90 years later we celebrate Divine Mercy

Published: April 9, 2021

Divine Mercy Sunday Schedule

Click on the link above to find the schedule for Catholic parishes in Arkansas that are hosting holy hours, rosary, chaplets and litanies of Divine Mercy on Sunday, April 11. If not listed, please contact your parish directly to find out if special events are planned.

“Divine Mercy reaches human beings from the heart of Christ crucified. … Today, fixing our gaze with you on the face of the Risen Christ, let us make our own your prayer of trusting abandonment and say with firm hope: ‘Jesus, I trust in You!’” — St. John Paul II, canonization Mass of St. Faustina Kowalska, May 1, 2000

St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun, wrote in her diary that she witnessed a vision of Jesus on Feb. 22, 1931, while she was living at a convent in Plock, Poland. She wrote that Jesus had one hand raised in benediction and the other resting over his heart, from which emanated two rays of light. On the 90th anniversary of this first apparition, Pope Francis wrote a letter to the bishop of the Diocese of Płock, Poland. 

In his Feb. 22 letter, the Holy Father recalled the words of Jesus heard by St. Faustina: “Paint a picture according to the pattern you see, with the caption: 'Jesus, I trust in You.' I desire that this image be venerated first in your chapel and then throughout the world.” 

The apparitions to St. Faustina formed the basis of the worldwide divine mercy devotion we have today. St. John Paul II canonized St. Faustina on May 1, 2000. Five days later the Vatican decreed that the Second Sunday of Easter would henceforth be known as Divine Mercy Sunday. This year, we celebrate this feast on April 11. The celebration of Christ's resurrection continues with this feast, which recognizes that God's love and mercy endure forever and overcome any sin that separates us from him.

Pope Francis encouraged all the faithful to “ask Christ for the gift of mercy,” in his Feb. 22 letter. We are to allow Christ's mercy “to embrace us and penetrate us,” to have “the courage to return to Jesus, to encounter his love and mercy in the sacraments," and to “feel his closeness and tenderness,” so that we “might be more capable of mercy, patience, forgiveness, and love.”

On Divine Mercy Sunday, parishes often host holy hours, which might include eucharistic adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, Benediction, Praises of Divine Mercy, Litany of the Precious Blood, or other prayers and songs. Some also offer the sacraments of anointing of the sick and reconciliation. Arkansas Catholic has a list of parishes in the Diocese of Little Rock hosting holy hours. If not listed, please contact your parish directly to find out if special events are planned.

If you are unable to participate in person, there are online resources to help you observe this feast at home. Watch Pope Francis celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday Mass on YouTube at Santo Spirito Church in Sassia, which is Rome’s official divine mercy church. Relics of both St. Faustina and St. John Paul II are housed there. The National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, will livestream several special events including Mass and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. And visit Catholic Icing and Teaching Catholic Kids for tips to teach your kids about this devotion.

Our Sunday Visitor offered this suggestion last year and it still applies. Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy "for those who have died because of the coronavirus and for their loved ones, for those who are working on the front lines to treat and combat the virus, for a swift end to the pandemic, for all those who are struggling with loneliness, anxiety and financial/job concerns, and for those who despair of finding God’s mercy, especially during this difficult time when so much of the Church’s healing ministry is restricted. 'Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.'"