Parishes plan Divine Mercy events
By KATIE LEFEBVRE, Globe staff reporter
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.
Christ also asked that the chaplet be recited as a novena, especially on the nine days before the Feast of Mercy.
Those wishing to participate can start the novena on their own with their families on Good Friday and continue it on Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday.
Then on Easter Monday, April 1 through April 6, join others at 7 p.m. each evening at Trinity Heights in Sioux City where the chaplet will be sung and reflections on Divine Mercy will be presented. An opportunity for confession will also be provided throughout the week. The priests that will be presenting this year are Father Brad Pelzel, Father Patrick Behm, Father William Vit, Father Brent Lingle and Father Michael Erpelding.
Deacons Dick Billings, Fred Karpuk or David Lopez will be closing each evening with benediction. Providing music throughout the week will be Claudia Hardy, Kevin Keane, George Olson and Chrissy Martinez.
“Attending the Divine Mercy Novena is an excellent way to prepare spiritually for the great gift of mercy that our Lord has waiting for us on Divine Mercy Sunday,” said Ratino.
Blessed Sacrament Church, Sioux City
On Divine Mercy Sunday, April 7, there will be an opportunity for people to gather at Blessed Sacrament Church in Sioux City for a grace-filled afternoon. Exposition and adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament will begin at 1:30 p.m. during which time multiple priests will be available for confession.
The Image of Divine Mercy will be carried in procession by the Knights of Columbus and hymns will be sung by Claudia Hardy and Kevin Keane, accompanied by Jane Koch and George Olson.
At 3 p.m., The Hour of Mercy, the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy will be sung. This year’s homily will be given by Father David Hemann.
Father Merlin Schrad, pastor at Blessed Sacrament and the host for the afternoon, will lead everyone in the prayers to gain the plenary indulgence.
“It is hoped that everyone present will beg our Lord for mercy, be merciful to others through the spiritual and corporal works of mercy and place their complete trust in Jesus,” said Ratino. “An extra blessing during the afternoon will be the presence of a sacred first class relic of St. Faustina, the Apostle of Divine Mercy, which was obtained from the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Krakow, Poland.”
Benediction will close the afternoon. A reception will be held in the parish center. Everyone is welcome.
“There is a sense of urgency about the Divine Mercy message and a great necessity to continue it,” said Ratino.
The Lord told St. Faustina, “I am prolonging the time of mercy for the sake of sinners. But woe to them if they do not recognize this time of my visitation.” (Diary 1160) And, “He who refuses to pass through the door of my mercy must pass through the door of my justice.” (Diary 1146)
“With these words in mind, it is a good time for everyone to encourage those who have fallen away from the faith or have become lukewarm in their faith, to make a good confession, receive Holy Communion on Divine Mercy Sunday and obtain the oceans of graces our Lord wants to grant on that incredible day,” said Ratino.
St. Joseph Church, Wesley
The celebration at St. Joseph Church in Wesley will begin at 2 p.m. on April 7 with exposition and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, along with confessions until 2:55 p.m.
At 3 p.m., the Hour of Mercy will include a song of reflection, readings, special prayers and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy in song. The service will conclude with benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Refreshments will follow in the parish hall.
“To help spread this beautiful message, the parish will once again have blessed 8 x 10 Images of Divine Mercy for people to take home with them,” said Deb Trenary, spiritual coordinator at St. Joseph’s. “Anyone who has an interest in participating is more than welcome to attend.”
This will be the seventh year this celebration has been held in Wesley.
“Divine Mercy Sunday was established because Jesus wanted to ‘throw a lifeline’ to all of us who have a repentant heart…from the worst of sinners to those who struggle with everyday life,” said Trenary. “That lifeline is this feast, with all the incredible promises of graces and benefits, which Jesus attached to it. As he said to St. Faustina, he wanted to make this feast day a special ‘refuge and shelter’ for the consolation of souls.”
She added that one of the reasons that makes the Divine Mercy message and devotion so powerful is “that it deals with the deepest desires of the human heart for love, forgiveness and grace. We need to trust in his plan for our lives, and that may mean a change in our way of living. When we rely on God, our lives will be transformed.”
Divine Mercy is a remedy, said Trenary, “especially suited to the needs of our time.” Praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, venerating the Image, remembering Christ’s Passion at the 3 o’clock hour, and sharing the message of Divine Mercy are ways everyone can receive graces from God on a daily basis.
Venerating the Image of Divine Mercy is another way to receive additional graces throughout the day, along with receiving a plenary or partial indulgence, which was granted by Pope John Paul II in 2002, pointed out Trenary.
Holy Trinity Parish, Webster County
Holy Trinity Parish will host the Divine Mercy Holy Hour on April 7 at Corpus Christi Church in Fort Dodge from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will be prayed at 3 p.m. This event is open to all throughout the diocese.
Prior to this prayer service, all are invited to view the film Divine Mercy: No Escape at 12:30 p.m. in the Corpus Christi Center that day with a second showing at 1:15 p.m.
Following the holy hour, Carol Barber and Becky Schulte will give a presentation about their visit to Poland last fall, noted Wynn Touney, Holy Trinity parishioner. The two visited the Shrine of Divine Mercy and the site of St. Faustina.
“It is a chance for them (parishioners) to grow in their faith and an understanding of Divine Mercy,” said Wynn Touney. “The power of that mercy we all need to seek and find. As they better understand it, then they in turn can share that and be more merciful in their own life.”
Part of the job of a priest, as Msgr. McCoy explained to Hiedi Touney, parish life director, is to help facilitate and grow the devotions of parishioners to Mary, Divine Mercy or other devotions.
“This (Divine Mercy) is a particular devotion we want to keep going and looking at more,” said Hiedi Touney.
A Divine Mercy Sunday celebration is also planned for April 7 at St. Cecelia Church in Algona. Check local bulletins to see if there will be a celebration at other parishes throughout the diocese.
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