Divine Mercy Sunday
How to Prepare
The faithful are reminded to go to Confession as part of their preparation for celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday. Ideally, they should plan to go to Confession before the day itself – preferably during Lent.
On the Sunday after Easter, the entire Church is called to gather throughout the world to celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. From St. Faustina’s Diary, it is clear that this Octave Day of Easter is a day chosen by Christ as a day of extraordinary graces – a complete outpouring of His mercy upon all who approach Him with great trust and expectant faith. To properly celebrate this great day, we need to prepare well.
During Lent we begin to prepare for our celebration of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday as the eight day of thanksgiving (the Octave Day of Easter). We especially focus on the performing works of mercy, spending more time in prayer, doing penances, and giving alms. It is important to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation during Lent. Praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet and the Novena to the Divine Mercy can be helpful preparation as well.
Many souls also benefit from doing more spiritual reading during Lent. As aspect of this could be learning more about the Divine Mercy message and devotion through reading books, viewing DVDs, and listening to CDs.
For those who feel they must go to Confession on Divine Mercy Sunday itself, it would be well to consider the example of St. Faustina herself, who made her Confession on the Saturday before Divine Mercy Sunday (see Diary, 1072)
The Diary entries recording the words of our Lord in regards to Confession do not explicitly say that confession is to be received on the day itself, but that Holy Communion must be received on that day. See Diary 300, 699, 1109).
In addition to received the Sacrament of Reconciliation during Lent, there are many other things we can do on a daily basis to prepare for Divine Mercy Sunday. Here are a few suggestions:
– Show mercy to others by doing whatever spiritual and corporal works of mercy we can, depending upon our own personal circumstances;
- Pause for prayer during the 3 o’clock hour
- Make continues novena to the Divine Mercy
- Play audio or DVDs that focus on mercy
- Read the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska and the Divine Mercy Message and Devotion booklet
- Distribute pamphlets about the Divine Mercy such as Message of Divine Mercy, Devotion to Divine Mercy
- Tell others about God’s mercy, especially as it has touched you in your own life
- TRUST in Jesus even more.
We can also join with family member or friends to prepare for Divine Mercy Sunday, trusting in our Lord’s promise that where two or three are gathered in His name, He is there in their midst. Pray first for the guidance of the Holy spirit, and then set a regular time to gather together to proclaim, witness to, and worship our Merciful Savior. You can choose some of the following activities or others of your own:
- Encourage each other to TRUST in Jesus;
- Pray together, especially the Divine Mercy Chaplet and selected prayers from the Diary;
- Read out loud selections about Divine Mercy- from Scared Scripture, the Diary, the encyclical Misericordia Vultus (Rich in Mercy), or other books and booklets, especially The Divine Mercy Message and Devotion.
- View videos or DVDs about the Divine Mercy Message
- Listen to audio recordings of songs or teachings about Divine Mercy.
- Discuss the readings or recordings to help each other gain new insights and understanding
- Do some work of mercy as a special group project.
Now that the Second Sunday of Easter has been established as Divine Mercy Sunday throughout the Church, there are various ways of preparing for the on the parish level. The most important is that the pastor be involved. He can be encouraged to participate by praying for him and by offering information. With the pastor’s permission and, preferably, his participation, there are many things that the parish can do:
- Put announcements in the parish bulletin
- Provide opportunities for the Sacrament of the Reconciliation during Lent, especially within penitential services
- Make sure that your pastor and fellow parishioners know that a plenary indulgence is now available, in addition to the extra ordinary grace, to those who celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday.
- Schedule special prayer during the 3 o’clock Hour of Great Mercy
- Provide times for Eucharistic Exposition and Adoration
- Show films or play audio recordings about Divine Mercy
- Preach about the Divine Mercy message and devotion throughout Lent
- Make Divine Mercy materials available to people
- Make the Novena to Divine Mercy
Celebrating Mercy Sunday
People celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday in many different ways. But there are some things that should always be included , based on our Lord’s words to St. Faustina. Receiving Holy Communion on that Sunday, listening to the mercy of God preached, blessing and venerating the image of the Merciful Savior, and performing some act of mercy are the core of the celebration. All of these should be approached with the disposition of trust in Jesus, with repentance of our sins. It should be a celebration that will draw us to turn to God’s mercy with trust, receive His mercy with thanksgiving, and share His mercy with others.
For the parish priest, the celebration of the Mass of the Sunday after Easter means using the readings in the Lectionary (all of which focus on mercy, in each year of the Three-Year Cycle) and preaching on God’s mercy. It would be advisable to have confessors available for those who wish to receive the Sacrament of Reconcilita.
Around the world, parishes and dioceses celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday in various ways.
Some have a Mass during the 3 O’clock Hour of Great Mercy, other have a Holy Hour of Eucharist Adoration, which usually includes praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and its veneration are often included as part of the Mass or Holy Hour. Some also organize processions and provide for anointing with blessed oil.
If you are unable to attend an organized celebration, there are a variety of ways to celebrate personally, such as by praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, reading Sacred Scripture, or reading selections from the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska –especially the texts on Divine Mercy Sunday. Some find it helpful to listen to audio recording of teachings and hymns on Divine Mercy. Other view DVDS or videos on the life of St. Faustina.
And everyone should find opportunities for personal acts of mercy.