Sunday, April 7, 2013

Divine Mercy Sunday, April 7, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog: Mercy, Psalms 118, Acts 5:12-16, John 20:19-31, Pope Francis Daily Homily - Have the Courage to Return to God, Feast of Divine Mercy, Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Catholic Catechism Part Two: THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH - Article 1:2:6 Sacrament of Baptism - The Necessity of Baptism

Divine Mercy Sunday,  April 7, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog:

Mercy, Psalms 118, Acts 5:12-16, John 20:19-31 , Pope Francis Daily Homily - Have the Courage to Return to God, Feast Day of Divine Mercy, History of Divine Mercy and Sister Faustina, Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, 2002 Papal Dedication of the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Poland, Catholic Catechism Part Two: THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH - Article 1:2:6 Sacrament of Baptism - The Necessity of Baptism

Good Day Bloggers!  Wishing everyone a Blessed Week!

Year of Faith - October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7.

The world begins and ends everyday for someone.  We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift of knowledge and free will, make the most of these gifts. Life on earth is a stepping stone to our eternal home in Heaven. Its your choice whether to rise towards eternal light or lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to Purgatory and/or Heaven is our Soul, our's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


Prayers for Today: Sunday in Easter


 Papam Franciscus
(Pope Francis)

Pope: Have the Courage to Return to God

(2013-04-07 Vatican Radio)
Pope Francis on Sunday celebrated Mass in the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, the Cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, during which he officially took possession of the Basilica.

Find below the full text of the Pope's homily:

It is with joy that I am celebrating the Eucharist for the first time in this Lateran Basilica, the Cathedral of the Bishop of Rome. I greet all of you with great affection: the very dear Cardinal Vicar, the auxiliary bishops, the diocesan presbyterate, the deacons, the men and women religious, and all the lay faithful. I offer my greetings, too, to the mayor and his wife, and to all the civil authorities. Together let us walk in the light of the risen Lord.

1. Today we are celebrating the Second Sunday of Easter, also known as “Divine Mercy Sunday”. What a beautiful truth of faith this is for our lives: the mercy of God! God’s love for us is so great, so deep; it is an unfailing love, one which always takes us by the hand and supports us, lifts us up and leads us on.

2. In today’s Gospel, the Apostle Thomas personally experiences this mercy of God, which has a concrete face, the face of Jesus, the risen Jesus. Thomas does not believe it when the other Apostles tell him: “We have seen the Lord”. It isn’t enough for him that Jesus had foretold it, promised it: “On the third day I will rise”. He wants to see, he wants to put his hand in the place of the nails and in Jesus’ side. And how does Jesus react? With patience: Jesus does not abandon Thomas in his stubborn unbelief; he gives him a week’s time, he does not close the door, he waits. And Thomas acknowledges his own poverty, his little faith. “My Lord and my God!”: with this simple yet faith-filled invocation, he responds to Jesus’ patience. He lets himself be enveloped by divine mercy; he sees it before his eyes, in the wounds of Christ’s hands and feet and in his open side, and he discovers trust: he is a new man, no longer an unbeliever, but a believer.

Let us also remember Peter: three times he denied Jesus, precisely when he should have been closest to him; and when he hits bottom he meets the gaze of Jesus who patiently, wordlessly, says to him: “Peter, don’t be afraid of your weakness, trust in me”. Peter understands, he feels the loving gaze of Jesus, and he weeps. How beautiful is this gaze of Jesus – how much tenderness is there! Brothers and sisters, let us never lose trust in the patience and mercy of God!

Let us think too of the two disciples on the way to Emmaus: their sad faces, their barren journey, their despair. But Jesus does not abandon them: he walks beside them, and not only that! Patiently he explains the Scriptures which spoke of him, and he stays to share a meal with them. This is God’s way of doing things: he is not impatient like us, who often want everything all at once, even in our dealings with other people. God is patient with us because he loves us, and those who love are able to understand, to hope, to inspire confidence; they do not give up, they do not burn bridges, they are able to forgive. Let us remember this in our lives as Christians: God always waits for us, even when we have left him behind! He is never far from us, and if we return to him, he is ready to embrace us.

I am always struck when I reread the parable of the merciful Father; it impresses me because it always gives me great hope. Think of that younger son who was in the Father’s house, who was loved; and yet he wants his part of the inheritance; he goes off, spends everything, hits rock bottom, where he could not be more distant from the Father, yet when he is at his lowest, he misses the warmth of the Father’s house and he goes back. And the Father? Had he forgotten the son? No, never. He is there, he sees the son from afar, he was waiting for him every hour of every day, the son was always in his father’s heart, even though he had left him, even though he had squandered his whole inheritance, his freedom. The Father, with patience, love, hope and mercy, had never for a second stopped thinking about him, and as soon as he sees him still far off, he runs out to meet him and embraces him with tenderness, the tenderness of God, without a word of reproach: he is back! And that is the joy of the Father. In that embrace of the son there is all of this joy: he is back! God is always waiting for us, he never grows tired. Jesus shows us this merciful patience of God so that we can regain confidence, hope – always! A great German theologian, Romano Guardini, said that God responds to our weakness by his patience, and this is the reason for our confidence, our hope (cf. Glaubenserkenntnis, Würzburg, 1949, p. 28). It is like a dialogue between our weakness and the patience of God, a dialogue that, if we will engage in it, gives us hope.

3. I would like to emphasize one other thing: God’s patience has to call forth in us the courage to return to him, however many mistakes and sins there may be in our life. Jesus tells Thomas to put his hand in the wounds of his hands and his feet, and in his side. We too can enter into the wounds of Jesus, we can actually touch him. This happens every time that we receive the sacraments with faith. Saint Bernard, in a fine homily, says: “Through the wounds of Jesus I can suck honey from the rock and oil from the flinty rock (cf. Deut 32:13), I can taste and see the goodness of the Lord” (On the Song of Songs, 61:4). It is there, in the wounds of Jesus, that we are truly secure; there we encounter the boundless love of his heart. Thomas understood this. Saint Bernard goes on to ask: What can I count on? On my own merits? No, “My merit is God’s mercy. I am by no means lacking merits as long as he is rich in mercy. If the mercies of the Lord are manifold, I too will abound in merits” (ibid., 5). This is important: the courage to trust in Jesus’ mercy, to trust in his patience, to seek refuge always in the wounds of his love. Saint Bernard even states: “So what if my conscience gnaws at me for my many sins? ‘Where sin has abounded, there grace has abounded all the more’ (Rom 5:20)” (ibid.). But some of us may think: my sin is so great, I am as far from God as the younger son in the parable, my unbelief is like that of Thomas; I don’t have the courage to go back, to believe that God can welcome me and that he is waiting for me, of all people. But God is indeed waiting for you; he asks of you only the courage to go to him. How many times in my pastoral ministry have I heard it said: “Father, I have many sins”; and I have always pleaded: “Don’t be afraid, go to him, he is waiting for you, he will take care of everything”. We hear many offers from the world around us; but let us take up God’s offer instead: his is a caress of love. For God, we are not numbers, we are important, indeed we are the most important thing to him; even if we are sinners, we are what is closest to his heart.

Adam, after his sin, experiences shame, he feels naked, he senses the weight of what he has done; and yet God does not abandon him: if that moment of sin marks the beginning of his exile from God, there is already a promise of return, a possibility of return. God immediately asks: “Adam, where are you?” He seeks him out. Jesus took on our nakedness, he took upon himself the shame of Adam, the nakedness of his sin, in order to wash away our sin: by his wounds we have been healed. Remember what Saint Paul says: “What shall I boast of, if not my weakness, my poverty? Precisely in feeling my sinfulness, in looking at my sins, I can see and encounter God’s mercy, his love, and go to him to receive forgiveness.

In my own life, I have so often seen God’s merciful countenance, his patience; I have also seen so many people find the courage to enter the wounds of Jesus by saying to him: Lord, I am here, accept my poverty, hide my sin in your wounds, wash it away with your blood. And I have always seen that God did just this – he accepted them, consoled them, cleansed them, loved them.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us be enveloped by the mercy of God; let us trust in his patience, which always gives us more time. Let us find the courage to return to his house, to dwell in his loving wounds, allowing ourselves be loved by him and to encounter his mercy in the sacraments. We will feel his tenderness, so beautiful, we will feel his embrace, and we too will become more capable of mercy, patience, forgiveness and love.

After the Mass, from the Loggia of the Archbasilica, the Holy Father greeted the faithful gathered outside the church, and offered them his blessing:

Brothers and sisters,

Buona sera! I thank you so much for your company in today's Mass. Thank you so much! I ask you to pray for me. I need it. Don't forget this. Thanks to all of you! And let us all go forward together, the people and the Bishop, all together, going forward always in the joy of the Resurrection of Jesus. He is always at our side.

May God bless you!
(He blessed the people.)
Many thanks! See you soon!


Pope Francis: Do Not be Afraid to go Forth and Announce the Risen Christ

(2013-04-07 Vatican Radio)
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday urged the faithful to be courageous in proclaiming their faith.

Speaking to crowds of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Regina Coeli prayer, the Pope highlighted the fact that the eighth Sunday of Easter is also Divine Mercy Sunday, and he renewed his Easter greetings with the words of the Risen Christ: Peace be with you. These words – he said – are not a simple greeting: they are a gift – the precious gift that Christ offered to his disciples after he rose from the dead.

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you…” And the Pope said "this peace is the fruit of the victory of God’s love over evil, it’s the fruit of forgiveness". And he said this is the true peace that comes from having experienced God’s mercy.And speaking of the peace Jesus gave to the Apostles so that they could spread it in the world the Pope said we too must have the courage to be witnesses of the faith in the Risen Christ. We must not be afraid – he said – to be Christians and to live as Christians.

Pope Francis urged those listening to have the courage to go forth and to announce the Risen Christ because He is our peace, He made peace possible with his love and his forgiveness, with his blood and with his mercy.And Pope Francis concluded his address announcing he would be celebrating Mass in the afternoon in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the Cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, and he invited those present to pray for the bishop and for the people of Rome in their journey of faith and charity.


  • Vatican News. From the Pope. © Copyright 2013 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Accessed 04/07/2013.


Message, April 2, 2013 Our Lady of Medjugorje Message to the World:"Dear children, I am calling you to be one with my Son in spirit. I am calling you, through prayer, and the Holy Mass when my Son unites Himself with you in a special way, to try to be like Him; that, like Him, you may always be ready to carry out God's will and not seek the fulfillment of your own. Because, my children, it is according to God's will that you are and that you exist, and without God's will you are nothing. As a mother I am asking you to speak about the glory of God with your life because, in that way, you will also glorify yourself in accordance to His will. Show humility and love for your neighbour to everyone. Through such humility and love, my Son saved you and opened the way for you to the Heavenly Father. I implore you to keep opening the way to the Heavenly Father for all those who have not come to know Him and have not opened their hearts to His love. By your life, open the way to all those who still wander in search of the truth. My children, be my apostles who have not lived in vain. Do not forget that you will come before the Heavenly Father and tell Him about yourself. Be ready! Again I am warning you, pray for those whom my Son called, whose hands He blessed and whom He gave as a gift to you. Pray, pray, pray for your shepherds. Thank you." 

Message, 25. March 2013 Our Lady of Medjugorje Message to the World:
“Dear children! In this time of grace I call you to take the cross of my beloved Son Jesus in your hands and to meditate on His passion and death. May your suffering be united in His suffering and love will win, because He who is love gave Himself out of love to save each of you. Pray, pray, pray until love and peace begin to reign in your hearts. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

March 18 2013 Message to the World via Annual Apparition to Mirjana:
"Dear children! I call you to, with complete trust and joy, bless the name of the Lord and, day by day, to give Him thanks from the heart for His great love. My Son, through that love which He showed by the Cross, gave you the possibility to be forgiven for everything; so that you do not have to be ashamed or to hide, and out of fear not to open the door of your heart to my Son. To the contrary, my children, reconcile with the Heavenly Father so that you may be able to come to love yourselves as my Son loves you. When you come to love yourselves, you will also love others; in them you will see my Son and recognize the greatness of His love. Live in faith! Through me, my Son is preparing you for the works which He desires to do through you – works through which He desires to be glorified. Give Him thanks. Especially thank Him for the shepherds - for your intercessors in the reconciliation with the Heavenly Father. I am thanking you, my children. Thank you."


Today's Word:  mercy  mer·cy  [mur-see]  

Origin: 1125–75; Middle English merci  < Old French,  earlier mercit  < Latin mercēd-  (stem of mercēs ) wages ( Late Latin, Medieval Latin:  heavenly reward), derivative of merx  goods

noun, plural mer·cies for 4, 5.
1.  compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one's power; compassion, pity, or benevolence: Have mercy on the poor sinner.
2.  the disposition to be compassionate or forbearing: an adversary wholly without mercy.
3.  the discretionary power of a judge to pardon someone or to mitigate punishment, especially to send to prison rather than invoke the death penalty.
4.  an act of kindness, compassion, or favor: She has performed countless small mercies for her friends and neighbors.
5.  something that gives evidence of divine favor; blessing: It was just a mercy we had our seat belts on when it happened.


Today's Old Testament Reading -   Psalms 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24

2 Let the House of Israel say, 'His faithful love endures for ever.'
3 Let the House of Aaron say, 'His faithful love endures for ever.'
4 Let those who fear Yahweh say, 'His faithful love endures for ever.'
13 I was pushed hard, to make me fall, but Yahweh came to my help.
14 Yahweh is my strength and my song, he has been my Saviour.
15 Shouts of joy and salvation, in the tents of the upright, 'Yahweh's right hand is triumphant,
22 The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;
23 This is Yahweh's doing, and we marvel at it.
24 This is the day which Yahweh has made, a day for us to rejoice and be glad.


Today's Epistle -  Acts 5:12-16

12 The apostles worked many signs and miracles among the people. One in heart, they all used to meet in the Portico of Solomon.
13 No one else dared to join them, but the people were loud in their praise
14 and the numbers of men and women who came to believe in the Lord increased steadily. Many signs and wonders were worked among the people at the hands of the apostles
15 so that the sick were even taken out into the streets and laid on beds and sleeping-mats in the hope that at least the shadow of Peter might fall across some of them as he went past.
16 People even came crowding in from the towns round about Jerusalem, bringing with them their sick and those tormented by unclean spirits, and all of them were cured.


Today's Gospel Reading - John 20:19-31

The mission of the disciples and
the witness of Thomas the apostle
John 20:19-31

1. Opening prayer

Father, who on the Lord’s day gather your people to celebrate the One who is the First and the Last, the living One who conquered death, grant us the strength of your Spirit so that, having broken the chains of evil, calmed our fears and indecisions, we may render the free service of our obedience and love, to reign in glory with Christ.

a) A key to the reading:
We are in the so-called “book of the resurrection” where we are told, in a not-so-logical sequence, several matters concerning the risen Christ and the facts that prove it. In the fourth Gospel, these facts take place in the morning (20:1-18) and evening of the first day after the Saturday and eight days later, in the same place and on the same day of the week. We are before an event that is the most important in the history of humanity, an event that challenges us personally. “If Christ has not been raised then our preaching is useless and your believing it is useless… and you are still in your sins” (1Cor 15:14,17) says Paul the apostle who had not known Jesus before his resurrection, but who zealously preached him all his life. Jesus is the sent of the Father. He also sends us. Our willingness to “go” comes from the depth of the faith we have in the Risen One. Are we prepared to accept his “mandate” and to give our lives for his Kingdom? This passage is not just about the faith of those who have not seen (the witness of Thomas), but also about the mission entrusted to the Church by Christ.

b) A suggested division of the text to facilitate its reading:
John 20:19-20: appearance to the disciples and showing of the wounds
John 20:21-23: gift of the Spirit for the mission
John 20:24-26: special appearance to Thomas eight days later
John 20:27-29: dialogue with Thomas
John 20:30-31: the aim of the Gospel according to John

c) The text:  John 20:19-31
19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you." 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe." 26 Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut,  but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, "Peace be with you." 27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing." 28 Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" 29 Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe." 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.

3. A moment of silence to allow the Word to enter into our hearts


a) A few questions to help in our meditation:
Who or what drew my interest and wonder in the reading? Is it possible for someone to profess being Christian and yet not believe in the Resurrection of Jesus? Is it so important to believe in the resurrection? What would be different if we stopped at his teaching and witness of life? What does the gift of the Spirit for the mission mean to me? How does Jesus’ mission in the world continue after the Resurrection? What is the content of the missionary proclamation? What value has Thomas’ witness for me? What are, if any, my doubts concerning the faith? How do I meet them and still carry on? Am I able to give reasons for my faith?

b) Comment:
In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week: the disciples are living through an extraordinary day. For the community, at the time of the writing of the fourth Gospel, the day after the Sabbath is already “the Lord’s day” (Ap 1:10), Dies Domini (Sunday) and is more important than the Sabbath was in the tradition of the Jews.

The doors were closed: a detail which shows that the body of the risen Jesus, even though recognisable, is not subject to the ordinary laws of human life.

Peace be with you: this is not just a wish, but the actual peace promised to them when they were saddened by his departure (Jn 14:27; 2Thes 3:16; Rom 5:3), the messianic peace, the fulfilment of the promises made by God, freedom from all fear, victory over sin and death, reconciliation with God, fruit of his passion, free gift of God. This peace is repeated three times in this passage as well as in the introduction (20:19) further on (20:26) in the exact same way.

He showed them his hands and his side: Jesus provides evident and tangible proof that he is the one who was crucified. Only John records the detail of the wound in the side caused by the spear of a Roman soldier, whereas Luke mentions the wound of the feet (Lk 24:39). In showing his wounds, Jesus wants to say that the peace he gives comes from the cross (2Tim 2:1-13). They are part of his identity as the risen One (Ap 5:6).

The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord: This is the same joy expressed by the prophet Isaiah when he describes the divine banquet (Is 25:8-9), the eschatological joy foreshadowed in the farewell speech and that no one can take away (Jn 16:22; 20:27). Cfr. also Lk 24:39-40; Mt 28:8; Lk 24:41.

As the Father sent me, so am I sending you: Jesus is the first missionary, “the apostle and high priest of the faith we profess” (Ap 3:1). After the experience of the cross and the resurrection, Jesus’ prayer to the Father comes true (Jn 13:20; 17:18; 21:15,17). This is not a new mission, but the mission of Jesus extended to those who are his disciples, bound to him like branches are bound to the vine (15:9), so also they are bound to his Church (Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:15-18; Lk 24:47-49). The eternal Son of God was sent so that “the world might be saved through him” (Jn 3:17) and the whole of his earthly existence, fully identified with the saving will of the Father, is a constant manifestation of that divine will that all may be saved. He leaves as an inheritance this historical project to the whole Church and, especially to ordained ministers within that Church.

He breathed on them: this action recalling the life-giving breath of God on man (Gen 2:7), does not occur anywhere else in the New Testament. It marks the beginning of a new creation.

Receive the Holy Spirit: after Jesus was glorified, the Holy Spirit was bestowed (Jn 7:39). Here the Spirit is transmitted for a special mission, whereas at Pentecost (Acts 2) the Holy Spirit comes down on the whole people of God.

For those whose sins you forgive they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained: we find the power to forgive or not forgive sins also in Matthew in a more juridical form (Mt 16:19; 18:18). According to the Scribes and Pharisees (Mk 2:7), and according to tradition (Is 43:25), God has the power to forgive sins. Jesus gives this power (Lk 5:24) and passes it on to his Church. In our meditation, it is better not to dwell on this text’s theological development in church tradition and the consequent theological controversies. In the fourth Gospel the expression may be taken in a wide sense. Here it is a matter of the power of forgiving sins in the Church as salvation community and those especially endowed with this power are those who share in the apostolic charism by succession and mission. In this general power is included the power to forgive sins also after baptism, what we call “the sacrament of reconciliation” expressed in various forms throughout the history of the Church.

Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve: Thomas is one of the main characters of the fourth Gospel and his doubting character, easily discouraged, is emphasised (11:16; 14:5). “One of the twelve” is by now a stereotyped expression (6:71), because in fact they were only eleven. “Didimus” means “the Twin”, and we could be his “twins” through our difficulty in believing in Jesus, Son of God who died and rose again.

We have seen the Lord! When Andrew, John and Philip had found the Messiah, they had already run to announce the news to others (Jn 1:41-45). Now there is the official proclamation by eye-witnesses (Jn 20:18).

Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe: Thomas cannot believe the eye-witnesses. He wants to experience the event himself. The fourth Gospel is aware of the difficulty that some may have in believing in the Resurrection (Lk 24; 34-40; MK 16:11; 1Cor 15:5-8), especially those who have not seen the risen One. Thomas is their (and our) interpreter. He is willing to believe, but he wants to resolve personally any doubt, for fear of being wrong. Jesus does not see in Thomas an indifferent sceptic, but a man in search of truth and satisfies him fully. This is, however, an occasion to express an appreciation of future believers (verse 29).

Put your finger here, look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe! Jesus repeats the words of Thomas and enters into a dialogue with him. He understands Thomas’ doubts and wishes to help him. Jesus knows that Thomas loves him and therefore has compassion for him because Thomas does not yet enjoy the peace that comes from faith. Jesus helps him to grow in faith. In order to enter deeper into this theme, see the parallels in: 1Jn 1-2; Ps 78:38; 103:13-14; Rom 5:20; 1Tim 1:14-16.

My Lord and my God! This is a profession of faith in the risen One and in his divinity as is also proclaimed in the beginning of John’s Gospel (1:1). In the Old Testament “Lord” and “God” correspond respectively to “Yahweh” and “Elohim” (Ps 35:23-24; Ap 4:11). It is the fullest and most direct paschal profession of faith in the divinity of Jesus. In Jewish circles these terms had greater value because they applied to Jesus texts concerning God. Jesus does not correct the words of Thomas as he corrected the words of the Jews who accused him of wanting to be “equal to God” (Jn 5:18ff) thus approving the acknowledgement of his divinity.
You believe because you can see me. Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe! Jesus cannot stand those who look for signs and miracles in order to believe (Jn 4:48) and he seems to take Thomas to task. Here we must remember another passage concerning a more authentic faith, a “way of perfection” towards a faith to which we must aspire without the demands of Thomas, a faith received as gift and as an act of trust, like the exemplary faith of our ancestors (Ap 11) and of Mary (Lk 1:45). We, who are two thousand years after the coming of Jesus, are told that, although we have not seen him, yet we can love him and believing in him we can exult with “an indescribable and glorious joy” (1Pt 1:8).

These (signs) are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing this you may have life through his name. The fourth Gospel, like the other Gospels, does not mean to write a complete biography of Jesus, but only to show that Jesus was the Christ, the awaited Messiah, the Liberator, and that he was the Son of God. Believing in him means that we possess eternal life. If Jesus is not God, then our faith is in vain!

Psalm 118 (117)
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his steadfast love endures for ever!
Let Israel say,
"His steadfast love endures for ever."
Let the house of Aaron say,
"His steadfast love endures for ever."
Let those who fear the LORD say,
"His steadfast love endures for ever."
I was pushed hard, so that I was falling,
but the Lord helped me.
The Lord is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.
Hark, glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous.
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the head of the corner.
This is the Lord's doing;
it is marvellous in our eyes.
This is the day which the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Save us, we beseech thee, O Lord! O Lord,
we beseech thee, give us success!

Closing prayer
I thank you Jesus, my Lord and my God, that you have loved me and called me, made me worthy to be your disciple, that you have given me the Spirit, the One sent to proclaim and witness to your resurrection, to the mercy of the Father, to salvation and pardon for all men and women in the world. You truly are the way, the truth and the life, the dawn without a setting, the sun of justice and peace. Grant that I may dwell in your love, bound to you like a branch to its vine. Grant me your peace so that I may overcome my weaknesses, face my doubts and respond to your call and live fully the mission you entrusted to me, praising you forever. You who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  Feast of Divine Mercy Sunday

Feast DayFirst Sunday after Easter

Patron Saint:  n/a
Attributes:  n/a

Divine Mercy Sunday is a Roman Catholic solemnity celebrated on the Sunday after Easter, the Octave of Easter. It is originally based on the Catholic devotion to the Divine Mercy that Saint Faustina Kowalska reported as part of her encounter with Jesus, and is associated with special promises from Jesus and indulgences issued by the Church.

This feast of Divine Mercy, as recorded in the diary of Saint Faustina, receives from Jesus himself the biggest promises of Grace related to the Devotion of Divine Mercy.

In specific Jesus states that the soul that goes to Sacramental Confession (the confession may take place some days before), and receives Holy Eucharistic Communion on that day, shall obtain the total forgiveness of all sins and punishment.

Additionally, the Roman Catholic Church grants a plenary indulgence (observing the usual rules) with the recitation of some simple prayers.[3][4][5]

Devotion to the Divine Mercy

Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun reported visions and visitations from Jesus and conversations with Him. He asked her to paint the vision of his Merciful Divinity being poured from his sacred heart and specifically asked for a feast of Divine Mercy to be established on the first Sunday after Easter so mankind would take refuge in Him:[6][7]

“I want the image solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter, and I want it to be venerated publicly so that every soul may know about it.” (Jesus' words, Diary 341)

"Sunday, April 28, 1935. Low Sunday; that is, the Feast of The Divine Mercy, the conclusion of the Jubilee of Redemption. When we went to take part in the celebrations, my heart leapt with joy that the two solemnities were so closely united." (Faustina's words, Diary 420)

“This Feast emerged from the very depths of My mercy, and it is confirmed in the vast depths of my tender mercies. Every soul believing and trusting in My mercy will obtain it.” (Jesus' words, Diary 420)

"Yes, the first Sunday after Easter is the Feast of Mercy, but there must also be deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to our neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to absolve yourself from it." (Diary 742)

In several entries in her diary, Faustina recorded promises of Grace and Mercy associated to the Feast of Divine Mercy on Mercy Sunday. Jesus Stated:[8]

"The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain the complete forgiveness of sins and punishment.”(Diary 699)

“I want to grant a complete pardon to the souls that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My Mercy.”(Diary 1109)

On March 23, 1937, Faustina wrote in her diary (Notebook III, item 1044) that she had a vision that the feast of Divine Mercy would be celebrated in her local chapel, and would be attended by large crowds, and that the same celebration would be held in Rome attended by the Pope.[3][5] She wrote: “The crowd was so enormous that the eye could not take it all in. Everyone was participating in the celebrations.“[3]

Divine Mercy Sunday is also the day after the culmination of the novena of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.[9] Faustina wrote Jesus instructed her that the Feast of Mercy (the Sunday after Easter) be preceded by a Divine Mercy Novena which would begin on Good Friday.[9]

The first Mass during which the Divine Mercy image was displayed was on April 28, 1935, the first Sunday after Easter (the Feast of Divine Mercy) and was attended by Sr. Faustina. (Diary of St. Faustina, item 420).[10] April 28, 1935 was also the celebration of the end of the Jubilee of the Redemption by Pope Pius XI.[10][11] Father Michael Sopocko (Faustina's confessor) celebrated the Mass that Sunday and obtained permission to place the image within the Gate of Dawn church in Vilnius during the Mass.[10][12]

Vatican approval

The first Divine Mercy painting by Kazimierowski (1934) at the Divine Mercy Sanctuary (Vilnius)
The devotion was actively promoted by Pope John Paul II who, On 30 April 2000, canonized Faustina Kowalska, and officially designated the Sunday after Easter as the Sunday of the Divine Mercy (Dominica II Paschae seu de divina misericordia) in the General Roman Calendar.[13][14] A year after establishing Divine Mercy Sunday, on April 22, 2001 Pope John Paul II re-emphasized its message in the resurrection context of Easter:
Jesus said to Sr Faustina one day: "Humanity will never find peace until it turns with trust to Divine Mercy". Divine Mercy! This is the Easter gift that the Church receives from the risen Christ and offers to humanity.[15]
The devotion to Divine Mercy Sunday grew rapidly after its designation by Pope John Paul II and is now widely celebrated by Catholics.[16] The Divine Mercy image is often carried in processions on Divine Mercy Sunday, and is placed in a location in the church so that it can be venerated by those who attended the Mass.[16]

The liturgical celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday reflects the devotional elements of Divine Mercy - the first prayer of that Mass beginning with:
"Heavenly Father and God of Mercy, We no longer look for Jesus among the dead, for He is alive and has become the Lord of Life".[17]
This opening prayer refers to Divine Mercy as the key element in the plan of God for salvation and emphasizes the belief that it was through mercy that God gave his only son for the redemption of mankind, after the fall of Adam.[17]

John Paul II, who died in April 2005 on the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday, was himself beatified on Divine Mercy Sunday, May 1, 2011, by his successor, Pope Benedict XVI.[18]

Plenary Indulgence

In June 2002 John Paul II granted indulgences to Catholics who recite specific prayers on that day, which were then formally decreed by the Apostolic Penitentiary.[4] The priests are also ordered in that day to lead the prayers in honor of Divine Mercy, inform the parishioners about the Divine Mercy, and hear confessions.[4]


This Plenary Indulgence is obtained by observing the usual dispositions that are on place for the granting of this grace through the Intercession of the Catholic Church, that is: Sacramental Confession (the confession may take place some days before), Holy Eucharistic Communion, to pray for the intentions of the pope (an Our Father and Hail Mary is minimum requirement), when the faithful detached from any sin, even venial, either:
  • - In any church or chapel take part in the prayers and devotions in honor of the Divine Mercy.
  • - In the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, say an Our Father and Creed.
In both cases adding a devout prayer to the Merciful Lord (i.e. Merciful Jesus, I Trust in you)

Special dispositions

Additionally, to the faithful who, for a justified reason beyond control, cannot go to a church or chapel, only with the recitation of one Our Father and Creed before a devout image of Jesus, adding "Merciful Jesus, I Trust in you", they will obtain the plenary indulgence that day with the condition of fulfilling the usual sacramental requirements later.

And even if the above is impossible to do, the Indulgence is granted if with spiritual intention they unite themselves to the ones carrying on the prescribed practices with the intention of fulfilling the requirements as soon as it is possible.

Further reading

  • Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul by Faustina Kowalska 2003 ISBN 1-59614-110-7
  • Pope Benedict's Divine Mercy Mandate by David Came 2009 ISBN 978-1-59614-203-9


  1. ^ CNS News May 2, 2011
  2. ^ Daily Telegraph May 1, 2011
  3. ^ Saints of the Jubilee by Tim Drake 2002 ISBN 978-1-4033-1009-5 pages 85-95
  4. ^ Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary on Divine Mercy Indulgences 29 June 2002 at the Vatican web site
  5. ^Ann Ball, 2003 Encyclopedia of Catholic Devotions and Practices ISBN 0-87973-910-X pages 174-175
  6. ^ Tim Drake, 2002, Saints of the Jubilee, ISBN 978-1-4033-1009-5 pages 89-90
  7. ^ Faustina: The Apostle of Divine Mercy by Catherine M. Odell 1998 ISBN 0-87973-923-1 page 66
  8. ^
  9. ^ EWTN on the Divine Mercy Novena
  10. ^ Faustina: The Apostle of Divine Mercy by Catherine M. Odell 1998 ISBN 0-87973-923-1 pages 102-103
  11. ^ Miravalle, Mark Introduction to Mary 1993, ISBN 978-1-882972-06-7, page 122
  12. ^ A Divine Mercy Resource by Richard Torretto 2010 ISBN 1-4502-3236-1 page 16
  13. ^ A Divine Mercy Resource by Richard Torretto 2010 ISBN 1-4502-3236-1 pages 188-190
  14. ^ Vatican website: Canonization of St. Faustina Kowalska, April 30, 2000
  15. ^ Divine Mercy Sunday Homily, April 22, 2001, Vatican website
  16. ^'Sourcebook for Sundays, Seasons, and Weekdays 2011: The Almanac for Pastoral Liturgy by Corinna Laughlin 2010 ISBN 1-56854-871-0 page 195
  17. ^ A Divine Mercy Resource by Richard Torretto 2010 ISBN 1-4502-3236-1 pages 58-59
  18. ^ "Pope paves way to beatification of John Paul II". January 14, 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-14.


Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane



Today's Snippet I:  History of Divine Mercy

The Divine Mercy is a Roman Catholic devotion to the merciful love of God and the desire to let that love and mercy flow through one's own heart towards those in need of it.[3] The devotion is due to the apparitions of Jesus received by Saint Mary Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938), who is known as the Apostle of Mercy.[4][5]

Faustina Kowalska reported a number of apparitions, visions and conversations with Jesus which she wrote in her diary, later published as the book Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul.[4][5] The three main themes of the devotion are to ask for and obtain the mercy of God, to trust in Christ's abundant mercy, and finally to show mercy to others and act as a conduit for God's mercy towards them.[4][6]

The devotion places emphasis on the veneration of the Divine Mercy image which Faustina reported as a vision of Jesus while she was in her cell in the convent.[5] The image is displayed and venerated by Catholics on its own, and is solemnly blessed during Divine Mercy Sunday.[7] The devotion includes specific prayers such as the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

The Divine Mercy devotion is followed by over 100 million Catholics,[8] and is also recognised and celebrated in the Anglican Communion.[9]

The Devotion

Faustina's chapel at her resting place, the Basilica of Divine Mercy in Krakow, Łagiewniki.
Proclaim that mercy is the greatest attribute of God.
— Words attributed to Jesus by Faustina in her diary.[10][11]

The primary focus of the Divine Mercy devotion is the merciful love of God and the desire to let that love and mercy flow through one's own heart towards those in need of it.[3] As he dedicated the Shrine of Divine Mercy, Pope John Paul II referred to this when he said: "Apart from the mercy of God there is no other source of hope for mankind".[12]

As in the prayers that form the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, there are three main themes to the Divine Mercy devotion: to ask for and obtain the mercy of God, to trust in Christ's abundant mercy, and finally to show mercy to others and act as a conduit for God's mercy towards them.[4][6]

The first and second elements relate to the signature "Jesus I trust in You" on the Divine Mercy image and Faustina stated that on April 28, 1935, the day the first Divine Mercy Sunday was celebrated, Jesus told her: "Every soul believing and trusting in My Mercy will obtain it".[13]

The third component is reflected in the statement "Call upon My mercy on behalf of sinners" attributed to Jesus in Faustina's diary (Notebook I, items 186-187).[14] This statement is followed in the diary by a specific short prayer: "O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of Mercy for us, I trust in You." which Faustina also recommended for the Hour of Divine Mercy.[14][15] In her diary (Notebook II, item 742) Faustina wrote that Jesus told her: "I demand from you deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me." and that he explained that there are three ways of exercising mercy toward your neighbor: the first-by deed, the second-by word, the third-by prayer.[10]

The Divine Mercy devotion views mercy as the key element in the plan of God for salvation and emphasizes the belief that it was through mercy that God gave his only son for the redemption of mankind, after the fall of Adam.[16] The opening prayer for Divine Mercy Sunday Mass refers to this and begins: "Heavenly Father and God of Mercy, We no longer look for Jesus among the dead, for He is alive and has become the Lord of Life".[16]

The Image

"Paint an image according to the pattern you see with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You… I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish."[17]
The chaplet is associated with the paintings of the image as in Faustina's diary. The most widely used is a Polish image painted by Adolf Hyla. Hyla painted the image in thanksgiving for having survived World War II.

In the image, Jesus stands with one hand outstretched in blessing, the other clutching the side wounded by the spear, from which proceed beams of falling light, red and white in colour. An explanation of these colors was given to Saint Faustina by Jesus himself saying, "The two rays represent blood and water."[18] These colors of the rays refer to the "blood and water" referenced in the Gospel of John, (John 19:34) and which is also mentioned in the optional prayer of the Chaplet. The words “Jesus I Trust in Thee” usually accompany the image, (“Jezu Ufam Tobie” in Polish).

The original Divine Mercy image was painted by Eugene Kazimierowski in Vilnius, Lithuania under St. Faustina's direction. However, according to her diary, she cried upon seeing that the finished picture was not as beautiful as the vision she had received, but Jesus comforted her saying, "Not in the beauty of the colour, nor of the brush is the greatness of this image, but in My grace."[17] The picture was widely used during the early years of the devotion, and is still in circulation within the movement, but the Hyla image remains one of the most reproduced renderings.[5]

Chaplet and novena

Novice Divine Mercy nuns in Vilnius, in front of the church of Gate of Dawn where the first Divine Mercy Sunday Mass was held in 1935.
Though the origins of the chaplet and its use of rosary beads are distinctly Catholic in nature, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy can be said by non - Roman Catholics as well. Rosary beads are, indeed, used to say the prayer.

As a complement to the Divine Mercy Chaplet, a prayer can be said at 3p.m. This is the hour of Jesus' death as he died in the ninth hour.
"Jesus who died but the source of life flowed out for souls and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O fount of life, immeasurable Divine Mercy,cover the whole world and empty yourself out upon us. O blood and water which flowed out as a fountain of mercy for us, I trust in you. Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, Have mercy on us and on the whole world (repeat thrice) Jesus, King of mercy, I trust in you!"
The Chaplet may be said alone or as part of a Novena. Faustina wrote that in her visions Jesus instructed her that the Feast of the Divine Mercy (the Sunday after Easter) be preceded by a Divine Mercy Novena which would begin on Good Friday and conclude on Divine Mercy Sunday.[19]

Hour of Divine Mercy

In her diary Faustina wrote that Jesus specified three o'clock each afternoon as the hour at which mercy was best received, and asked her to pray the Chaplet of Mercy and venerate the Divine Mercy image at that hour.[20][21] On October 10, 1937, in her diary (Notebook V, item 1320) Faustina attributed the following statement to Jesus:
As often as you hear the clock strike the third hour immerse yourself completely in My mercy, adoring and glorifying it, invoke its omnipotence for the whole world, and particularly for poor sinners, for at that moment mercy was opened wide for every soul. [22]
Three o'clock in the afternoon corresponds to the hour at which Jesus died on the cross.[21] This hour is called the "hour of Divine Mercy" or the "hour of great mercy".[20]

Divine Mercy Sunday

The feast of Divine Mercy Sunday was instituted by Pope John Paul II and is celebrated the Sunday after Easter on the General Roman Calendar, and is associated with specific indulgences.[4][7][23]

In an entry in her diary, Faustina stated that anyone who participates in the Mass and receives the sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist on this day is assured by Jesus of full remission of their sins and punishments.[7][19]

Churches and shrines

Interior of the sanctuary of the Fathers of Mercy
A number of Marian churches and shrines have been dedicated to Divine Mercy.

The Divine Mercy Sanctuary in Kraków, Poland is a Roman Catholic basilica dedicated to the Divine Mercy devotion, as the resting place of Saint Faustina Kowalska, canonized on April 30, 2000. The new basilica was built between 1999–2002, and is located in the District of Łagiewniki at ul. św. Faustyny street. Two Popes have visited the shrine and millions of pilgrims from around the world continue to visit it every year.

The Divine Mercy Sanctuary in Vilnius, Lithuania (Lithuanian: Vilniaus Dievo Gailestingumo šventovė) is a Roman Catholic shrine dedicated to the Divine Mercy devotion, originated by Saint Faustina Kowalska.

The 50 foot Divine Mercy Christ statue at the Divine Mercy Shrine (Misamis Oriental), Mindanao, Philippines.
The Divine Mercy Shrine in El Salvador City Misamis Oriental, Philippines is located in Divine Mercy Hills, overlooking Macajalar Bay on the Mindanao island, southern part of the Philippines. The nine-hectare land for the Shrine was purchased for a nominal amount and the shrine was constructed by donations. The shrine was completed in 2008 and is noted for having a 15.24 metre (50-feet) statue of the Divine Mercy Jesus. It serves as a pilgrimage site for Divine Mercy devotees.

The Divine Mercy Sanctuary in Plock, Poland is a Roman Catholic chapel dedicated to the Divine Mercy devotion, originated by Saint Faustina Kowalska. Plock is where Faustina reported some of her early visions. The chapel is located at the Old Market in Plock. In 2009 plans were made for the expansion of the sanctuary to a larger church.

The National Shrine of The Divine Mercy is a Roman Catholic shrine located in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The priests and brothers of the Congregation of Marians of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary have resided on Eden Hill in Stockbridge, since June 1944. Father Walter Pelczynski, MIC, with the assistance of local clergy and friends of the Marian community, initially purchased 50 of the 370 acres (1.5 km2) that constituted the "Eden Hill" estate in November, 1943. The house was to serve as the novitiate for a newly formed province. An image of the "The Divine Mercy" was enshrined in one of the small chapels where the members of the community prayed daily a perpetual novena to the Divine Mercy. Pilgrims began to arrive the very next spring to celebrate the Feast of The Divine Mercy (just after Easter). By the end of World War II in 1945, pilgrims in growing numbers came to offer thanksgiving for graces received through the Divine Mercy message and devotion. They urged the Marians to build a shrine to Jesus, The Divine Mercy, as a votive of thanks. The Fathers decided to accede to the requests since there was also a need for a larger chapel to accommodate a growing community. The construction of the present Shrine began in 1950 and was completed and solemnly dedicated by Springfield Bishop Christopher Weldon in 1960. In 1996, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops declared it a National Shrine in accord with Church law. The National Shrine has drawn thousands of pilgrims from around the world.

Orders and institutions

A number or Roman Catholic orders and institutions are devoted to Divine Mercy. The John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy is managed by the Congregation of Marian Fathers.

The Marians of the Immaculate Conception take an active role in promoting the Divine Mercy message.

The first World Apostolic Congress on Mercy was held in Rome in April 2008 and was inaugurated by Pope Benedict XVI.[10][24][25] Other international congresses on mercy have taken place since.[26]


  1. ^ CNS News May 2, 2011
  2. ^ Daily Telegraph May 1, 2011
  3. Ann Ball, 2003 Encyclopedia of Catholic Devotions and Practices ISBN 0-87973-910-X page 175
  4. ^ Saints of the Jubilee by Tim Drake 2002 ISBN 978-1-4033-1009-5 pages 85-95
  5. ^ Butler's lives of the saints: the third millennium by Paul Burns, Alban Butler 2001 ISBN 978-0-86012-383-5 page 252
  6. EWTN on the Chaplet of Divine Mercy
  7. A Divine Mercy Resource by Richard Torretto 2010 ISBN 1-4502-3236-1 pages 187-190
  8. ^ Am With You Always by Benedict Groeschel 2010 ISBN 978-1-58617-257-2 page 548
  9. ^ Divine Mercy Society
  10. ^ Mercies Remembered by Matthew R Mauriello 2011 ISBN 1-61215-005-5 page 149-160
  11. ^ Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul by Faustina Kowalska 2003 ISBN 1-59614-110-7 Notebok 1, item 301 [1]
  12. ^ Vatican website dedication of the Shrine of Divine Mercy, August 2002
  13. ^ Catherine M. Odell, 1998, Faustina: Apostle of Divine Mercy OSV Press ISBN
  14. 978-0-87973-923-2 page 105
  15. ^A Divine Mercy Resource by Richard Torretto 2010 ISBN 1-4502-3236-1 pages 137-140
  16. ^ Mercies Remembered by Matthew R Mauriello 2011 ISBN 1-61215-005-5 page 326
  17. ^A Divine Mercy Resource by Richard Torretto 2010 ISBN 1-4502-3236-1 pages 58-59
  18. ^ The One True Image
  19. ^ Canonization Homily of Pope John Paul II
  20. EWTN on the Divine Mercy Novena
  21. ^ Catherine M. Odell, 1998, Faustina: Apostle of Divine Mercy OSV Press ISBN 978-0-87973-923-2 page 137
  22. ^ 15 Days of Prayer with Saint Faustina Kowalska by John J. Cleary 2010 ISBN 1-56548-350-2 page 75
  23. ^ EWTN on the Hour of Mercy
  24. ^ Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary on Divine Mercy Indulgences, 29 June 2002, at the Vatican web site
  25. ^ Zenit April 2, 2008
  26. ^ Catholic News Service, APril 3, 2008
  27. ^ Asian Apostolic Congress on Mercy 


Today's Snippet II:  Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary

The Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary (Latin: Congregatio Clericorum Marianorum ab Immaculata Conceptionis Beatissimae Virginis Mariae; abbreviation: M.I.C.) is a Roman Catholic male clerical religious congregation founded, 1673, in Poland. It is also known as Marians of the Immaculate Conception.

The Congregation of about 500 priests and brothers has convents in 19 countries on 6 continents. Marians pledge support to the pope and follow the official teachings of the Catholic Church and aim to spread devotion to Blessed Virgin Mary as the Immaculate Conception, pray for the souls in purgatory and undertake a variety of apostolic work.

Marians were the first Catholic men’s religious institute dedicated to the honor of Mary’s Immaculate Conception. The community traces its roots to Blessed Stanislaus of Jesus and Mary Papczyński who was beatified in Basilica of Our Lady of Licheń, Licheń Stary, Poland, in 2007. As an Institute of consecrated life their motto is Pro Christo et Ecclesia. Marians are also the official promoters of the authentic Divine Mercy message since 1941.


Blessed Stanislaus of Jesus and Mary Papczyński, Founder of the Marians, on the oldest existing portrait from the end of the 17th century, Marian monastery in Skórzec, Poland.
The Congregation was formed by Blessed Stanislaus Papczyński in 1673 in Puszcza Korabiewska (today known as Puszcza Marianska/Marian Forest) near Skierniewice, Poland. He began to establish the Congregation with a small group of companions. Their shared life was based on the Rule of Life, written by Bl. Stanislaus. He tempered his plans at first to establish a community active in the Church's service. At the beginning, the Marian Fathers lived an eremitical rule of life as they pursued final recognition and approval by the Church. Within a short time, the new and still small institute received approval from their local Ordinary, Bishop Stephen Wierzbowski of Poznan.

Pope Innocent XII granted his approval for the young institute in 1699 with solemn vows under the French Rule of the Ten Virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary, initially placing them within the Franciscans.
With the death of the Founder in 1701, however, the Marian Fathers found themselves in a critical period of transition. Internal factions divided the membership into one group favoring a strictly contemplative life, and a second group seeking to add missionary and pastoral outreach to the institute's contemplative spirit. The period known as the "Rostkowski Dispersion" followed, fired by internal conflict, as well as the negative attitude expressed by some bishops and lay dignitaries. In 1716, Bishop Adam Rostkowski decided to close the Marian novitiate, instructing Marians to leave the monastery and move out to assume pastoral work in parishes.

In 1722, Bishop John Tarlo of Poznan called the scattered Marians back to their monasteries, and convened a general chapter. The man elected to serve as Superior General was Fr. Andrew of St. Matthew Deszpot, a Czech originally received into the institute by the founder Bl. Stanislaus. At the same chapter, a General Procurator was chosen, Fr. Joachim of St. Ann Kozłowski. He was given the mission of going to Rome to have the institute's constitutions confirmed, and to remove the institute from the jurisdiction of local bishops. In 1723, Pope Innocent XIII approved the Marian statutes and released the institute from the interference of local bishops.

Venerable Servant of God Fr. Casimir Wyszyński, Superior General of the Marians who established the institute in Portugal.

Fr. Raymond Nowicki
The rest of 18th century was marked by steady growth as the Marians expanded from Poland to Portugal and Italy thanks to the efforts of two outstanding Superior Generals of the institute: Venerable Serv. of God Casimir Wyszyński (1700–1755) and Raymond Nowicki (1735–1801).

Rapid changes in the European political situation by the end of the 18th and through 19th century led to the near destruction of the institute.

With the complete failure of the Kosciuszko Uprising in 1795, Poland lost its independence. Now the Marian Fathers found themselves divided by virtually sealed borders. The partitioning of the Polish Republic was decreed by the occupying armies of Russia, Prussia, and Austria.

Again, in 1798, after Napoleon seized Rome, he mandated that all foreigners be expelled from its borders. The exodus included the Marian Fathers removed from their monastery and Rome's St. Vitus Church.
In 1834, the Portuguese government became hostile toward all religious, and finally closed all Marian monasteries in that nation.

In Eastern Europe following the Vienna Congress of 1815, most of the Marian monasteries found themselves in the newly created Polish Kingdom, a kingdom which was part of Imperial Russia, whose Czarist regime was openly hostile to the Catholic Church.

The defeat of two Polish national uprisings against Czarist Russia, one in November 1830, and another in January 1863, meant repression for religious institutes in Poland. The Czarist regime prohibited the acceptance of new candidates to the religious life, effectively stamping out the normal process of growth in vocations to the religious life for the Marian Fathers and other institutes.

One of the most famous Marians in the 19th century was Fr. Christopher Szwernicki. In 1852, he was exile to Irkutsk, where he build the church and an orphanage for the deportees’ children. In 1888 he was titled "Apostle of Siberia" by pope Leo XIII.

Fr. Vincent Sękowski
By 1865, the Russian occupying forces allowed only one Marian monastery to remain open in Marijampole, Lithuania. All Marians were sent to Marijampole. Such rulings were nothing less than a death sentence for the religious institute. By the year 1904, that last Marian house closed, since so few Marians remained. By 1908, only one Marian remained, Vincent Sękowski (Senkus). He was the last Superior General. All other Marians had died, or asked to leave to join the ranks of the diocesan clergy. For all appearances, the Czarist persecutions had succeeded. The Marian Fathers seemed to have come to the end of the line.

At this critical moment in the history of the Marian institute, an ardent and energetic Lithuanian priest came to visit Fr. Vincent Sękowski, with the aim of secretly renewing it. He was Fr. George Matulaitis-Matulewicz, and at that time he was a professor at the Academy of Theology in St. Petersburg, Russia. Fr. Matulaitis had a profound understanding of the contributions and significance of religious life to society, although Catholic monasteries were being suppressed at that time. He believed it was important to do whatever needed to be done to revive religious life in the lands dominated by Czarist Russia.

As a youth, he had been brought up in a village where the Marian Fathers staffed the local parish. The experience had left him with a lifelong respect and admiration for the Marian Fathers. And so Fr. George, along with his friend Fr. Francis-Peter Bucys who had also grown up with Marian religious influence, entered the Marian institute with the intention of saving it from disappearing into history, along with all its promise for God's work. They had to become Marians in secret in order to thwart Czarist Russian authorities who continued to persecute the Church.

Fr. George made his vows and was accepted into the Marian institute by Fr. Vincent Sękowski, and in the same year, 1909, Fr. Francis Peter Bucys became the first novice of the institute on its way to renewed life.
Fr. George wrote the renewed institute's constitutions, inspired by the spirit of Bl. Stanislaus Papczyński and the desire to adapt his ideals to modern times. The new Constitutions and revived form of Marian life were approved by St. Pope Pius X in 1910. Fr. Vincent Sękowski, who was the last of the “White Marians”, lived on for five months after papal approval for Marian renewal.

To assure that the institute could continue to flourish without interference from the Czarist government, the secret Marian novitiate and house of studies were transferred from St. Petersburg in Russia to Fribourg in Switzerland. From this time on, the Marian Fathers began to experience consistent growth. In 1927, the year when the Renovator, then Archbishop George Matulaitis-Matulewicz, died, the Congregation had grown to around 300 members (among them: Blessed George Kalusza, Servant of God Eugene Kulesza, Servant of God John Mendriks).

Fr. Francis P. Bucys succeeded Blessed George as the Superior General of the renovated Congregation. Thanks to the Renovator's reforms, the Marian Fathers became a modern religious congregation. Yet Blessed George Matulaitis did not change the main ideals of the religious community, such as spreading devotion to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary and supplication for the souls suffering in Purgatory. However, he did expand the field of the Marian apostolate and introduced significant changes into the Marian Fathers' way of life, adapting it to the new conditions and needs of modern times.

20th century

Although it is now an international organization, the Marians still have strong roots in Poland, (e.g. the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lichen) and place a great deal of emphasis on spreading the messages of Divine Mercy of Saint Faustina Kowalska.

Between 1953 and 1986 the Marian Fathers operated a boarding school, Divine Mercy College, at Fawley Court near Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England. Though intended for boys of Polish origin, in particular the children of the 100,000+ Poles who found exile in Britain after the Second World War, a significant proportion of the boys accepted were non-Poles.

In 1996 Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, and Fr. George Kosicki, CSB formed the John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy to provide instruction in Divine Mercy theology and spirituality to both parish leaders and clergy. At its inception, Pope John Paul II entrusted the Institute with the task of providing "formation and research in The Divine Mercy message". Their role in spreading the Divine Mercy message was acknowledged by Pope John Paul II in a special Papal Blessing in 2001, the 70th anniversary of the revelation of the Divine Mercy Message and Devotion.

21st century

The Marian Fathers in the United Kingdom have controversially sold the former school property Fawley Court, despite protests from the Polish community. A group of Old Boys from the school have challenged the sale on numerous grounds, including "violation of legislative guidelines, .. misapplied funds, ... harassment of the elderly, properties willed under duress from the infirm, human remains removed without authority or exhumation licence [and] irregular accounts submitted to the Charity Commission".


  • Andrew R. Mączyński, MIC and Maciej P.Talar Three Centuries with Mary Immaculate As Patroness. Marian Press
  • Tadeusz Rogalewski, MIC Stanislaus Papczynski (1631-1701). Marian Press, ISBN 0-944203-62-0


Today's Snippet III:  




Kraków-Łagiewniki, 17 August 2002

"O inconceivable and unfathomable Mercy of God, Who can worthily adore you and sing your praises? O greatest attribute of God Almighty, You are the sweet hope of sinners" (Diary, 951).

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

1. Today I repeat these simple and straightforward words of Saint Faustina, in order to join her and all of you in adoring the inconceivable and unfathomable mystery of God’s mercy. Like Saint Faustina, we wish to proclaim that apart from the mercy of God there is no other source of hope for mankind. We desire to repeat with faith: Jesus, I trust in you!

This proclamation, this confession of trust in the all-powerful love of God, is especially needed in our own time, when mankind is experiencing bewilderment in the face of many manifestations of evil. The invocation of God’s mercy needs to rise up from the depth of hearts filled with suffering, apprehension and uncertainty, and at the same time yearning for an infallible source of hope. That is why we have come here today, to this Shrine of Łagiewniki, in order to glimpse once more in Christ the face of the Father: "the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation" (2 Cor 1:3). With the eyes of our soul, we long to look into the eyes of the merciful Jesus, in order to find deep within his gaze the reflection of his inner life, as well as the light of grace which we have already received so often, and which God holds out to us anew each day and on the last day.

2. We are about to dedicate this new church to the Mercy of God. Before doing so, I wish to offer heartfelt thanks to those who contributed to its construction. In a special way I thank Cardinal Franciszek, who has put so much effort into this undertaking as a sign of his personal devotion to the Divine Mercy. My thoughts turn with affection to the Sisters of the Merciful Mother of God, whom I thank for their work in spreading the message left behind by Saint Sister Faustina. I greet the Cardinals and Bishops of Poland, headed by the Cardinal Primate, as well as the Bishops coming from various parts of the world. I rejoice in the presence of the diocesan and religious priests, and the seminarians

My cordial greeting goes to all those taking part in this celebration, especially the representatives of the Foundation of the Shrine of Divine Mercy who oversaw the work of construction, as well as the builders involved in the various projects. I know that many of those present offered generous material support to the work of construction. I pray that God will reward their magnanimity and their commitment by his blessing!

3. Brothers and Sisters! As we dedicate this new church, we too can ask the question which troubled King Solomon when he consecrated the Temple of Jerusalem as the house of God: "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house which I have built!" (1 Kg 8:27). Yes, at first glance, to bind certain "places" to God’s presence might seem inappropriate. We can never forget that time and space belong to God in their entirety. Yet even though time and the entire world may be considered his "temple", God has chosen certain times and places to enable people to experience in a special way his presence and his grace. Impelled by their sense of faith, people journey to these places, confident that there they will truly find themselves in the presence of God.

In this same spirit of faith I have come to Łagiewniki to dedicate this new church. I am convinced that this is the special place chosen by God to sow the grace of his mercy. I pray that this church will always be a place where the message of God’s merciful love is proclaimed; a place of conversion and repentance; a place for the celebration of the Eucharist; a fountain of mercy; a place of prayer and of constant appeals for mercy for ourselves and for the whole world. I pray in the words of Solomon: "Have regard to the prayer of your servant and to his supplication, O Lord my God, hearkening to the cry and to the prayer which thy servant prays before you this day; that your eyes may be open night and day towards this house... Hearken to the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel, when they pray in this place. Hear in heaven, your dwelling place; and when you hear, forgive" (1 Kg 8:28-30).

4. "But the hour is coming, and now is, when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him" (Jn 4:23). When we read these words of the Lord Jesus here in the Shrine of Divine Mercy, we are particularly aware that no one can come here except in Spirit and truth. It is the Holy Spirit, the Comforter and the Spirit of Truth, who guides us along the ways of Divine Mercy. By convincing the world "concerning sin and righteousness and judgement" (Jn 16:8), he also makes known the fullness of salvation in Christ. This "convincing" concerning sin is doubly related to the Cross of Christ. On the one hand, the Holy Spirit enables us, through Christ’s Cross, to acknowledge sin, every sin, in the full dimension of evil which it contains and inwardly conceals. On the other hand, the Holy Spirit permits us, again through the Christ’s Cross, to see sin in the light of the mysterium pietatis, that is, of the merciful and forgiving love of God (cf. Dominum et vivificantem, 32).

Consequently, this "convincing concerning sin" also becomes a conviction that sin can be laid aside and that man can be restored to his dignity as a son beloved of God. Indeed, the Cross "is the most profound condescension of God to man [...]. The Cross is like a touch of eternal love upon the most painful wounds of man’s earthly existence" (Dives in misericordia, 8). The cornerstone of this Shrine will always be a reminder of this truth, for it was brought here from Mount Calvary, as if from beneath the Cross on which Jesus Christ triumphed over sin and death.

I firmly believe that this new church will always be a place where people will come before God in Spirit and truth. They will come with the trust which accompanies all those who humbly open their hearts to the working of God’s merciful love, to that love which is stronger than even the greatest sin. Here, in the fire of divine love, human hearts will burn with desire for conversion, and whoever looks for hope will find comfort.

5. "Eternal Father, I offer to you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, for our sins and those of the whole world; by the sufferings of his Passion, have mercy upon us and upon the whole world" (Diary, 476). Upon us and upon the whole world ... How greatly today’s world needs God’s mercy! In every continent, from the depth of human suffering, a cry for mercy seems to rise up. Where hatred and the thirst for revenge dominate, where war brings suffering and death to the innocent, there the grace of mercy is needed in order to settle human minds and hearts and to bring about peace. Wherever respect for life and human dignity are lacking, there is need of God’s merciful love, in whose light we see the inexpressible value of every human being. Mercy is needed in order to ensure that every injustice in the world will come to an end in the splendour of truth.

Today, therefore, in this Shine, I wish solemnly to entrust the world to Divine Mercy. I do so with the burning desire that the message of God’s merciful love, proclaimed here through Saint Faustina, may be made known to all the peoples of the earth and fill their hearts with hope. May this message radiate from this place to our beloved homeland and throughout the world. May the binding promise of the Lord Jesus be fulfilled: from here there must go forth "the spark which will prepare the world for his final coming" (cf. Diary, 1732).

This spark needs to be lighted by the grace of God. This fire of mercy needs to be passed on to the world. In the mercy of God the world will find peace and mankind will find happiness! I entrust this task to you, dear Brothers and Sisters, to the Church in Kraków and Poland, and to all the votaries of Divine Mercy who will come here from Poland and from throughout the world. May you be witnesses to mercy!

6. God, merciful Father, in your Son, Jesus Christ, you have revealed your love and poured it out upon us in the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, We entrust to you today the destiny of the world and of every man and woman.

Bend down to us sinners, heal our weakness, conquer all evil, and grant that all the peoples of the earth may experience your mercy. In You, the Triune God, may they ever find the source of hope.

Eternal Father, by the Passion and Resurrection of your Son, have mercy on us and upon the whole world!


At the end of the Mass, before the final blessing, the Holy Father made these personal remarks:

At the end of this solemn liturgy, I desire to say that many of my personal memories are tied to this place. During the Nazi occupation, when I was working in the Solvay factory near here, I used to come here. Even now I recall the street that goes from Borek Falecki to Debniki that I took every day going to work on the different turns with the wooden shoes on my feet. They're the shoes that we used to wear then. How was it possible to imagine that one day the man with the wooden shoes would consecrate the Basilica of the Divine Mercy at Lagiewniki of Kraków.

I rejoice for the construction of this beautiful shrine dedicated to the Divine Mercy. I entrust to the care of Cardinal Macharski and to the whole Archdiocese of Kraków and to the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy the material, and especially, the spiritual upkeep of the shrine. May this collaboration in the work of spreading the devotion of the Merciful Jesus give blessed fruit in the hearts of the faithful in Poland and in the whole world.

May the merciful God bless abundantly all the pilgrims who come and who will come here in the future.



Catechism of the Catholic Church

Part Two: The Celebration of the Christian Mystery, 

Section Two: The Seven Sacraments of the Church 

Article 1:2:6 Sacrament of Baptism




VI. The Necessity of Baptism

1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation.Jn 3:5 He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them.Mt 28:19-20 Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. Mk 16:16 The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are "reborn of water and the Spirit." God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.

1258 The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ. This Baptism of blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament.

1259 For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament.

1260 "Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery."GS 22 # 5; cf. LG 16; AG 7 Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.

1261 As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,"Mk 10 14 allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.