Divine Mercy Celebration
Sunday, April 28
2:00pm at St. Bernadette in Amelia
Join St. Peter, St. Mary, and St. Bernadette for adoration, confession, and the divine mercy chaplet.
Four confessors are available, including Fr. Reutter and Fr. Ralston.
A plenary indulgence is available to all who receive Communion and make a good Confession on this day.
What is Divine Mercy Sunday?
In the 1930's, Jesus appeared to a Polish religious, Sr. Faustina, dressed in a white robe, His right hand in blessing, and his left hand touching His Heart, with two rays, one red, the other pale, coming from His Heart. His message to her was simple: He desired that the whole world know the unfathomable depths of His mercy poured out on us from the Cross.
Jesus asked Sr. Faustina to have a painting made depicting how He appeared to her, with the signature, "Jesus, I trust in You." The image sums up Jesus' message of mercy: Trust in the merciful love of God, who wants to forgive your sins, and asks that we, in our turn, show mercy as we have been shown mercy.
Our Lord appeared to Sr. Faustina (who has now been canonized a saint) several times, and spoke with her about this devotion to His mercy. St. Faustina's diary, containing these revelations of Christ, is available for purchase if you want to read through their conversations. More information can also be found at this website: www.thedivinemercy.org, which is run by a religious order devoted to spreading the divine mercy devotion. Below you will find more information about the devotion and the indulgence available.
The Divine Mercy Devotion
Perhaps the most common form of devotion to the divine mercy is the divine mercy image, the painting Jesus asked St. Faustina for, which at His request has spread all over the world. It is a reminder of the great love and forgiveness He wants to show us.
The divine mercy chaplet is another common devotion, which is a prayer that uses rosary beads to implore God's mercy on the world. Information on how to pray the chaplet can be found here.
Divine Mercy Sunday is another form of the devotion. It is the second Sunday of Easter, established at Jesus' request to St. Faustina, and is a moment of incredible mercy. St. John Paul II established the second Sunday of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday throughout the whole Church. On this day, those who receive Communion and make a good Confession will receive a plenary indulgence, which is the forgiveness of all sins, and the remission of all punishment due to sin. See below for more on the theology of indulgences. Join us April 28 to receive what Jesus has promised all who approach Him in Communion and Confession that day!
What is an indulgence?
Our actions have consequences, and sins are no different. Every sin brings upon the sinner guilt and punishment, as is just. This is because first, you are guilty of that particular sin, and second, there is a consequence because of it: punishment. Those who commit mortal sins (which are grave, or serious, sins, committed with full knowledge of the evil and with full intention to do so anyways; in a word, deliberately) are guilty of mortal sin and thus incur eternal punishment: separation from God in hell after death, because through this sin the person has broken their relationship (or friendship) with God, separating themselves from God while still here on earth.
There are other sins, however, which are lesser, but still sins and should be avoided just as much. These are venial sins. They are sins which are either not grave, or not deliberate, or both. A person who commits a venial sin is still guilty of sin, but their punishment is not eternal, because their relationship with God is not broken, but weakened. Therefore, while venial sins do not send a person to hell, they do prohibit us from entering heaven (because our relationship with God is damaged) until all guilt and punishment for venial sins is remitted, which happens in a mysterious state we call purgatory.
Because of God's mercy, both venial and mortal sins can be forgiven. God wants us to come back to Him, leave our sins behind, and seek Him with all our hearts. So He gives us two ways for Him to make this happen: Confession and indulgences.
Confession is a sacrament, through which God forgives all guilt of sin (unless a sin is deliberately not confessed), and remits all eternal punishment due to sin. This means that one who has gone to Confession can go to heaven, but by way of purgatory.
An indulgence is a spiritual practice of the Church (not a sacrament, but related to Confession). It is a gift of God's mercy, given through the Church ("Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again, Amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father." Mt. 18:18-19 NAB).
There are partial and plenary indulgences: partial ones remit some of the punishment due to sin, and plenary indulgences remit all punishment due to sin. This means that one who has gone to Confession and received a plenary indulgence will go straight to heaven if they should die. Stipulations for indulgences are outlined by the Church, and there are many ways to receive one.
This means that one who comes to the Divine Mercy Celebration and makes a good Confession and also receives Communion that day will be free of all punishment due to sin: they will be in perfect friendship with God, and heaven-bound should they die.
To close, and underline the importance of indulgences, many Catholics, in a way to recognize the difficulty sometimes encountered to be a saint, say they're just shooting to make it to purgatory. But as Mother Angelica (foundress of EWTN) said: shoot for heaven, don't shoot for purgatory--because you might miss!
For more information on indulgences, click here for the Catechism of the Catholic Church and here for a Catholic apologist website.