Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Today, the Octave of Easter, is Divine Mercy Sunday. This special feast was instituted by St. John Paul ll during his pontificate. Recently we commemorated on April 2nd the tenth anniversary of his passing into the “Father’s house,” and rejoice in the acclamation of his sainthood this past year. He, along with St. Faustina, are the apostles of Divine Mercy. Thus on part of this special day Mother Church, through the successor of St. Peter Pope Francis, extends a plenary indulgence which is the negation of all temporal punishment due to sin. Sadly, we often forget that though God is all merciful to the repentant sinner, He is also just. Jesus our Savior died to conquer sin, but as people who understand that satisfaction must be made for the consequence of sin, for example hurting another person’s reputation by gossip and idle talk, there needs to be on the part of the repentant sinner an act of justice. The purifying fires of purgatory ordinarily accomplish this. However, from time to time we are given great opportunity to have this justice satisfied by a plenary indulgence.
Divine Mercy Sunday is one occasion to receive this privileged grace and forgiveness. That we might be well prepared to receive this grace certain conditions are necessary: 1) within a three week period making a sacramental confession; 2) the intention to renounce sin and to avoid falling into it, especially habitual sins; 3) prayer for the Holy Father – the Apostles Creed, Our Father and Hail Mary – which we will pray following our Saturday Vigil and Sunday Masses; 4) and, if possible, participation in Divine Mercy celebrations. Here in our parish that begins today at 2:00 PM in St. Mary Magdalen Church. Once again our loving God extends His mercy to us in order to bypass purgatory. He again in this special way “pays our debts.” Let us try to make every effort to glorify Him by participating in the graces offered to us.
As I mentioned after the Easter Masses, I again extend my profound thanks in my name and Father Reichlen’s to all who gave so much of their time and talents for our glorious celebrations this past week. Your extraordinary efforts give witness to your love of God and these combined churches of St. John the Evangelist Parish. As you have praised the Lord so selflessly, may He reward you with abundant graces and blessings.
Christ is Risen, Alleluia!