Feast of Divine Mercy (1st Sunday after Easter)
Our Lord to St Maria Faustina
"The First Sunday after Easter is to be the Feast of Mercy” (Diary, #570).
The Feast of Divine Mercy (or 'Divine Mercy Sunday') is the most important of several devotions to Divine Mercy. It is celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. The devotions, approved by John Paul II, centre around the message of God's Merciful Love revealed to St Maria Faustina, whom John Paul II canonized on 30 April 2000.
The Feast of Divine Mercy enables the faithful to gain a plenary indulgence with complete remission of sins and punishment.
Preparation for the Feast commences on Good Friday with the start of the Novena to Divine Mercy.
“On that day, the very depths of my tender Mercy are open. I put out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the Fount of My Mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment... Let no soul fear to draw near to Me even though its sins be as scarlet” (Diary, #699).
Popes on the Feast of Divine Mercy
John Paul II:
Homily of John Paul II at the Mass in St Peter’s Square for the Canonization of Sr Mary Faustina Kowalska, Sunday, 30 April 2000:
“It is important then that we accept the whole message that comes to us from the word of God on this Second Sunday of Easter, which from now on throughout the Church will be called Divine Mercy Sunday."
The Divine Mercy message has been confirmed on several occasions by the present Pope, Benedict XVI; see, for example the celebration of Divine Marcy Sunday, 30 March 2008:
“Mercy is the central nucleus of the Gospel message; it is the very name of God, the Face with which he revealed himself in the Old Covenant and fully in Jesus Christ... Divine mercy, which brings peace to hearts... Divine Mercy... was in fact the core of John Paul II's long and multi-faceted Pontificate.”
Novena — from Good Friday up to the Feast of Divine Mercy
Our Lord asked St Maria Faustina to say the Chaplet for nine days before the Feast of Mercy, beginning on Good Friday and ending on the Saturday before the Feast. “By this novena, I will grant every possible grace.” (Diary #796).
“Recite it for nine days on the beads of the rosary in the following manner:
“First of all, say one Our Father and Hail Mary and the I Believe in God.
“Then on the Our Father beads, say the following words: ‘Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.’
“On the Hail Mary beads, you will say the following words: ‘For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.’
“In conclusion, recite these words three times: ‘Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.’”
"On each day [of the Novena] you will bring to My Heart a different group of souls, and you will immerse them in this ocean of My Mercy... that they may draw therefrom strength and refreshment and whatever grace they need in the hardships of the life, and especially at the hour of death." (#1209)
Our Lord asked the Chaplet to be offered up for a different intention each day of the Novena (#1210-1228):
(Diary references are taken from the Diary of St Maria Faustina.)