A Special Message from Bishop Mark

Young people in our diocese have frequently heard me tell them that the foundational principle of Catholic social teaching is the following: Every human person is made in the image and likeness of God. Period. It’s in the Sacred Scriptures (Genesis 1:27).

No further qualification is necessary to know or understand why every person has certain inalienable rights, including life, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness. It does not matter where a person was born; the person’s ethnic or racial background; the person’s first language; his or her economic status; etc.

During the past several days, the last words of George Floyd, “I can’t breathe,” have echoed across the world. It reminded me that the human life of the Lord Jesus ended when he “uttered a loud cry and breathed his last” (Mark 15:37). Today’s loud cry must be for a renewed respect and love for every human person, regardless of race, religion, ethnic origin, or political interests.

I urge everyone to take to heart the words of Pope Francis in his statement concerning the tragic death of George Floyd and the violence that has followed:

“My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life. At the same time, we have to recognize that “the violence of recent nights is self-destructive and self-defeating. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost”.

I pray for George Floyd and his family and loved ones. I pray for everyone. I pray for you. Please reflect on the circumstances of his death, and the violent reaction that it has caused. It’s for this reason and for the good of all that I will never stop reminding people, especially our young people, that every human person is made in the image and likeness of God.

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The Bellwood-Antis Council of Churches 2020-2021 Scholarship

Eligibility Considerations:

As in the past, the Council agreed to award the eligibility for the scholarship to those who are presently enrolled in an accredited undergraduate program and are presently in their second or third year, entering their third or fourth year; or enrolled in a seminary program.

To qualify for the scholarship, one must be a practicing member of a participating faith community of the Bellwood Council of Churches. In addition, the student must be studying for the ministry or some type of helping field. Examples of a helping field include, but are not limited to: teaching, social work, or medicine. Finally, the student should demonstrate financial need.

The underlying intent is a scholarship based on Christian dedication and need, designed to help one or more Christian young people to go to higher education if they might not be able to do so otherwise.

Requirements for Application:

In order to apply for the scholarship, students should do the following:

1) Submit the form entitled The Bellwood-Antis Council of Churches Scholarship Application.

2) Submit a letter of recommendation from your pastor.

3) Submit two essays:

Essay #1: Type a 500 word essay as to why you should be considered for this scholarship. Be sure to note any unusual needs that might be important in your selection. This essay is meant to focus upon who the student is and give the opportunity to describe themselves and their situation, feelings, and plans for the future. It is also appropriate to use this opportunity to explain how their field of study qualifies for this scholarship, and how they view their future work as a part of the greater ministry of God.

Essay #2: Answer the following questions:

What have you done or plan to do to earn money for college expenses?

List any civic or community groups to which you belong.

List any school activities and offices held.

This essay is meant to focus on the details of a student’s specific activities, rather than the student themselves.

Applications must be completed and returned no later than July 1st.

Please submit applications to:

B-A Council of Churches

Attn: B-A Council Scholarship

P.O. Box 135

Bellwood, PA 16617

Click Here for Scholarship application

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PREPARATIONS FOR REOPENING SAINT JOSEPH CHURCH WITH THE CELEBRATION OF MASS

PREPARATIONS FOR REOPENING SAINT JOSEPH CHURCH WITH THE CELEBRATION OF MASS

We need your help!!!

Fr. Jozef has announced that our Church will be opening its door for Mass once again beginning June 13 and 14. 

We first want to highlight that our church is presently undergoing the repairs of which we spoke to you before the church was closed due to the Corona virus. The updates on the progress include Raimondo continuing to work on the front of the church due to the water intrusion; the church has been painted, the sound system is being installed and we are awaiting the installation of the new carpeting.  The repairs occurring during this time warrant the holding back on using the Main church for Mass for at least a few weeks more.  Thus, our first Masses of June 13/14 will be celebrated outdoors near the statue of St. Joseph. If the weather is inclement Mass will be celebrated in the Church basement, allowing ample room for necessary social distancing. Please wear a mask if you are able but we will designate an area for people who are not able to wear their masks.  Please bring your own chair if you are able.  If not, we will have a limited number of folding chairs near the Chapel entrance area. 

WE NEED YOUR HELP!!!!!!   (Please note, that if you are willing to assist with any of the ministries listed below, you will need to arrive at least one-half hour before Mass to receive instructions.)  Please call the church office or email us if you can assist with any of the ministries mentioned below. 

We will need the assistance of many of our parishioners to aid us in preparations, ushering, Holy Communion, seating, Reading and spreading the word about Mass. 

Projection Date:  Saturday Evening, 4:00 p.m. Mass (out of doors)

We will need 4 Hospitality Ministers who will be able to greet the people upon arrival as well as hold a bottle of hand sanitizer for people who are entering the church area.  The Hospitality Minister will need to pump the sanitizer into each person’s hands. 

We will need Six Ushers to assist with the seating of people before Mass, Four Ushers of these Users can assist with the Collection using the baskets with the long handles and then to sanitize the chairs or pews after each Mass. 

Ushers will also be needed to bring Altar and outdoor preparations back indoors.

We will need a few good men or women to assist with parking so that the handicapped are able to remain in their cars in the handicapped area, and if necessary to better accommodate parking and to let Eucharistic minister know if those staying in their cars will need to have a Eucharistic minister bring Holy Communion to the parking lots and or parking areas in front of the church.

Four Bread Ministers for the Outdoor Masses and when we can have Mass indoors, we may still need to use the Church Hall along with the Church to accommodate Social Distancing, so when this time occurs, we will need six Bread Ministers. 

The Precious Blood will not be dispersed until we are notified that it is safe to continue this practice.

We will need three Readers for each Mass.

We will not have an Offertory procession with the Gifts until we are notified that we are able to do this. 

RETURN OF WEEK DAY MASSES AND HOLY HOUR– Weekday masses will begin again on Monday, June 15, with an 8:00 a.m. Mass on Monday, a 6:00 p.m. Mass on Tuesday, and a Holy Hour on Wednesday from 7:30 – 8:30 a.m.

DISTRIBUTION OF COMMUNION OUTSIDE OF MASS TIMES – Sr.  Linda will be available for the distribution of Holy Communion for those who still do not feel comfortable coming to Mass, on Saturday evenings at 5:30 p.m. and Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Please come to the sidewalk near the entrance to the chapel.  If you are not comfortable coming out of your cars, Sr. Linda will come to the parking lots.

FIRST HOLY COMMUNION AND CONFIRMATION will occur at a date to be announced and after the church repairs are completed so that each of these events can occur in a beautiful church setting

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REOPENING OF PUBLIC CONFESSION, MASS, HOLY COMMUNION, AND THE CELEBRATION OF FIRST HOLY COMMUNION

DISTRIBUTION OF HOLY COMMUNION AND PUBLIC CELEBRATION OF MASS

The Distribution of Holy Communion and public Celebration of Mass will begin June 13, at 4:00 PM, and June 14, at 8:00 AM.

The number of persons permitted to attend Mass in a church or other approved indoor location is not determined by a set number recommended by public health personnel. It is determined by the number of persons who can be accommodated within that space according to the plan for safe physical distances in each church. We are using the standard of 6 feet between those not from the same household. Therefore, the calculation of this number of persons will take into account couples or families who reside together in the same dwelling and may sit together.

If the weather permits, these two Masses will be celebrated outside near the statue of St. Joseph. We will use a ‘bring your own lawn chair’ policy for a while. People who do not fit into the designated area may remain in their Cars during Mass and we will bring communion to the parking lot areas. All are reminded that the Christian faithful are not obliged to participate at Mass on Sunday due to the circumstance of the Coronavirus pandemic. This remains in effect until further notice.

Everyone is still strongly urged to view the celebration of Sunday Mass on TV, or via the internet.

BEGINNING JUNE 13 and 14, Sr. Linda will be available in front of the Church for distribution of Holy Communion on Saturdays at 5:30 PM, and Sundays at 9:30 AM and 11:00 AM. You are free to remain in your cars or to come to the outside entrance near the chapel.

Again, please remember to wear your Mask.

CONFESSIONS

Beginning June 13 and 14, Fr. Jozef will begin to hear Confessions on Saturdays at 3:30 p.m., and Sunday Mornings at 7:30 a.m. A simple confessional space will be designated outdoors, near the chapel entrance. In the case of inclement weather,, confessions will take place in the Church basement.

You are also free to contact Fr. Jozef to set up an appointment time to meet with him at a time more suitable to your schedule. Please remember to wear a mask.

MASS INTENTIONS

Mass Intentions will resume on the weekend of June 13/June 14. Masses which were already requested for the rest of the year will remain as scheduled.  

Masses that were not celebrated during the quarantine will be rescheduled at the earliest possible time.

If you have any questions regarding a specific intention, please call the office at 742-7075, or email abishopamato@dioceseaj.org.

FIRST HOLY COMMUNION 

The date for First Holy Communion  will be announced next week.

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MEMORIAL DAY PRAYER

Good and gracious Lord,

you destroy war and put down earthly pride,

you banish violence from our midst

and wipe away our tears.

On this Memorial Day,

we humbly pray to you God of power and mercy

for those men and women who courageously

laid down their lives

for the cause of freedom.

Bring them safely into your kingdom

of justice and peace to live with you forever.

May the examples of their sacrifice inspire in us

the selfless love of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Bless the families of our fallen troops,

and fill their homes and their lives

with your strength, comfort and peace.  

 

Please embolden us to answer the call

to work for lasting peace and true justice,

and thus seek an end to violence and conflict

in the world you created be good,

so that we may all deserve to be called

your sons and daughters.

 

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HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY

HAPPY  MEMORIAL  DAY to all of you. As a special gift you are invited to stop at our church and pick up a music sheet with the most popular patriotic songs and their history. 

You can also watch on our parish Facebook page a short service consisting of singing, beautiful organ music, and prayer.   

 

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Bishop Mark has announced dates to resume the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the distribution of Holy Communion and the public celebration of Mass in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.

According to the Bishop’s directives, issued on May 20, 2020, priests may resume the public celebration of Reconciliation beginning on May 23, 2020.

The Distribution of Holy Communion to the faithful may begin on June 1, 2020, while continuing the celebration of private Masses.

The celebration of public Masses may resume on the weekend of June 13-14, 2020.

All clergy have received the directives below from Bishop Mark, parishioners will receive further updates from their parish.

Bishop Mark asks the faithful to continue being patient as the sacraments are made available, and he assures parishioners that the appropriate training measures and safety precautions will occur.   

“We rejoice at the progress being made, and we continue to pray for one another in the days ahead,” said the Bishop.

RESUMPTION OF PUBLICLY SCHEDULED CONFESSIONS

Beginning Saturday, May 23, 2020, pastors and administrators may resume the regular public celebration of the Sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation with these requirements:

  1. In order to facilitate the arrangements that must be made for the Sacrament of Penance, pastors and administrators are authorized to make us of a parish hall, insofar as it may better accommodate the safety measures and make the sacrament more readily available to the people.
  2. Until further notice, people are not to congregate in groups larger than 25, whether inside or outside of a church.
  3. Parishes are advised to have ushers or ministers of hospitality available to assist in monitoring the number of people coming for confessions and assist in guiding people.
  4. Penitents must observe the standard six-foot physical distancing while waiting.
  5. Penitents should wear face masks while waiting their turn for confession.
  6. There should be an impenetrable physical barrier, perhaps of glass or plastic, between the confessor and the penitent. Otherwise both confessor and penitent will either have to observe physical distancing or wear appropriate masks or face shields.
  7. If stations for confession are arranged in an outdoor setting, penitents should remain in their vehicles or other personal space and not congregate in groups larger than 25.
  8. Unless a ready exchange of fresh air is possible, confessionals should not be used; other open spaces in a church or outside in open air are preferred to enclosed confessionals.
  9. Depending on pastoral need, some provision should be made for providing the option of confessing anonymously or face-to-face. This may be accomplished by a linen cloth that can be draped over the glass/plastic divider, or by the confessor facing away from the penitent; keeping in mind the need to hear and to be heard.  
  10. Areas in the church and/or portable confession screens must be cleaned and properly sanitized after confessions are concluded for that scheduled time.
  11. The secrecy of confession should be carefully observed.
  12. Priests should be extra zealous/generous in their time commitment as confessors and solicitous to penitents who may be burdened not only by sin, but emotionally by the challenges that everyone has encountered in recent times.
  13. A suitable penance at this time is to have the penitent pray for an end to the Coronavirus pandemic and for the intentions of all who are afflicted or otherwise affected.
  14. Parishes should cooperate in scheduling times for confessions in order to reach out to as many penitents as possible.
  15. The schedule is to be communicated within the parish and shared with neighboring parishes. A copy of the confession schedule should be sent to Tony DeGol, Secretary for Communications so that information regarding the sacrament can be updated on the diocesan website and social media.
  16. Confessions should be scheduled at different times (morning, afternoon, evening) to allow more people to receive the sacrament.
  17. Priests who need additional help with confessions should seek assistance from neighboring priests, even to the extent of arranging for multiple priests to be available at the same time. However, no penance services are to be arranged. Only individual confessions are to be heard.

DISTRIBUTION OF HOLY COMMUNION AND PUBLIC CELEBRATION OF MASS

Pastors and administrators may begin the distribution of Holy Communion to the faithful on June 1, 2020, while continuing the celebration of private Masses.

Beginning June 14, 2020, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi Sunday), pastors and administrators may begin the public celebration of Mass while continuing the Distribution of Holy Communion according to the same directives.

Changes to these directives may occur based on the further spread or mitigation of COVID-19.

  1. All are reminded that the Christian faithful are not obliged to participate at Mass on Sunday due to the circumstance of the Coronavirus pandemic and this remains in effect until further notice.
  2. Everyone is strongly urged to view the celebration of Sunday Mass on TV, or via the Internet, whether live or pre-recorded.
  3. Private celebration of Mass refers to the sacred liturgy when the faithful are not present and therefore do not participate.
  4. Public celebration Mass refers to the sacred liturgy when any number of the faithful participate, i.e., are physically present and engage in the parts for the people.
  5. By the general laws of the Catholic Church, priests are not permitted to celebrate Mass no more than twice a day on weekdays and three times a day on Sundays and Holy Days of obligation.
  6. The current circumstances and logistics may require fewer Sunday Masses than are normally scheduled.
  7. The total number of persons to be allowed inside a church at the same time is limited to 25, and must be observed at all times. Any change in this number in general will be communicated to all the parishes. Requests for any exceptions regarding this number for any reason are to be directed to the Vicar General.
  8. In addition to the priest celebrant(s), and deacon, a song-leader/psalmist, reader/lector, and 1 altar server (either adult or young person) may be present in the sanctuary.
  9. The altar server is not to hold the Missal for any of the prayers of the Mass. An ambo should be placed in front of the presider’s chair to hold the Missal or the priest should pray the prayer at the altar.
  10. The collection of monetary offerings from the faithful must be arranged so that no baskets are extended to the people by ushers or by passing baskets by the people.
  11. There is no presentation of the gifts of bread and wine. These gifts are to be at the altar prior to the start of Mass.
  12. There is no sign of peace offered, with the exception of saying to one another, “Peace be with you,” without removing one’s face mask.
  13. The celebrant does not wear a mask during the Mass, except during the distribution of Holy Communion.
  14. The song-leader/psalmist and reader/lector are to wear a mask, except during the time they are speaking or singing.
  15. A bowl with soap and water and hand sanitizer must be available at a side table in the sanctuary to be used at any time circumstances require it (e.g., inadvertent physical contact with another person).
  16. All hymnals, misalettes, and other printed materials must be removed from the pews.
  17. Parishes may prepare a song sheet or other worship aid that must be discarded after each Mass or taken home by individuals.
  18. The physical distancing for seating in the church as arranged by parish staff is to remain at all times. It is possible for related persons residing in the same home (e.g., husband and wife) to be seated together without physical distancing from each other. However the distance from other persons is to be observed. No one is permitted to remove or alter the markings that establish safe physical distance.
  19. All persons entering a church must wear a mask and observe the distancing protocols.
  20. For Masses when no more than 25 members of the faithful are present, Holy Communion may be distributed at the usual time of the liturgy.
  21. The priest, assisted by other ministers, shall prepare the ciboria used for distribution of Holy Communion for those who await outside the church.
  22. Pastors and administrators should ensure that a sufficient number of hosts are to be consecrated at any Mass throughout the week, keeping in mind that arrangements should be made for Holy Communion to be brought to the homes of shut-ins, elderly, or anyone who is at greater health risk if exposed to COVID-19, etc.)
  23. There is no final/recessional hymn. At the conclusion of the Mass, the celebrant (together with other ministers) will proceed to pre-arranged stations at the doors of the Church for distribution ofHoly Communion (see below).
  24. Those who approach Holy Communion should be properly reverent and disposed, keeping in mind that celebration of the Sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation has been restored in the diocese.
  25. Those who come to receive Holy Communion are encouraged to have participated in a broadcast, streamed, or recorded Mass insofar as possible. Otherwise, they are encouraged to read the Scripture readings for the Mass of the day before receiving the sacrament. They should privately pray the Our Father just prior to receiving Holy Communion.
  26. Holy Communion should be distributed during published periods of time to accommodate communicants. This schedule should include times in the morning, afternoon, and evening.  
  27. Holy Communion is to be distributed at the church doors or other locations outside of the church. This is to avoid having more than 25 persons gathered inside a church at the same time.
  28. While waiting to receive Holy Communion, everyone must observe physical distancing and use a face covering.
  29. Stations for the distribution of Holy Communion must be arranged in order to facilitate proper distancing.
  30. Arrangements should be made to have sufficient ushers/ministers of hospitality to direct people to the Communion stations. Moreover, it is advised that an usher or other attendant be at every Communion station.
  31. Care should be taken not to create a hazard by putting Communion stations in the same place where automobiles are parked and will try to enter or exit where people are walking or waiting in line.
  32. A suitable number of clergy and extraordinary ministers will be needed and trained in regard to these directives.
  33. Communicants should sanitize their hands before receiving Holy Communion. The parish should make provision for this near each Communion station.
  34. Communicants should receive Holy Communion in the hand if possible.
  35. If Holy Communion is received on the tongue or on the hand and inadvertent contact with a person’s face, tongue or hand occurs, the minister must immediately stop and properly disinfect his/her hands before continuing.
  36. All Ministers of Holy Communion should wear masks or face shields.
  37. Ministers of Holy Communion should be spaced so that physical distancing is observed in any location where distribution takes place.
  38. Tables, corporals, and hand sanitizer, disposable wipes/paper towels must be available for all ministers of Holy Communion.
  39. In the event that a Minister of Holy Communion needs to sanitize his/her hands, the ciborium should be placed on the table, covered by a corporal or purificator, followed by washing and/or use of the sanitizer.
  40. In addition to Clergy, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, using appropriate precautions (mask, face shield, etc.), may distribute to people in their homes, while always maintaining the necessary distancing.
  41. Home visits to the sick, shut-ins, and elderly who are potentially more vulnerable to illness if they are out in public, are encouraged. Family members who reside in that same home or those who are there as care-givers may receive Holy Communion during the same arranged home visit.
  42. Parishes should designate one or more persons (e.g. deacon/extraordinary minister) who will arrange for filling the individual pyx used to bring Holy Communion to those who are at home.
  43. If a Minister of Holy Communion is at risk due to age, physical infirmity, or chronic illness, he/she should be considered exempt from exercising this ministry.

 

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Second Sunday of Easter – Divine Mercy Sunday

HAPPY EASTER!
In the joy and hope of Easter, may the blessings of this most joyous season, especially the peace and love of the Risen Christ, live forever in your hearts and the light of His resurrection always guide all your steps and help you to experience renewed strength to witness to God’s gift of new life. Fr. Jozef

A Message from Father Jozef:

Please remember that the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) may prevent us from physical interaction and from uniting in a communal prayer when we gather together in our beautiful church, but it cannot keep us from being united in spirit; spirit of prayer and thanksgiving as a way of life, but most importantly the virus cannot keep us from our communion with the Lord by helping one another in any way we can, especially in these difficult times.

Below is a traditional prayer of SPIRITUAL COMMUNION that many saints have prayed over the years. It can be prayed if you cannot attend mass or you find yourself at Mass unable to receive the Eucharist, or even in the midst of your daily work, lifting up your thoughts to God. The ultimate goal of our lives should be communion with our good and gracious God and an act of spiritual communion can help a person draw closer to that goal.

Lord Jesus,
I believe that You are truly
present in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment
receive You sacramentally in Holy Communion,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there
and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.
AMEN.

During these difficult times let us pray the following prayer:
Jesus traveled through towns and villages “curing every disease and illness.” At His command, the sick were made well.  We humbly ask you to come to our aid now and stay by our side in this time of uncertainty, confusion and pain, in the midst of the global spread of the coronavirus. Please heal those who have contracted the virus. Be with the doctors, nurses, researchers and all medical professionals who seek to heal and help those affected and who put themselves at risk in the process. May they know your protection and peace and may we all experience your healing love. AMEN.

NOTE: Any parishioner who may be in need of assistance of any kind, please contact the parish office 814-632-3070.

No public masses will be celebrated until further notice. All mass intentions will be fulfilled as requested as Father Jozef will celebrate masses
in private.  Sunday mass will be available on the parish’s Facebook page.

Reconciliation will be by appointment by calling the parish office 684-1480 since the annual Lenten reconciliation service has been canceled.

IMPORTANT UPDATE FROM BISHOP MARK:

Plenary Indulgence: Bishop Mark is also stressing that those impacted during this time are eligible to receive a Plenary Indulgence, which, according to the Catechism, removes the temporal punishment due to sin.
In the words of Pope John Paul II an indulgence is “the expression of the Church’s full confidence of being heard by the Father when – in view of Christ’s merits and by His gift, those of Our Lady and the saints – she asks Him to mitigate or cancel the painful aspect of punishment by fostering its medicinal aspect through other channels of grace.”

The conditions for the Plenary Indulgence include watching a televised Mass, praying the Rosary, the Stations of the Cross or other devotions, or at least receiving the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and a pious invocation to the Blessed Mother, offering this trial in a spirit of faith in God and Charity towards one’s brothers and sisters. There must be a true commitment to fulfilling the sacramental obligations of Reconciliation and Eucharist as soon as possible.

“People can be assured of the graces than can come from even these restricted opportunities for prayer,” Bishop Mark mentioned. “God’s grace goes past all of these boundaries. People should be comforted by that.”

Prayer for Easter
Jesus, you have risen,
so there is hope for me.
You are no longer in the
power of sin, of evil!
Love has triumphed,
mercy has been victorious!
God’s mercy always triumphs
because God’s love is stronger
than evil and death itself.
God’s love can transform our lives.
God’s love can do this!
–Pope Francis

THE FEAST OF MERCY ~ Divine Mercy Sunday

     Among all of the elements of devotion to The Divine Mercy requested by our Lord through Sr. Faustina, the Feast of Mercy holds first place. The Lord’s will with regard to its establishment was already made known in His first revelation to the saint. In all, there were 14 revelations concerning the desired feast.

     Once after insisting, “Do all you possibly can for this work of mercy,” Jesus added: “My Heart rejoices on account of this feast.” Sister Faustina concluded: “After these words, I understood that nothing can dispense me from the obligation which the Lord demands of me” (Diary, 998).

     Our Lord’s explicit desire is that this feast be celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. He joins the feast to the designated Sunday in eight revelations: Diary, 49, 88, 280, 299, 341, 570, 699, and 742. He also implies a connection between the feast and that Sunday on some other occasions recorded in the saint’s Diary (see Diary, 420, 89).

     The “First Sunday after Easter” ‑ which is designated in “The Liturgy of the Hours and the Celebration of the Eucharist” as the “Octave Day of Easter” ‑ was officially called the Second Sunday of Easter after the liturgical reform of Vatican II. Now, by the Decree of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the name of this liturgical day has been changed to: “Second Sunday of Easter, or of Divine Mercy.”

     Pope John Paul II made the surprise announcement of this change in his homily at the canonization of Sr. Faustina on April 30, 2000. There, he declared: “It is important then that we accept the whole message that comes to us from the word of God on this Second Sunday of Easter, which from now on throughout the Church, will be called ‘Divine Mercy Sunday.’ “

     The Holy Father continued to say, it becomes clear why Jesus insisted that the sacred image of Himself as The Divine Mercy is to be venerated throughout the world in connection with the observance of this Sunday (see Diary, 49, 88, 299, 341, 570, 742). The Holy Father said: “Before speaking these words, Jesus shows His hands and His side. He points, that is, to the wounds of the Passion, especially the wound in His Heart, the source from which flows the great wave of mercy poured out on humanity.

     “From that Heart, Sr. Faustina Kowalska, the blessed whom from now on we will call a saint, will see two rays of light shining from that Heart and illuminating the world: ‘The two rays,’ Jesus Himself explained to her one day, ‘represent blood and water’ (Diary, 299).

     “Blood and water! We immediately think of the testimony given by the Evangelist John, who, when a soldier on Calvary pierced Christ’s side with his spear, sees blood and water flowing from it (cf. Jn 19:34). Moreover, if the blood recalls the sacrifice of the Cross and the gift of the Eucharist, the water, in Johannine symbolism, represents not only Baptism but also the gift of the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 3:5; 4:14; 7:37‑39).

     “Divine Mercy reaches human beings through the Heart of Christ crucified: ‘Tell, My daughter, [all people] that I am Love and Mercy itself [personified]’ Jesus will ask of Sr. Faustina (Diary, 1074). Christ pours out this mercy on humanity through the sending of the Spirit who, in the Trinity, is the Person‑Love. And is not mercy love’s ‘second name’ (cf. Rich in Mercy, n.7), understood in its deepest and most tender aspect, in its ability to take upon itself the burden of any need and, especially, in its most immense capacity for forgiveness?”

Novena   In fact, Jesus Himself dictated the intentions for each day of the novena which starts on Good Friday and He desired to be celebrated as a preparation for the solemn observance of this feast.

Veneration of the Image   The image of Jesus, The Divine Mercy, is to have a special place of honor on the Feast of Mercy, a visual reminder of all that Jesus did for us through His Passion, Death, and Resurrection … and a reminder, too, of what He asks of us in return ‑ to trust Him and be merciful to others:     “I want the image to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter, and I want it to be venerated publicly so that every soul may know about it” (341).

A Special Promise of Mercy     Our Lord’s promise to grant complete forgiveness of sins and punishment on the Feast of Mercy is recorded three times in the Diary of Saint Faustina, each time in a slightly different way:

“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” (1109).

     “Whoever approaches the Fountain of Life on this day will be granted complete forgiveness of sins and punishment” (300).

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

Extraordinary Graces     Our Lord is emphasizing, through this promise, the infi­nite value of Confession and Communion as miracles of mercy. He wants us to realize that since the Eucharist is His own Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, it is the “Fountain of Life” (300). The Eucharist is Jesus, Himself, the Living God, longing to pour Himself as Mercy into our hearts.

     In His revelations to Saint Faustina Our Lord makes it very clear what He is offering us in Holy Communion and how much it hurts Him when we treat His presence with indifference:

     So, Our Lord’s promise of complete forgiveness is both a reminder and a call. It is a reminder that He is truly present and truly alive in the Eucharist, filled with love for us and waiting for us to turn to Him with trust. And it is a call for us all to be washed clean in His Love through Confession and Holy Communion ‑ no matter how terrible our sins ‑ and begin our lives again. He is offering us a new start.

Prepare Yourself Properly

Going to Confession is not the only way we should prepare ourselves for Divine Mercy Sunday.

Thus, to fittingly observe the Feast of Mercy, we should:

  1. Celebrate the Feast on the Sunday after Easter;
  2. Sincerely repent of all our sins;
  3. Place our complete trust in Jesus;
  4. Go to Confession, preferably before that Sunday;
  5. Receive Holy Communion on the day of the Feast;
  6. Venerate the Image of The Divine Mercy;
  7. Be merciful to others, through our actions, words,

     and prayers on their behalf.

Families and the Gospel                                     John 20:19-31
“Whose sins you forgive, are forgiven” means the grudges we carry only make us miserable. The Kingdom of God begin s in your home where children learn the paths to peach promised in today’s gospel through merciful and forgiving demonstrations by the parents. 

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