Blessed Easter to parishioners, family, and friends!
The Easter Sunday bulletin was just published. I also ran off about 30 hard copies which will be available in the church starting tomorrow morning (Easter Sunday). As a reminder, the church will be open daily from about 9am until about nightfall each day for your private prayer. We recently cleaned all the pews in the church with soapy bleach. Please bring your own sanitizers to clean up after yourself (as we have not received our order to be able to provide a stock at the door yet!) We will continue to offer Mass at 9am each day and a Holy Hour in the afternoon until public Masses return. Your guess is as good as mine as to when that will be, but we stand on the line, praying for ourselves and those who are dear to us, as well as those in need of God’s mercy.
Speaking of mercy– Divine Mercy — I talked about the indulgences granted by the Apostolic Penitentiary in the bulletin this week, and I want to make sure that information is widely available for our parishioners. For those of you who are not familiar with the Divine Mercy Devotion, here is a summary on a “mini-site” courtesy of EWTN. For the particulars on how to recite the Divine Mercy Chaplet, simply take your normal, standard-issue rosary beads, and follow these instructions. Like the rosary, the goal is not to race along as quickly as possible, but to try to enter into a rhythm of prayer… to synchronize your words and your breathing, the movement of your fingers and the sweetness of the words. Sometimes the chaplet is set to music when said in public.
As I mentioned in the bulletin, I heard about the initiative on part of the Marian Fathers, who are caretakers of the National Shrine of Divine Mercy to invite people to post the image of the Divine Mercy on the doors of your home. This image represents the Lord, the Lamb Sacrificed for us, whose blood and water was poured out for our redemption and our sanctification. Not unlike the Israelites who were commanded to mark their doorposts with the blood of a lamb on that first Passover night, we recognize that we shall pass through the challenge of this disease under the protection of God’s Divine Mercy. It’s not magic… it’s not superstition, but it is an opportunity to proclaim and witness to our faith. We recognize our Lord as our protector and shield, and as we learn to venerate Him under the title of “Divine Mercy” with the help of this image, our souls shall be fortified and strengthened in the times chastisement. This act of faith will not guarantee that you or your family won’t be affected by this virus… again, that is superstition… but it will help build your faith in Jesus and in his providence, such that when the time of testing does arrive, you will know of his promise of love and mercy, in this world and in the world to come.
A little while back, a benefactor provided about 100 full-color, page-sized, card stock copies of the “Divine Mercy” image for distribution to the faithful. I will bless these images at Mass on Easter Sunday and make them available at the back of church for anyone who would like to pick one up… or two… as I said in the bulletin, consider placing one on our door, and take one into your home for veneration and prayer. If we run out of the image, we will work some photocopier magic back in the parish office to provide some more. We also have about 250 copies of ‘wallet sized’ cards available as well.
Next week the Church throughout the world celebrates the Feast of Divine Mercy, a feast established by St. Pope John Paul II, and hallowed by his own passing on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday itself, in 2005. This is a feast that reminds us of how much our Lord wants to reach out to us, to draw us out of the darkness of sin and disease and death, and into the light foreshadowed by our joyous celebration of Easter here in this world. He comes not to ‘settle scores’ in the days following his betrayal and death… to attach or belittle the unbeliever, or to limit the scope of his saving mission to those who have always been faithful… but his Divine Mercy remains open and available to all of us poor sinners who call upon him in trust!