Photo: Beacon photo/Joe Gigli

JESUS, I TRUST IN YOU — Marking Divine Mercy Sunday at St. Stephen Parish in Paterson, the bishop blesses a Divine Mercy image of Jesus made especially for the community of St. Stephen Parish in Paterson in which the Divine Mercy inscription “Jesus, I trust in you,” is written in the three languages of the community — English, Spanish and Polish.

A Tri-lingual Parish with One Common Goal

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The following story was first published by Catholic Beacon, the newspaper of the Diocese of Paterson, N.J. It is being reprinted here with permission from The Beacon.

By Cecile San Agustin

PATERSON, N.J. — On the Second Sunday of Easter, Catholics throughout the world celebrated the Feast of Divine Mercy, a day that remembers the merciful love of God that was first officially celebrated in 2000 by Pope John Paul II.

Throughout the diocese, parishes celebrated the special feast day with nine-day novenas beginning Good Friday and to mark the feast.

Bishop Serratelli celebrated Mass at St. Stephen Church here on Divine Mercy Sunday, which brought together Spanish and Polish speaking families at a tri-lingual celebration. At the Mass, the bishop blessed an image of Jesus made specifically for the parish with the inscription "Jesus, I trust in You" written in English, Polish and Spanish. The bishop also entrusted the diocese to the Divine Mercy and consecrated nine members of the parish's Eucharistic Missionaries of Divine Mercy.

Father Darius Kaminski, pastor of St. Stephen's, said, "The celebration gave us joy, peace and hope. We are a parish consisting of English, Polish and Spanish speaking communities, and we felt unity among each other. The Divine Mercy unites us. When I was looking at the faces of the people, they were very happy I feel because the merciful love of God is poured upon us."

With the bishop entrusting the diocese to Divine Mercy, the celebration at St. Stephen's became a very important celebration for the diocese and all its faithful.

"Just as Pope John Paul II entrusted the whole world to Divine Mercy in 2000," said Father Kaminski, "Bishop Serratelli entrusted his diocese to Divine Mercy to know God's merciful love."

In Morris County, for seven years a Divine Mercy prayer group has been meeting every Friday at St. Michael Parish in Netcong to pray the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy and remember the message and devotion based on the writings of St. Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun who wrote a Diary recording the revelations she received about God's mercy. Even before her death in 1938, devotion to Divine Mercy had begun to spread.

Father Nicholas Bozza, pastor of St. Michael's, said, "It's a special kind of evangelization within the prayer group and parish community. The people tell each other their stories and about the effect devotion to Divine Mercy has had in their lives, and with those stories the people have become closer to each other."

Because of this special devotion at St. Michael's, the parish has an altar dedicated to The Divine Mercy where a relic of St. Faustina is present at all times.

Mary Pajaro, who serves in the religious education office at St. Michael's, has a great devotion to Divine Mercy. "It gives me purpose, and it's special to know that God's mercy is there. I think in this day and age, we take God's love for granted. This [message and] devotion makes me understand that His mercy is there provided I pay attention."

Since Divine Mercy is largely dedicated to God's mercy, St. Michael's created a plaque and dedicate its prayer group to families and friends who have loved ones serving in the military, especially in war areas.

"We have a lot of parishioners who are sending young men and women overseas to fight for this country," said Pajaro. "For those in the service, it reminds them that God's mercy is with them."

Father Bozza believes Divine Mercy has allowed him to serve better as a priest. He said, "As a confessor, Divine Mercy reminds me to speak frequently about the Sacrament of Reconciliation. At wedding rehearsals, wake services or wherever people gather I try to offer that opportunity for people to return to the loving arms of God."

For Elaine Vigilante, a devotee to the Divine Mercy since 2003 and parishioner of St. Philip Parish in Clifton, looking at an image of Divine Mercy is a prayer in itself. "It's like looking at the tabernacle," said Vigilante. "You see the mercy of God's love just flowing into all the people because He just wants us to know how much He loves us."

Saint Philip's was part of a statewide Divine Mercy novena held during the first week of Easter in which services included Divine Mercy prayers, chaplet, reflections by priests and Benediction.

At St. Peter Parish the Apostle Parish in Parsippany, N.J., a novena and a special hour of prayer with Benediction was held to mark the Feast of Divine Mercy. During recent years, Msgr. Herbert Tillyer, pastor of St. Peter the Apostle, has seen more and more people attend this devotion on Divine Mercy Sunday. This year, close to 200 people attended.

"Word gets out among people, and the devotion itself has grown," he said. "There were a lot of new faces, and many of those people came up to me letting me know how grateful they were we had it."

Monsignor Tillyer said, "Divine Mercy is a display of the Lord's great gift of forgiveness. Even on the cross, Jesus said, 'Father, forgive me,' which shows his constant mercy for us so especially needed today."

Linda Pasquale, a parishioner at St. Peter's, said, "Divine Mercy is simply about how loving and merciful God is and that there is no sin that God won't forgive if we are truly sorry for our sins."

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