By Anne Marie Amacher
Since 2000, Divine Mercy Sunday has been celebrated in the Church on the second Sunday of Easter.
The history of Divine Mercy began with Maria Faustina Kowalska of Poland in the 1930s. She had revelations of Jesus who appeared to her and asked her to be his instrument of mercy, says Sandi Hansen, a coordinator for Divine Mercy Sunday celebrations in the Davenport area.
Faustina wrote about her experiences in a notebook, which was published as “Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska.” Those messages were described as the words of God’s divine mercy.
The book was banned in the 1950s, Hansen said, but was picked up in 1978 by Cardinal Karol Wojtyla — the future Pope John Paul II.
As archbishop of Krakow, Poland, he reviewed the diary and determined that the ban was placed because of problems with translations. Inspired by Faustina, as pope he beatified her in 1993 and canonized her in 2000. Pope John Paul II also declared in 2000 that the second Sunday of Easter was to be called Divine Mercy Sunday.
This year, Hansen said, the day has even more meaning as the late pope will be beatified then.
The following parishes will offer special Divine Mercy celebrations:
Davenport — Holy Family Parish will host a Divine Mercy Sunday celebration May 1 from 2-4 p.m. at the church. The day will include adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, rosary, 3 p.m. chaplet of Divine Mercy, music, words of mercy, confessions and benediction.
Fort Madison — The Feast of The Divine Mercy will be celebrated at Sacred Heart Church on May 1. The sacrament of reconciliation will begin at 2 p.m. and continue through The Divine Mercy Holy Hour, which begins at 3 p.m., the hour of great mercy. Mass will be celebrated at 4 p.m. During the Holy Hour there will be veneration at the image of The Divine Mercy, exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, sung chaplet of The Divine Mercy, prayers for Divine Mercy for grace to be merciful to others, St. Faustina’s Praises of The Divine Mercy, prayers for the intention of the Holy Father, prayers to receive the plenary indulgence, benediction, divine praises and closing prayer.
Iowa City — St. Wencelsaus Parish and the Knights of Columbus Council 14385 will mark the Divine Mercy celebration May 1 from 1-4 p.m. in the church. Latin Mass with homily on Divine Mercy will begin at 1 p.m., exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at 2:30 p.m., chaplet of Divine Mercy at 3 p.m. and closing with benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at 4 p.m. Confessions will be held throughout the afternoon — beginning after Mass.
Washington — St. James Parish will include a Holy Hour to mark Divine Mercy Sunday and the beatification of Pope John Paul II. The event will take place April 30 from 7-9 p.m. Eucharistic adoration, singing of the Divine Mercy chaplet and opportunities for confession will be available.