On Divine Mercy Sunday -- the eighth and final day of the Octave of Easter -- an "ocean of graces" is poured out upon all, flowing from the Paschal Mystery of Christ's suffering, death, and resurrection. Yet so many Catholics are still unaware of these extraordinary graces -- even though the Feast of Divine Mercy is being celebrated as a universal feast for the second time.
This is why I want to invite you as our Marian Helpers to join my Congregation, the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, in spreading the good news of Divine Mercy Sunday this Lent. You can be the hands and feet of the Merciful Savior in helping those in your families, neighborhoods, and parishes to prepare well to receive the extraordinary graces that are available on this day.
Now, let me give you some perspective on the message of Divine Mercy and its liturgical celebration. Then I will pass on some practical suggestions for how you can help others prepare well for the day.
First, remember that the message of mercy is simple: God's love for us knows no bounds, and His mercy endures forever. All are invited to come to the Lord in trust to receive His forgiveness and healing, consolation and peace. The greater the sinner, the greater right the person has to receive the Lord's mercy.
We are invited to turn to the Lord with trust to receive His grace, remembering that on Divine Mercy Sunday, Jesus promised: "On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment" (Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, 699). (Emphasis mine.)
How can you help share this good news?
-- Pray and encourage your family and friends -- especially those who are away from the Sacraments -- to go to Confession before Easter. Also, encourage them to begin praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet Novena on Good Friday to prepare for the Feast. (TheThree O'clock Hour Prayerbookhas the prayers for the novena. Click here for online catalogue.) Finally, help your loved ones and friends in whatever ways you can to attend Holy Mass and receive Holy Communion on Divine Mercy Sunday.
-- Ask your pastor if you may provide an insert for your parish bulletin for either the Fourth or Fifth Sunday of Lent. Online version of insert. In particular, people should be encouraged to go to Confession before Easter, so they can receive the Lord in Holy Communion worthily not only on Easter Sunday, but also on Divine Mercy Sunday. The Marians hereby grant permission for the insert to be photocopied or otherwise reproduced in its exact form only for distribution as an insert in parish bulletins.
-- Consider placing a beautiful color ad in your diocesan newspaper, or your local secular newspaper. Advertising costs vary from paper to paper and depend on many factors. If you are interested in exploring this option, we can advise you and try to answer your questions. Call or e-mail the Divine Mercy Sunday Project: 1-740-282-1683, firstname.lastname@example.org. We recommend that you contact us today, since Mercy Sunday falls early on April 7.
-- Call 1-800-462-7426 and request a free copy of our Association of Marian Helpers 2002 Catalogue. Or visit us online at www.marian.org. In the catalogue, you will find many Divine Mercy prayercards, leaflets, booklets, and other items that may be of interest to you and your parish as you prepare for the Feast. Also, see the following "MH Memo" for a special offer.
Your response is important. Please pray and seek God's will about these suggestions. We desire to reach every Catholic in the United States and Canada with the good news of Divine Mercy Sunday. Please consider today what you can do to help.