Seven Things About Divine Mercy Sunday
by Jimmy Akin (Edited from the
National Catholic Register
What is Divine Mercy Sunday?
Divine Mercy Sunday is celebrated on the Second Sunday of Easter. It is based on the private revelations of Our Lord to St. Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun (1905-1938), which recommended a particular devotion to the Divine Mercy. It also has a foundation in Scripture and the liturgical readings of the Second Sunday of Easter.
When was it made part of the Church's calendar?
In 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized St. Faustina and, during the ceremony, he declared: "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."
If based on private revelation, why is it on the Church's calendar?
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the furture Benedict XVI wrote of private revelation:
"...Private revelations often spring from popular piety...This does not exclude that they will have an effect even on the liturgy, as we see...in the feasts of Corpus Christi and of the Sacred Heart. From one point of view, the relationship between Revelation and private revelations appears in the relationship between the liturgy and popular piety: The liturgy is the criterion, it is the living form of the Church...fed directly by the Gospel. Popular piety is a sign that the faith is spreading its roots into the heart of a people in such a way that it reaches into daily life. Popular religiosity is the first and fundamental mode of 'inculturation' of the faith. While it must always take its lead and direction from the liturgy, it enriches the faith by involving the heart."
How does the Church promote Divine Mercy Sunday
So that the faithful would observe this day with great devotion, the Pope St. John Paul II established that it be enriched by a plenary indulgence. An
is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which [remission] the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions, through the action of the Church, which as minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints.
An indulgence is partial or temporary as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin. They may be applied for the living or the dead (CCC #1471-1479). The usual conditions for a plenary indulgence are: sacramental confession, Holy Communion, and prayer for the intentions of the Pope. The faithful are granted this indulgence who on Divine Mercy Sunday meet these conditions and participate in devotions held in honor of Divine Mercy, or in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament recite the Our Faather and Creed, adding a prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus.
What is the Divine Mercy image?
The image is a depiction of Jesus based on a vision that St. Faustina had in 1931. Jesus is shown raising his right hand in blessing, and pointing with his left hand on his chest, from which flow forth two translucent rays: one red and one white. The depiction often contains the message "Jesus, I trust in You!" (In Polish:
Jezu ufam Tobie
). The red rays symbolize the blood of Jesus (which is the life of souls), and the white rays symbolize water (which justifies souls). The whole image is symbolic of charity, forgiveness, and love of God, the "Fountain of Mercy."
What is the Chaplet of Divine Mercy?
It is a prayer said using a standard set of Rosary beads, often at 3:00 PM (the time of Jesus' death), but with a
different set of prayers
than those used in the Marian Rosary.
How is the Divine Mercy devotion linked to the readings for the Second Sunday of Easter?
The Divine Mercy image depicts Jesus at the moment he appears to the disciples in the Upper Room, after the Resurrection, when he empowers them to forgive or retain sins (John 20:19-31), which is the Gospel reading for this Sunday. The Gospel includes the appearance of Jesus to St. Thomas (which occurred on the eighth day after the Resurrection (John 20:26), and so it is used in the liturgy eight days after Easter.
For more information, including how to pray the chaplet and the chaplet novena, visit