Katahdin area churches to mark Divine Mercy Sunday

Posted April 28, 2011, at 11:48 p.m.
Last modified April 29, 2011, at 10:12 p.m.

The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is recited using ordinary rosary beads of five decades. The Chaplet is preceded by two opening prayers from the Diary of Saint Faustina and followed by a closing prayer.

The opening prayers are:

“You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us.”

“O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of Mercy for us, I trust in You!”

The closing prayer is: “Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion — inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.”

EAST MILLINOCKET — Parishioners of St. Peter Catholic Church in East Millinocket and St. Martin Catholic Church of Millinocket will join together Sunday at St. Peter’s, 58 Cedar St., to mark Divine Mercy Sunday.

The churches make up the Parish of Christ the Divine Mercy.

Divine Mercy Sunday is marked each year on the Sunday after Easter and is dedicated to the devotion of Divine Mercy outlined by Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska in her diaries.

Divine Mercy is: “The love of God beyond what humankind deserves,” according to www.CatholicReference.net. “In one sense, every manifestation of God’s love is an expression of mercy, since, absolutely speaking, God is not obligated even to create. But more properly, mercy is the exercise of divine charity toward those who have sinned.”

Sister Faustina was a young, uneducated nun in a convent of the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Krakow, Poland, during the 1930s, according to information on the website for the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass. She came from a very poor family that struggled on their small farm during World War I.

Because Sister Faustina had just three years of formal education, she was assigned the humblest tasks at the convent, usually in the kitchen or garden, the website said. In 1931, Christ appeared to her in a series of visions.

“She saw Jesus clothed in a white garment with his right hand raised in blessing,” the shrine’s website said. “His left hand was touching his garment in the area of the heart, from where two large rays came forth, one red and the other pale. She gazed intently at the Lord in silence, her soul filled with awe, but also with great joy.”

Jesus told the nun that the image in her vision should be venerated, first in her chapel and, then, throughout the world. Later, Jesus told her that the rays depicted blood and water.

Sister Faustina recorded these experiences, which were published as “The Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska.” The words are considered to be God’s loving message of Divine Mercy, the website said.

Pope John Paul II, also a native of Poland, canonized her in 2000 as the “first saint of the new millennium,” and called her “the great apostle of Divine Mercy in our time.”

At the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, the following special prayer to her is included in the 3 p.m. prayers:

“Saint Faustina, You told us that your mission would continue after your death and that you would not forget us. Our Lord also granted you a great privilege, telling you to ‘distribute graces as you will, to who you will, and when you will.’

“Relying on this, we ask your intercession for the graces we need, especially for the intentions just mentioned. Help us, above all, to trust in Jesus as you did and thus to glorify His mercy every moment of our lives. Amen”

Parishioners from Millinocket and East Millinocket on Sunday will read aloud from the saint’s diaries and sing the Divine Mercy chaplet, which is additional opening and closing prayers said while saying the rosary.

“The idea behind the service is to remember Christ’s overflowing font of mercy,” said Brenda Watson, who attends St. Peter’s and helped plan the special service.

The event is not new to the parish, which has celebrated Divine Mercy Sunday for 15 years, several years before Sister Faustina became a saint, she said.

Activities at the church will begin at 4 p.m. with the special service scheduled for 6 p.m. A chicken stew supper will be served after the service. For information, call 746-8188.

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