Sunday 23 April 2017
Saint Peter's -Eastwood Catholic Parish SS9 4BX
Home to the Southend Ordinariate Mission
DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY- 2nd of Easter
Masses 8.30am Sung at 10.15am Evening 6pm
Divine Mercy Devotions at Our Lady of Lourdes church, Leigh on Sea -2.30pm.
April 23rd 2017 is Divine Mercy Sunday. We are welcome to join our brothers and sisters at Our Lady of Lourdes church for this day’s beautiful devotions beginning at 2.30pm.
Saint John Paul II designated the Second Sunday after Easter as “Divine Mercy Sunday.” The title is rooted in the apparitions and locutions of Jesus to a Polish nun named St. (Sister) Maria Faustina who lived from 1905 to 1938. Jesus revealed to her his great desire to show mercy to all humanity, a mercy especially tied to the traditional hour of his death, the three o’clock hour. The devotion has an image of Jesus described from Sr. Faustina’s apparition depicting blue and red rays of light emanating from the side of Christ. They represent his mercy shown in the blood and water of Eucharist and baptism. The focus is always on the merciful love of God shown to repentant sinners. St. John Paul II desired to formally recognize elements of St. Faustina’s experience. One was the establishment of Divine Mercy Sunday itself and another was through the incorporation of the message of mercy into the means of a plenary indulgence. The pope alone had the authority to do this.
A plenary indulgence is a “full” remission of the punishment and suffering due to forgiven sin in the afterlife. The Greek word plene means full. Venial and mortal sins can be forgiven this side of heaven and the person saved, but there is an experience of justice for these sins on the other side of life that can be quite painful for the soul when entering eternal life. We call this “purgatory.” It is not so much a place as a process. Pope Benedict XVI in his general audience on Jan. 12, 2011, said, “Purgatory is like a purifying fire burning inside a person, a painful experience of regret for one’s sins. A soul stained by sin cannot present itself to God. The soul that is aware of the immense love and perfect justice of God consequently suffers for not having responded correctly and perfectly to that love.” The experience of purgatory comes to an end as the soul enters full communion with God.
The church, because she holds from Christ the “keys to the kingdom” and can “bind and lose” can also establish and offer to the faithful what are called indulgences, which through the “application of the superabundant merits of Christ and of the saints,” are actions or prayers that can be used for the benefit of souls and the remission of the punishment due to forgiven sin. These indulgences can be either partial or full (plenary) in their efficacy. The Divine Mercy Sunday indulgence promulgated in June of 2002 is plenary.
Certain requirements were set to maintain the indulgence’s integrity and its proper reception. The decree stated that the indulgence is granted under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, holy Communion and prayer for the intentions of the pope) to the faithful who, on Divine Mercy Sunday, in any church or chapel, in a spirit completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honour 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. Jesus, I trust in you!).
The church makes special circumstances for those unable to participate for legitimate reason, such as being at sea, displaced by war or the homebound. It states that they “may obtain a plenary indulgence, if totally detesting any sin, and with the intention of fulfilling as soon as possible the three usual conditions, will recite the Our Father and the creed before an image of our merciful Lord Jesus and, in addition, pray a devout invocation to the merciful Lord Jesus. If it is impossible that people do even this, on the same day they may obtain the plenary indulgence if with a spiritual intention they are united with those carrying out the prescribed practice for obtaining the indulgence in the usual way and offer to the merciful Lord a prayer and the sufferings of their illness and the difficulties of their lives.” Saint John Paul II died on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday.
May you all receive the graces and many blessings from Christ that he gives too his Church on this great day!