By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
Since 2000, Divine Mercy Sunday has been celebrated in the Catholic Church on the second Sunday of Easter. The history of Divine Mercy began with Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska of Poland in the 1930s. She experienced 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.
Sr. Faustina, who died in 1938, wrote about her experiences in a diary that was later published as “Diary: Divine Mercy of My Soul.” Those messages were described as the words of God’s divine mercy. The diary was banned in the 1950s because of inaccuracies in translation, according to divinemercy.org. Cardinal Karol Wojtyla became interested in the diary and, after having a theologian examine it, lifted the ban six months before being elected Pope John Paul II.
The Holy Father beatified Blessed Faustina in 1993 and canonized St. Faustina in 2000. St. 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:
• Davenport, Sacred Heart Cathedral: April 8 from 2-4 p.m.; adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, rosary and prayers; 3 p.m. Chaplet of Divine Mercy; confessions (limited); music and benediction. Refreshments will follow in the diocesan hall.
• Des Moines County, Divine Mercy Parish: retreat April 7-8 featuring Michael Cumbie, April 7, 5:30-7:30 p.m., food and a meet and greet in St. John cafeteria; “Divine Mercy and Conversion” talk, 7:15-9 p.m. in St. John Church. April 8, luncheon and meet and greet, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the cafeteria; “Divine Mercy and Worship” talk, 12:45-2 p.m. in St. John Church; communal reconciliation, 2-3 p.m. with area priests; Divine Mercy Chaplet, 3-4 p.m. with Father Bill Roush; Divine Mercy Mass, 4-5 p.m.; “Divine Mercy & Evangelization” talk, 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the cafeteria.
• Iowa City, St. Wenceslaus Parish: Divine Mercy celebration, April 8, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; exposition of the Blessed Sacrament begins at 11 a.m.; confessions will be heard from noon to 2:30 p.m.; rosary will be recited at 1 p.m.; Chaplet of Divine Mercy will be prayed at 2:30 p.m.; benediction of the Blessed Sacrament begins at 2:45 p.m.; Mass begins at 3 p.m.