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Divine Mercy Sunday

Today, Good Friday, we begin the Divine Mercy novena in anticipation of Divine Mercy Sunday next week. So, what exactly is Divine Mercy Sunday? Divine Mercy Sunday is just one aspect of the Divine Mercy devotion, which is based on private revelation made known to St. Maria Faustina Kowalska in the 1930s. Though it is not necessary for faithful Catholics to believe in private revelations, the Church has declared that St. Faustina's revelations are "worthy of belief," and devotion to the Divine Mercy has grown over many decades, especially since St. Faustina's canonization in 2000. 

St. Faustina's revelations are based on apparitions she received of Jesus. During these apparitions, Jesus asked her to make known to the world His desire to bestow His mercy generously on anyone who would ask for it. His urgency and generosity are apparent in many of his messages to St. Faustina:

“[Let] the greatest sinners place their trust in My mercy. They have the right before others to trust in the abyss of My mercy. My daughter, write about My mercy towards tormented souls. Souls that make an appeal to My mercy delight Me. To such souls I grant even more graces than they ask. I cannot punish even the greatest sinner if he makes an appeal to My compassion, but on the contrary, I justify him in My unfathomable and inscrutable mercy.” —St. Faustina's Diary 1146

“My daughter, write that the greater the misery of a soul, the greater its right to My mercy; [urge] all souls to trust in the unfathomable abyss of My mercy, because I want to save them all." St. Faustina's Diary 1182

"I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in My mercy." St. Faustina's Diary 687

“Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My Mercy.” — St. Faustina's Diary 300


The devotion that grew out of these apparitions has taken many forms.

1. Divine Mercy image. Jesus asked St. Faustina to have a painting done emphasizing His Divine Mercy, which resulted in the popular image at the top of this article (the original is actually slightly different, but has the same basic elements). Two rays emanate from His Heart; according to Jesus, "the pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous. The red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls," (Diary 299). At the bottom of every Divine Mercy image are the words, "Jesus, I Trust in You." Jesus promised an abundance of mercy to anyone who venerated the image.

2. Divine Mercy hour. Jesus called the three o'clock hour, which recalls His death, as "the hour of great mercy." He asked for everyone to meditate daily on His Passion at this hour.

3. Divine Mercy chaplet and novena. The Divine Mercy chaplet is said using rosary beads and reciting prayers given to St. Faustina. Jesus promised that "through the Chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will," (Diary 1731). He also said that the chaplet was especially effective at the time of death: "Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death (Diary 687). When they say this Chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge but as the Merciful Savior," (Diary 1541). Click here for a guide on how to pray the chaplet.

The novena is said for the nine days before Divine Mercy Sunday, starting on Good Friday. It is said using the chaplet, but praying for specific intentions each day: All mankind, especially sinners; the souls of priests and religious; all devout and faithful souls; those who do not believe in God and those who do not yet know Jesus; the souls who have separated themselves from the Church; the meek and humble souls and the souls of little children; the souls who especially venerate and glorify His mercy; the souls detained in purgatory; and souls who have become lukewarm.

4. Divine Mercy Sunday. Jesus asked for a special feast day in honor of His Divine Mercy to be celebrated the Sunday after Easter. This was officially added to the Church calendar in 2000, during Pope John Paul II's canonization of St. Faustina. Jesus promised incredible graces to those who prepared for and celebrated this feast. Specifically, He promised a "complete forgiveness of sins and punishment" (meaning purgatory time) to anyone who would go to Confession and receive Holy Communion in a state of grace on Divine Mercy Sunday. This extraordinary grace surpasses the grace even of a plenary indulgence, which requires the confessor to also be completely detached from both venial and mortal sin - not an easy task. Jesus so wants to give His mercy that he does not require this disposition on Divine Mercy Sunday. 


The Divine Mercy has brought solace to countless Catholics over the years. It is easy to focus on God as Judge, which can often conjure up fear (rightly so) in our hearts. But we must not forget that God is also love and mercy itself, and He so badly wants to give it us. This year, let's not pass up that opportunity!

Jesus, I Trust in You!


By Anna Neal

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