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Divine Mercy Sunday

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The First Sunday after Easter has several names: Dominica in Albis, Low Sunday, and "Quasimodo" Sunday. But more recently, it’s been affectionately referred to as Divine Mercy Sunday.  

  • Traditionally, the First Sunday after the Resurrection is called Whit Sunday (White Sunday) or Dominica in Albis. This is because the newly baptized used to wear their white garments which they received at the Vigil for the entire Octave and would take them off on this day.

  • It is also called "Quasimodo" Sunday from the first words of the Introit: "Quasi modo geniti infantes..." ("As newborn babies...", from I Peter 2:2)

  • It is also known as "Low Sunday" in contrast to Easter, the prototype of all Sundays. (1 John 5:4-10; John 20:19-31).  Another explanation given is that the "Low" is a corruption of Laudes from the sequence sung on this day: "Laudes Salvatori voce modulemur supplici" (Let us sing praises to the Savior with humble voice).

  • At the canonization of Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska in 2000, Pope St. John Paul II designated this day as Divine Mercy Sunday as "the Easter gift which the Church receives from the Risen Christ." (homily at Mass, April 30, 2000)

Whatever we may call this eighth day of Easter, the day has always been a celebration of the Mercy of the Risen Lord. We hear in the Gospel at Mass that Christ invited his disciples to actually touch his wounded side and experience first-hand that His wounds have defeated sin and death.

Our Lord specifically asked St. Faustina for the image of Divine Mercy to be produced, and told her, “I am offering people a vessel with which they are to keep coming for graces to the fountain of mercy. That vessel is this image with the signature; 'Jesus, I trust in You.’”

 

Jesus assured St. Faustina, that “not in the beauty of the color, nor of the brush lies the greatness of this image, but in My grace.”

We are blessed to have two beautiful interpretations of this sacred image under which our faithful can venerate our Lord and pray for His Divine Mercy and grace: a mosaic above the altar in the Divine Mercy Grotto and a painting from Poland next to the St. Joseph altar in our church.

The Extraordinary Graces of Divine Mercy Sunday:

On Divine Mercy Sunday, souls may obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment if they:

  1. go to Confession beforehand

  2. receive Holy Communion on Divine Mercy Sunday in a state of grace. 

 

In her Diary, St. Faustina records this special promise given to her by Jesus. He told her to communicate it to the whole world:

"My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy" (699).

In three places in her Diary, St. Faustina records our Lord's promises of specific, extraordinary graces:

"I want to grant a complete pardon to the souls that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My mercy" (1109). 

"Whoever approaches the Fountain of Life on this day will be granted complete forgiveness of sins and punishment" (300). 

"The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion will obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment" (699).

To receive these graces, the only condition is to receive Holy Communion worthily on Divine Mercy Sunday (or the Vigil celebration) by making a good confession beforehand and staying in the state of grace and trusting in His Divine Mercy. 

By these conditions, our Lord is emphasizing the value of confession and Holy Communion as miracles of mercy. The Eucharist is Jesus, Himself, the Living God, longing to pour Himself as Mercy into our hearts. 

In addition, our Lord says through St. Faustina that we are to perform acts of mercy:

"Yes, the first Sunday after Easter is the Feast of Mercy, but there must also be acts of mercy" (742). 

"The graces of My mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only, and that is trust. The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive" (1578).

The worthy reception of the Eucharist on Divine Mercy Sunday is sufficient to obtain the extraordinary graces promised by Jesus.  

 

A Plenary Indulgence is Also Available on Divine Mercy Sunday:

A plenary indulgence, obtained by fulfilling the usual conditions, also is available: 

 

The extraordinary graces promised to the faithful by our Lord Himself through St. Faustina should not be confused with the plenary indulgence granted by Pope John Paul II for the devout observance of the Second Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday).  

The Decree of the Holy See offers:

 

"A plenary indulgence, granted under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer for the intentions of Supreme Pontiff) to the faithful who, on the Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday, in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is 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. Merciful Jesus, I trust in You!)..."

Learn more about Divine Mercy Sunday at https://www.thedivinemercy.org/celebrate/greatgrace/dms

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