The essential celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday consists in the celebration of the liturgy of the Second Sunday of Easter, during which the homily should focus on the scriptural readings of the day. It should be noted that the three cycles of scriptural readings and liturgical prayers are all centered on the forgiveness of sins and God’s infinite mercy, which endures forever. In addition, it is necessary that the day publicly be called by its proper name, “Divine Mercy Sunday.” Pope St. John Paul II in the year 2000 in his own public announcement during the homily for St. Faustina’s canonization, stated: “It is important then that we accept the whole message that comes to us from the word of God on this Second Sunday of Easter, which from now on throughout the Church will be called ‘Divine Mercy Sunday.’”
Pope St. John Paul II said that the image of Divine Mercy, which is displayed in our Sanctuary today and in our Prayer Chapel all other days, portrays the Risen Jesus Christ bringing Mercy to the whole world. This image is a gift of parishioners who had it shipped from Poland. Our Lord said to St. Faustina: “I want the image to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter, and I want it to be venerated publicly so that every soul may know about it. I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish” (Diary 341, 48). Please take time to visit with this Image of The Divine Mercy and venerate Jesus when this pandemic is over.
Jesus told St. Faustina in a private apparition that this Feast of Mercy would be a very special day when “all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened” (Diary 699). Jesus promised that “The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain the complete forgiveness of sins and punishment”(Diary 699). He went on to say “I want to grant a complete pardon to the souls that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My Mercy” (Diary 1109).
This plenary indulgence (the complete forgiveness of sins and punishment due to sin) is granted under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer for the intentions of Supreme Pontiff) to the faithful who, on the Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday, in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honor of Divine Mercy, or who, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!). It is allowed for one to go to Confession up to about 20 days before or after Divine Mercy Sunday to receive this plenary indulgence.
New Plenary Indulgence Granted During Global Pandemic
Because of the pandemic, anyone who, with “the will to fulfill the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the Holy Father’s intentions), as soon as possible,” recites the Divine Mercy Chaplet with the intention “to implore from Almighty God the end of the epidemic, relief for those who are afflicted and eternal salvation for those whom the Lord has called to Himself,” can receive a plenary indulgence each day one does this.
This great news was announced in an official decree from the Apostolic Penitentiary on March 20, 2020.
There are other ways to gain this special plenary indulgence, as well:
The faithful suffering from coronavirus and subject to quarantine by order of the health authority in hospitals or in their own homes, with a spirit detached from any sin, can gain the plenary indulgence if they “unite spiritually through the media to the celebration of Holy Mass, the recitation of the Holy Rosary, to the pious practice of the Way of the Cross or other forms of devotion, or if at least they will recite the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and a pious invocation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, offering this trial in a spirit of faith in God and charity towards their brothers and sisters, with the will to fulfill the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the Holy Father’s intentions), as soon as possible.
Health care workers, family members and all those who, following the example of the Good Samaritan, exposing themselves to the risk of contagion, care for the sick of coronavirus according to the words of the divine Redeemer: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15: 13), will obtain the same gift of the Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions.
This Apostolic Penitentiary also willingly grants a Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions on the occasion of the current world epidemic, also to those faithful who offer a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, or Eucharistic adoration, or reading the Holy Scriptures for at least half an hour, or the recitation of the Holy Rosary, or the pious exercise of the Way of the Cross, or the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, to implore from Almighty God the end of the epidemic, relief for those who are afflicted and eternal salvation for those whom the Lord has called to Himself.
And here’s a crucial concession to us all, in case we can’t receive the Anointing of the Sick during this period of pandemic and quarantine:
“The Church prays for those who find themselves unable to receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and of the Viaticum, entrusting each and every one to divine Mercy by virtue of the communion of saints and granting the faithful a Plenary Indulgence on the point of death, provided that they are duly disposed and have recited a few prayers during their lifetime (in this case the Church makes up for the three usual conditions required). For the attainment of this indulgence the use of the crucifix or the cross is recommended (cf. Enchiridion indulgentiarum, no.12).”
Pray Along With Us Via Live Stream on our Facebook Page
Our Seminarian, Barry Meinholz will lead us in praying the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy at 3:00 pm on Divine Mercy Sunday. For information on how to pray the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy, please visit www.praydivinemercy.com.