Dr. Christine Myers is an affiliate tutor of the Alcuin Institute. She also serves as the Director of Adult Faith Formation & Catholic Culture at St. Bernard's Parish in Tulsa, Oklahoma.← Return to Essays
My daughter, tell the whole world about My Inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. 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. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come forth from the very depths of My most tender mercy. Every soul in its relation to Me will contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity. The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy. (Diary of St. Faustina 699)When Pope Saint John Paul II canonized St. Faustina on April 30, 2000, he established the Feast of Divine Mercy for the universal Church. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments followed with an official decree on May 23, 2000 regarding Divine Mercy Sunday. On June 29, 2002, another decree granted a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions for those who honor the Divine Mercy on that day. A plenary (“full”) indulgence is granted by the Church for certain acts of devotion judged to be of great spiritual benefit. The one who obtains such an indulgence is released from any punishment in Purgatory that they may have justly incurred up to that point. There has been some debate about whether the promise Jesus made regarding the “complete forgiveness of sin and punishment” on Divine Mercy Sunday is one and the same as the plenary indulgence established by the Church in 2002. Why does this matter? A plenary indulgence is obtained only under certain conditions – complete detachment from sin, Confession within a certain period of time, the reception of Holy Communion, and prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father. In addition to these, the plenary indulgence of Divine Mercy Sunday also requires:
- “in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honor of Divine Mercy
- or, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. “Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!”).”
Dr. Christine Myers is an affiliate tutor of the Alcuin Institute. She also serves as the Director of Adult Faith Formation & Catholic Culture at St. Bernard's Parish in Tulsa, Oklahoma.