Divine Mercy Sunday is April 16th
What is Divine Mercy Sunday?
Jesus told St. Faustina that he wanted to designate the Sunday after Easter as a feast during which those who participate would receive a plenary indulgence without the normal requirment of perfect contrition.
What is perfect contrition?
We all are familiar with the Act of Contrition we pray as part of Confession:
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins because of thy just punishments, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of Thy grace to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin. Amen.
We express contrition with the words:
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, I detest all my sins
concern for how it affects us is and expression of imperfect contrition
because of thy just punishments
but when primary concern for how it affects God is the basis of our contrition, that raises it to the level of perfect contrition
but most of all because they offend Thee, my God
Perfect contrition is a high bar few ever reach in this life. The Extraordinary Graces of the Feast of Divine Mercy lower this bar for a day.
The Extraordinary Graces of the Feast of Divine Mercy
In her Diary, St. Faustina recorded this message from Jesus regarding the Feast of Divine Mercy.
"Yes, the first Sunday after Easter is the Feast of Mercy, but there must also be acts of mercy (742) . . . .
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) . . . .
The graces of My mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only, and that is trust. The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive (1578)."
These extraordinary graces restore us to our baptismal state.
How to obtain the extraordinary graces of the feast
Receive Holy Communion worthily on the feast or its vigil having made a good confession beforehand and remaining in a state of grace and trusting in Jesus' Divine Mercy
How to observe the feast
Go to Mass on the feast or its vigil
Receive Holy Communion on the feast or its vigil
Make a sincere confession before or on the day of the feast
Place your complete trust in Jesus
Venerate the image of the Divine Mercy
Show mercy to others in word, deed, and prayer for them
A plenary indulgence is also available
In ADDITION to the Extraordinary Graces of the feast, Pope St. John Paul also institututed A SECOND "plenary indulgence, granted under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer for the intentions of Supreme Pontiff) to the faithful who, on the Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday, 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 honour of Divine Mercy, or who, 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!)..."
What is a plenary indulgence?
Indulgences lessen or even totally eliminate the need to be purged from our attachment to sin through purgatory. A plenary indulgence can be obtained on behalf of others.
Even after the obstacle to heaven is removed in a good confession, we are still left with the prospect of needing to be purged of our attachment to sin, thus a period in purgatory. If our sorrow for our sins reaches the level of perfect contrition we are able to obtain plenary indulgences, allowing us or others to bypass purgatory. Imperfect contrition will subtract from but not completely remove the necessity of purgatory. This is called a partial indulgence.