Elizabeth Fazzini / Managing Editor 2017-04-07 01:54:48
Thursday, April 6, 2017 THE CATHOLIC ACCENT FILE PHOTOS More than 400 people participate in the Divine Mercy Sunday service on April 3, 2016, in St. Clair Park, Greensburg. GREENSBURG — The need for God’s mercy did not expire at the conclusion of the Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis. The year, which ran from Dec. 8, 2015–Nov. 20, 2016, was a designated time for Catholics to contemplate God’s mercy in their lives with greater intensity — and to extend this Christ-like mercy to others. “I think that special year, when we focused our attention on God’s mercy, actually highlighted the need to continue celebrating God’s love,” said Bishop Edward C. Malesic. During the Jubilee year, the bishop celebrated many special events in the Diocese of Greensburg, including a Divine Mercy Sunday service at St. Clair Park in Greensburg. More than 400 people participated. “That diocesan gathering in the park was so well received, I thought it should continue,” he said. With that said, the second diocesanwide celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday will take place on April 23 at 3 p.m. in the same park. It is free and open to the public. The afternoon will include eucharistic exposition and adoration, readings, recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, a procession, and Benediction. In the event of inclement weather, the service will be moved to Blessed Sacrament Cathedral, Greensburg. Bishop Malesic said Divine Mercy Sunday, always held on the Sunday after Easter, is part of the church’s liturgical calendar and is a gift from the leadership of St. John Paul II, who had a special devotion to St. Faustina and a fondness for venerating the image of mercy that the Lord revealed to her. Polish-born St. Faustina experienced a vision of Christ which was eventually translated into a painting titled “The Divine Mercy.” She also received many private revelations about God’s mercy, which resulted in the devotion of praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. St. Faustina recorded her revelations in a 600-page diary, which were compiled into a book, “Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in my Soul,” published by Marian Press. While the concept of divine mercy has been part of the Catholic Church’s teachings for two millennia — and is not based on St. Faustina’s revelations — the devotion of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and the image of Divine Mercy did spring from the saint’s revelations. At St. Faustina’s canonization Mass on April 30, 2000, St. John Paul II (then Pope John Paul II) proclaimed that every second Sunday of Easter would be called “Divine Mercy Sunday.” Andrew Wisniewski, a parishioner of St. John the Evangelist Parish, Latrobe, who attended last year’s service, will be in attendance on April 23. “I was so excited to hear that it was coming back again,” he said. Wisniewski said the teaching of divine mercy has been a driving force in his life since he read St. Faustina’s diary. “It’s changed my life,” he said. Wisniewski believes there is an anger and hatred in this world — which could consume people for all eternity — and there is a great lacking of peace in people’s hearts. “The world needs mercy now more than ever,” Wisniewski said. “Mankind will not have peace until it turns with confidence to God’s mercy.” Bishop Malesic said Divine Mercy Sunday helps people to understand and receive the Lord’s forgiveness in their lives. “We all need to have his special love in this way,” the bishop said. And he encourages as many people as possible to come and celebrate this central belief of the Catholic faith. “Every person who is present will give a great witness to Jesus’ love for the world and also receive a special personal grace of knowing the Lord’s mercy for themselves,” Bishop Malesic said. DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY CELEBRATION SUNDAY, APRIL 23, 3 P.M. ST. CLAIR PARK, GREENSBURG An outdoor service and Eucharistic procession are planned.
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