Today is a monumental day for Catholic’s around the world. It is Divine Mercy Sunday, it is the day the Pope declared two new saints and at sunset it is Holocaust Remembrance Day. To those who don’t know about the history of the message and devotion of Divine Mercy, here is a snippet from Fr. Stephim Michalenko, MIC and Vinny Flynn,
The dissemination of the Divine Mercy message and devotion throughout the world makes for great reading-extraordinary visions and revelations, miraculous answers to prayer, a dramatic escape from war-torn Poland, a temporary ban by the Church, and strong support from Pope John Paul II, who may well go down in history as the “Mercy Pope.”
The writings of Blessed Faustina Kowalska an uneducated Polish nun from the congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Poland, are the source of the message and devotions. Sr. Faustina wrote a diary of some 600 pages recording the revelations she was receiving about God’s mercy. This devotion has spread since her death in 1938 and during the tragic war years of 1939-1945, this devotion grew in strength as people throughout Poland and Lithiania turned to the merciful Savior for comfort and hope.
Many parishes offer a special service celebrating this now traditional devotion that includes adoration, recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, readings from the diary, and beautiful songs. Graces flow from being a part of this beautiful celebration.
At sunset, Holocaust Remembrance Day begins and we can understand the connection on Divine Mercy Sunday with its decent into the hell of Auschwitz-Birkenau. We pray for healing to all who remember such horror’s of that fateful time.
To top off the day, Pope Francis has declared John XXIII and John Paul II as saints. A truly magnificent celebration. Brandon Nappi writes of John XXIII,
In the fall of 1962, Pope John XXIII called to Rome some 2600 bishops, heads of religious orders and theologians from across the globe to participate in the Second Vatican Council. The historic gathering, the largest of its kind in the Church’s two thousand year existence, addressed a wide array of modern issues including ecumenism, inter-religious dialogue, scripture, episcopal authority, and church-state relations.
One of the Council’s greatest contributions was its theology of the laity. The introduction to its Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity declared: “Éthe action of the Holy Spirit [is] moving laypeople today to a deeper and deeper awareness of their responsibility and urging them on everywhere to the service of Christ and his Church.”
The Holy Spirit’s action appears in myriad ways as today’s laity spreads the Gospel both inside and outside the Church. According to the Council, all the baptized, not just priests and religious, participate in Christ’s ministry as priest, prophet, and king. All are called by God, not only to announce “the message and grace of Christ, but also to permeate and improve the whole range of the temporal.” (II.5) All of us must work to create a world that reflects the peace, justice, and love that marked Christ’s earthly ministry.
As a lay person with a strong devotion to the Catholic Church, I celebrate these two incredible Saints, and pray for their continued guidance in leading us all to sainthood. After all, we are all called to be saints. If you would like to see this monumental event from Rome watch this 1 minute and 58 second clip.