinity Heights. Father Gaitley launched the Hearts Afire program for parishes.
Blessed Sacrament Church, Sioux City, will host Divine Mercy services on April 27. Beginning at 1:30 p.m., there will be a Eucharistic procession, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and sacred music. Confessions will be heard from 1:30 to 3 p.m. The first class relic of St. Faustina, from Trinity Heights Divine Mercy Chapel, will be available for veneration.
At 3 p.m., the Chaplet of Divine Mercy will be sung. Bishop Walker Nickless will present the keynote talk, followed by benediction. A reception follows immediately after the celebration.
St. Mary’s new Divine Mercy image will be unveiled and blessed at the beginning of the celebration. In honor of Blessed John Paul II, who is to be canonized that day, this image will have the inscription “Jesus, I Trust in You” in the original Polish, “Jezu ufam Tobie!”
The Divine Mercy event will also include Eucharistic procession, adoration, praying of the Divine Chaplet, homily and benediction. Music for this event will reflect the cultural makeup of the parish and will be in Lao, Pohnpeian (Micronesian), Vietnamese, Spanish and English.
St. Joseph Parish in Wesley will begin its Divine Mercy Sunday celebration with an Hour of Mercy at 3 p.m., which includes a song of reflection, readings, special prayers, and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy in song.
The parish will once again have blessed 8 x 10 images of Divine Mercy for anyone to take and share with others.
“This is a great opportunity to celebrate in thanksgiving God's mercy for us all and rejoice in the special graces that are continually given to us this day,” said Deb Trenary, St. Joseph spiritual coordinator. “We invite people to stay after the service, as refreshments will follow in the parish hall.”
Holy Trinity Parish of Webster County will celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27 at Corpus Christi Church, Fort Dodge.
The Divine Mercy Prayer Service with begin at 2:30 p.m. and include the singing of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, Praises of the Divine Mercy and meditation on the diary of St. Faustina. Eucharistic Adoration will begin at noon.
Following the prayer service, a special viewing of the life of St. Faustina, "The Apostle of Divine Mercy", will be held in the Corpus Christi Parish Center. Refreshments will be served.
Check local bulletins to see if there will be a celebration at other parishes throughout the diocese.
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