Many celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday and receive graces
By MICHELLE DELANEY, Globe staff reporter
Among all of the elements of the Divine Mercy requested by God through St. Faustina, the Feast of Mercy was his main desire.
The Lord told St. Faustina that "the Feast of Mercy emerged from my very depths of tenderness. It is my desire that it solemnly be celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the fount of My Mercy."
Divine Mercy Sunday was celebrated in several parishes around the diocese on April 15 including St. Cecelia Church in Algona, St. Joseph Church in Salix, Blessed Sacrament Church in Sioux City, Holy Trinity Church in Webster County and St. Joseph Church in Wesley.
In Sioux City, this special celebration started with exposition and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament along with confession. The Hour of Mercy began at 3 p.m. and included veneration of the Sacred Image, music, readings, special prayers, a homily, singing of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and Benediction.
“We came to this for the Divine Mercy, the indulgence, and it’s such a beautiful, beautiful devotion. We do this every year,” said Jean Ribando, a member of Sacred Heart Church in Sioux City, after attending the service at Blessed Sacrament. “It brings you so close to Christ in a different way. There’s a different perspective and a different aspect in which Christ reveals his Mercy and love through this service. “
The Divine Mercy celebration is known for the special graces offered during the service. Christ promises absolute forgiveness of sins and punishment if one trusts completely in God, makes a confession on or near the Divine Mercy Sunday, receives Communion on that Sunday and is merciful to others. Another way to receive graces is to venerate the image of Divine Mercy.
“I can’t imagine anybody who wouldn’t want to come and get the indulgences. I mean you’re forgiven of your sins and your punishment due to your sins. That’s wonderful,” said Linda Kellen, a St. Michael’s parishioner from South Sioux who came to Blessed Sacrament for the celebration.
“To observe Divine Mercy Sunday with a special celebration is an additional way to receive graces and a way we can give thanks to God for everything he has done for us,” said Deb Trenary, spiritual coordinator at St. Joseph Parish in Wesley. “When we accept God’s gift of mercy into our lives, everything changes because our perspective changes. Even when we don’t understand God’s ways, if we continue to trust in Him, we keep our hope alive no matter how desperate our lives may seem.”
Father Brent Lingle gave the homily at the Blessed Sacrament celebration.
Father Lingle is the director of worship for the diocese and parochial vicar at Cathedral of the Epiphany in Sioux City.
During his homily, he spoke on St. Thomas. He focused on how he needed to see the holes in Jesus’ hands and feet to believe that he had truly risen from the grave.
“Fortunately for Thomas and fortunately for all of us, our resurrected Lord has a lot of patience and mercy for this sort of thing,” said Father Lingle.
Lingle went on to connect St. Thomas’s lack of faith to how people are at times. He also spoke on the wounds Jesus suffered for his people and recognized that without Jesus’ sacrifice, Christians would not be able to be forgiven of our sins today.
“Except for the wounds there would be no salvation, no divine mercy. That my brothers and sisters is a reason for us to rejoice in this season of paschal praise of endless celebration that is the reason why we sing out alleluia,” said Father Lingle.
After the Hour of Mercy, veneration of the First Class Relic of St. Faustina was available at Blessed Sacrament. A reception immediately followed and there was a Divine Mercy video for people to view also.
The Wesley parish had many blessed images of Divine Mercy and Chaplet of Divine Mercy prayer cards for people to take home with them along with a reception afterwards.
“The celebration was beautifully received, and we loved hearing people’s reactions - from our own parish and from other communities near and far. The comment I heard the most was how people truly felt the presence of the Holy Spirit during that three o’clock hour of mercy. It really reminded me of all the promises Christ made to St. Faustina concerning the three o’clock hour and why it is called the Hour of Mercy,” said Trenary.
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