By Ray Martin
I knew that Divine Mercy Sunday was always after Easter and that it was a day to recognize the victory won for us by the resurrection of Christ, but after hearing Fr. Alessandro talk about it during his homily on Easter where he said that Jesus wants to offer us “special graces” that will flow down on Divine Mercy Sunday and how we should participate in going to confession, I thought maybe there’s more to this feast day than I’m aware of. The more I started looking into it, I realized that I really had no idea what made this coming Sunday so important. I knew there was an image, a painting of the image that St. Faustina saw and that she had written a diary, but that’s about all I could come up with.
So What is Divine Mercy Sunday?
Well, Pope John Paul II declared that the Sunday immediately following Easter should be Divine Mercy Sunday. Why? Apparently in the 1930’s Jesus told St. Faustina, a nun from Poland, that not only should we celebrate a Feast of Mercy, but that it should be the Sunday after Easter. Pope John Paul II made this surprise announcement in a homily on May 5, 2000 when he Canonized St. Faustina who had written the messages that she was being given by the Lord.
If you’re being hard on yourself for not realizing that this feast day was important, you partly don’t know a lot about it because:
- it’s relatively new as of the turn of the millennium
- Catholics aren’t forced to believe in the visions of St. Faustina, they’re the tradition that the Feast is based on…but it’s not ALL that it’s based on.
Even back in the Old Testament we hear about the mercy of God, and then Jesus himself spread a message of our merciful Father who wants us to show mercy to the sick, the poor, the naked, the thirsty, etc. The ultimate act of Love demonstrated by Christ in dying on the Cross showed us that there’s no sin so great that can’t be forgiven by God if we chose to turn back to Him.
What Makes Divine Mercy Sunday So Special?
Reconciling with our Father is the biggest benefit of this Feast of Mercy. There are many ways to do so, but what marks this day so extraordinary is that there’s a Plenary Indulgence offered by The Church, a special one.
What’s The Difference Between A Plenary Indulgence & Going To Confession?
I’m glad you asked because I had to look it up myself! Here’s my understanding: when we are given absolution from our sins through the sacrament of Reconciliation, the priest says, “I absolve you from all of your sins”. As an ambassador or representative of Christ himself, we are forgiven in that very moment from our sins. (If you aren’t sure who gave them the right to do so, check out John 20:22 where Jesus breathes the Holy Spirit on the Disciples and tells them to go forgive sins). The Church says that after we confess, we are no longer separated from the love of God meaning we’ll go to heaven, but depending on what we did God might keep us in Purgatory for a little while. Yes, we’re reconciled in our relationship with God, however there could still be a temporal punishment where we need to be purified on our way to eternal life in communion with the Saints.
A Plenary Indulgence however, can eliminate even the temporal punishment, or time in purgatory. The Plenary Indulgence offered by The Church on Divine Mercy Sunday is unique because rather than being available for others or souls already in purgatory, it’s only available for yourself.
How Do We Celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday And Get These Extraordinary Graces?
- Go to confession on or before Divine Mercy Sunday
- Attend Mass and receive the Eucharist
- Participate in a Divine Mercy Prayer Service which will include adoration, praying the Creed, and a devotional prayer to our merciful Lord Jesus such as “Merciful Jesus, I trust in You!”
Ascension will host a prayer service at 3:00pm this Divine Mercy Sunday April 23rd, 2017 in the church where we will sing a Divine Mercy Chaplet, offer the sacrament of Reconciliation, and experience Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. All are welcome to attend!
By Sarah Streitwieser
Just as in Mass the few drops of water, which are poured into the chalice, are changed with the wine into Your Blood, O Lord, take my wretchedness, plunge it into your heart, make it disappear in you.
— Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.
I gaze upon You on the altar in the adoration chapel, in the Blessed Sacrament where I know You dwell. Here, You are easy to encounter, clothed in austerity and humbly hidden beneath the element of bread. You make Yourself simple, that I might simply return to You. I long to join You in Your sacrifice, but once again I find my heart slow.
Lord, how I long to return to You with my whole heart. Your call is so simple, yet it confounds me. If I am honest, I see how easily my heart is divided. Over and over I run back to You like a child with arms open in simple trust. Yet I easily become distracted and wander off mid-course. I am lured away by my own want for comfort, or my own busyness and false sense of self-importance. Why am I so easily diverted from Your embrace? Why do these contrary desires pull me away from You, whom I desire above all else?
During Mass I try to place myself in with the communion gifts. I want to lay down my whole heart and my entire will; I want to offer myself with the bread and wine. In some small way I want to give myself up for You, as You have sacrificed Yourself for me. I hope that by this act I might give my whole heart to You, undivided, and that You might somehow transubstantiate me with You in Your consecration.
I look to the bread and wine, but find that I do not fit with them. How I long to be like the simple wafers, laid low in humility, without the slightest trace of leaven. I, who am often puffed up with pride, self-rising in my vanity – I am not lowly like the communion bread. How many great saints have hidden themselves with You here in humility? Like St. Therese of Lisieux, how many saints have found You in their smallness? I look to the wine and find that I cannot place myself in the chalice. I am not so grand, nor am I prized like the wine is. I am no more a great saint than I am a small one. I am not like St. George; I am not strong or bold enough to slay my own dragons.
My son nudges me just before the transubstantiation, with words that I know must come from Your divine prompting, Lord. He asks about the few drops of water that are poured into the chalice with the wine. He does not ask why water is added to the communion offering, nor does he ask what the water symbolizes. He simply wants to know where the water comes from. He goes on to elaborate, “Is it from the Holy Water font? Is it special water prepared and bottled by some religious order somewhere?” “No, I think it is just regular water,” I respond. “Like from the sink?” he asks. “I think so,” I say. “And it will be changed into Jesus too?” “Yes,” I answer. He concludes, “Well, that’s some lucky water.”
In these words, Lord, I hear Your simple invitation. If I am not as humble as the bread or as great as the wine, I can still offer myself to You, as ordinary as water. You reach out toward me again, and invite me to Your table. You ask me to participate, undeserving as I may be, in Your transubstantiation. Though I remain imperfect and divided, You make a way for me to return to You as I am, with my whole heart.
The Fathers of St. Joseph is a confraternity of men who follow the timeless wisdom and example of the man who was father to the Son and son of the Father. With St. Joseph as our leader, each father strives to become as he became – an icon of God the Father. As God the Father entrusted His Son to St. Joseph’s care, we also strive to entrust ourselves as children, who are fathers, to this father who will teach us to father, and lead us to the Father. This way of fatherhood is called Joseph’s Way – The Call to Fatherly Greatness. Join us on this journey to discover the power of authentic fatherhood. Msgr. Tank invites all men of the parish to experience this ministry.
Among the most serious crises facing human civilization is the famine of fatherhood. Children, families, the Church and our world are hungering, if not starving, for true fathers to re-enter the human drama and assist God in the mission of saving the world from self-destruction. Indeed, society goes by way of the family, and the family goes by way of the father. Lying at the center of the famine of fatherhood is a deeper crisis: the father’s loss of his identity. The human father has lost touch with his true identity, with his true mission and the person that God has created him to be. The human father knows little of himself because he knows God the Father so little. The human father’s identity leads not only to his destiny, but also, his family’s destiny. The human father, by assuming his identity as an icon of God the Father—an initiator of self-giving love—enables his family to achieve and receive its authentic identity, and assuming this identity, the human family can alter—for the better—the world’s destiny. The Father’s of St. Joseph are committed to providing men the opportunity to gather around St. Joseph himself. To place his life and example at the center of our gatherings with the intention of discovering the timeless sanctity of the vocation of fatherhood, to learn the meaning of authentic fatherhood, to equip fathers to become the fathers God intends them to be by understanding and living the spirituality that enables St. Joseph to become a father on earth like the Father in heaven. The sole aim and purpose of The Fathers of St. Joseph is to labor for the restoration, revitalization and redemption of human fatherhood, in order that it may become what it has been created to be: an efficacious icon that directs the human family to its Father.
- To discover the timeless sanctity of the vocation of fatherhood.
- To be taught and to teach the meaning of authentic fatherhood.
- To supply for the spiritual, familial or financial needs of our fellow fathers.
- To learn how to become an authentic father by becoming children of the Father. To become leaders who serve by following the Servant and Master Who leads.
- To immerse ourselves in the timeless wisdom, fatherly example and person of St. Joseph, the son of the Father and father of the Son.
- To learn how to encourage and edify our families in their pursuit of personal sanctity.
- To learn how to honor and cherish the dignity of our wives and all women by overcoming lust by means of receiving the redemptive power of Christ.
Code of Honor
Protect the Dignity of Woman
As Joseph refused to expose Mary to shame so too we will become successful fathers by becoming guardians of the dignity and value of woman.
Become Icons of the Trinity
The Holy Family became the first domestic church, an icon of the inner love or family life of the Trinity. As fathers we will strive to erect the domestic sanctuary and assist our family in becoming an icon of the life of the Trinity.
Assume Charitable Authority
As fathers made in the image of the Father, we accept our position of ‘charitable authority’ over our household and like Joseph, the hidden Son of David – an underground king – we acknowledge our hidden kingship over our family.
Spiritually Adopt Our Children
We are not mere biological fathers but rather choose to ‘spiritually adopt’ our children and commit ourselves to the fatherly experiences of ‘protecting, feeding and teaching’ and by means of these experiences grow in understanding of our dependence upon the generosity of God the Father.
Work as Expression of Love
Working side by side with our children, we will teach them the art of self-giving love. Like Joseph and Jesus who crafted the cross of self-giving love within the workshop at Nazareth, by means of work, we will provide our children the necessary materials to build the temple of the Holy Spirit – which they are.
We have several sessions available and we invite you to attend:
- Sundays 6:30PM
- Tuesdays 8:30PM
- 1st and 3rd Wednesdays 6:00AM
Call or text us at 913-210-0923
Ascension Marriage & Family Enrichment Opportunities
- Attend Weekly Mass Together
- One Flesh—One Day Retreat with Fr Alessandro 2/4/17
- Holy Hour for Marriages on World Marriage Day 2/12/17 at 3pm
- Everyday in Love— Saturday Morning Speaker Series Lent 2017
- Intro to NFP with Ashley Stoll of FertilityCare Centers of KC Feb, May, Sept 2017
- The Choice Wine Small Groups (Groups now forming)
- Face to Face— Adoration 1st Sunday of the month at 3pm
- School of Love—Date Nights 1st Thursday of the month
- Amoris Laetitia Email Retreat
- Marriage Encounter or Living in Love Retreats
- Volunteer as a mentor or marriage prep couple
More To Be Announced!
The Choice Wine is a 9 session small group marriage enrichment program that can be done with videos or as a book study. The video method is most often preferred. Group leaders may check out copies of the DVD sessions as well as a Couple’s Guide that has group discussion questions to help facilitate conversation.
Small groups may meet on their own timeline, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly are recommended. We suggest that groups either meet at their facilitator’s home, or rotate homes among couples from your group. Invite participants to bring their favorite wine or beverage to share and a snack. Make an evening of it!
Visit www.thechoicewine.org for more information and video examples.
Contact Ray Martin email@example.com or by calling the Parish Office 913-681-3348 for more information, to check out facilitator materials, and to register your group.