The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge celebrated Divine Mercy Sunday on April 3, 2016, with Mass and the praying of the Divine Mercy Chaplet at Saint Joseph Church in Raleigh.
In his homily at the Mass, the Bishop said, “Our Lord Jesus conveyed to Saint Faustina and to us the need to completely trust in Him; in His power to forgive sins; to fill us with peace; to give us the strength to forgive one another.” Bishop Burbidge continued, “His mercy is pure gift, not one we have to earn. Today, above all else, we pray for an increase of faith so that we can may say “Jesus, I trust in you.”’
Following Mass, a procession from the Sacred Heart Shrine on the parish grounds began the Divine Mercy Prayer Service. The Bishop and Msgr. Jeffrey Ingham, pastor of Saint Joseph, along with the faithful, processed into the church. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament began, while the Bishop, Msgr. Ingham and Msgr. Joseph K. Oji heard confessions. The Bishop presided in choir as Msgr. Ingham led the faithful in praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet and Benediction. Many present stayed after Benediction to venerate the Divine Mercy image.
The message and devotion to Jesus as The Divine Mercy is based on the writings of Saint Faustina Kowalska, an uneducated Polish nun who, in obedience to her spiritual director, wrote a diary of about 600 pages recording the revelations she received about God’s mercy. Even before her death in 1938, the devotion to The Divine Mercy had begun to spread.
The devotion was actively promoted by Pope John Paul II who, on April 30, 2000, canonized Saint Faustina and officially designated the Sunday after Easter as the Sunday of the Divine Mercy in the General Roman Calendar. In June 2002, Pope John Paul II granted indulgences to Catholics who recite specific prayers on that day. The Chaplet is a Rosary-based prayer recited with the same set of beads used for praying the Holy Rosary.