By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
Since 2000, Divine Mercy Sunday has been celebrated in the church on the second Sunday of Easter.
The history of Divine Mercy began with St. 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, said Sandi Hansen, a coordinator for Divine Mercy Sunday celebrations in the Davenport area.
St. 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 gained acceptance when it was picked up by Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, who became Pope John Paul II in 1978.
As archbishop of Krakow, Poland, he reviewed the diary and determined that the ban was placed because of problems with translations. Inspired by now St. Faustina, the Holy Father beatified her in 1993 and canonized her in 2000. St. Pope John Paul II also declared in 2000 that the second Sunday of Easter was to be called Divine Mercy Sunday.
The following parishes will offer special celebrations:
• Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Bettendorf — A Divine Mercy celebration will be held April 23 from 2-4 p.m. Adoration, rosary and prayers, Chaplet of Divine Mercy at 3 p.m., confessions, music and benediction will be offered.
• Prince of Peace Parish in Clinton will offer a Divine Mercy service April 23. Confession begins at 2 p.m., service with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, special prayers and Chaplet of Divine Mercy begin at 3 p.m.
• St. Wenceslaus Parish in Iowa City — A Divine Mercy celebration will be held April 23 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament begins at 11 a.m., confessions will be heard from noon to 3:30 p.m., rosary will be prayed at 1 p.m., reflection of the Divine Mercy will be offered at 2 p.m., Chaplet of Divine Mercy will be prayed at 3 p.m., benediction of the Blessed Sacrament will begin at 3:30 p.m., and Mass begins at 4 p.m.
• The Keokuk Deanery will celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday at St. Alphonsus Parish in Mount Pleasant. Confessions begin at 2 p.m., devotions at 3 p.m. and Mass at 4 p.m.
• St. Mathias Church in Muscatine. The Feast of Divine Mercy will be celebrated April 23 with confessions from 2-3 p.m. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy, Scripture and benediction will begin at 3 p.m.