Regional Divine Mercy Sunday events planned around Diocese of Peoria April 3

Regional celebrations of Divine Mercy Sunday are planned April 3 in Champaign, LaSalle, Nauvoo, Normal, Peoria, and Rock Island. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

One of the highlights of the Holy Year of Mercy comes next weekend, with the celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday on April 3. Long observed on the Second Sunday of Easter, it has held a special place on the church calendar since St. John Paul II canonized St. Maria Faustina Kowalska on April 30, 2000.

In his 14th Festival Letter, “Divine Mercy,” Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, encouraged regional celebrations around the diocese to help people understand and receive all the graces associated with this feast day.

Those gatherings, most of them located at the churches where the “Mercy Doors” of the Diocese of Peoria are located, include:

  • Champaign: St. John’s Catholic Chapel, 604 E. Armory Ave. Eucharistic adoration and the sacrament of reconciliation will be available from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy will be sung at 3 p.m. Father Daniel Gifford, assistant chaplain, will give a reflection on God’s mercy. A Mass at 5 p.m. will feature a “superchoir,” made up of members of all five of the chapel’s choirs.
  • LaSalle: Queen of the Holy Rosary Shrine, 529 Fourth St., at 3 p.m. To help people prepare for the celebration, the Divine Mercy Novena will begin at 6:15 p.m. on Good Friday, March 25, and continue at 3 p.m. on Holy Saturday, March 26; and 6:15 p.m. on Easter Sunday, March 27, through Saturday, April 2.
  • Nauvoo: Sts. Peter and Paul Church, 190 N. Wells St. There will be eucharistic adoration from 3 to 4 p.m. and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy will be sung. The sacrament of reconciliation will be available during this time. Father Thomas Szydlik, parochial vicar, will offer reflections on Divine Mercy.
  • Normal: St. Robert Bellarmine Chapel at St. John Paul II Catholic Newman Center, 501 S. Main St. The area-wide celebration begins with Mass at 2 p.m. — the only Mass offered at the Newman Center that day. Eucharistic adoration will follow and the sacrament of reconciliation will be available. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy will be sung at 3 p.m.
  • Peoria: St. Philomena Church, 1000 W. Albany. The area-wide celebration will begin at 3 p.m. and include a reading from Scripture and reflection on Divine Mercy, exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, and Benediction. Several priests will be available to hear confessions. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy will be sung.
  • Rock Island: St. Pius X Church, 2502 29th Ave. All the priests of the vicariate will be available to hear confessions, starting at 2 p.m. There will be exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at 3 p.m. and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy will be sung. Father Glenn Harris, pastor of St. John in Rapids City and St. Mary in Hampton, will offer a reflection on Divine Mercy at 3:30 p.m. The prayer service will close with Benediction at 4 p.m.

GRACES PROMISED

In his festival letter, Bishop Jenky talked about St. Faustina and how her visions of Jesus as “the King of Divine Mercy” re-emphasized the centrality of mercy in the Christian life. One of these visions revealed the image of Christ with the inscription “Jesus I trust in you” that is now revered around the world.

27 Mercy LogoBishop Jenky wrote that the Lord revealed to St. Faustina “that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish.”

The Lord also gave her the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and the bishop said the purpose of this prayer was “to obtain mercy, to trust in God’s mercy, and to show mercy to others.”

Those are all elements of celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday, according to the planning guide for celebrating the Feast of Divine Mercy published on the website of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria. It notes that to benefit from the promises Jesus made to St. Faustina — “complete remission of all sins and punishment, the same grace renewed as at baptism” — the faithful should:

  • Come to Jesus with a humble and contrite heart, with repentance for all their sins.
  • Place their complete trust in the Divine Mercy of Jesus.
  • Attend Mass and receive Communion on the Feast of Divine Mercy (in a state of grace).
  • Make a sacramental confession on the Feast of Divine Mercy or in the days before or after the feast.
  • Venerate the image of Divine Mercy.
  • Perform an act of mercy, either physically by helping others, or spiritually, by offering prayers of intercession.

“Utter dependence on the God revealed in the Scriptures and incarnate in Jesus Christ is the foundation for all true blessing in human existence,” Bishop Jenky wrote in his festival letter. “The blessed are called happy because they respond in praise and thanks to God’s acts, especially God’s gracious gift of mercy.”

To find the full text of the bishop’s festival letter or the planning guide for Divine Mercy Sunday, visit cdop.org/mercy.

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