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.