Divine Mercy Sunday and COVID-19
Divine Mercy Sunday
is April 19, 2020
Watch Fr. Chris Alar explain how to receive the Extraordinary Graces of Divine Mercy Sunday while all Churches are closed...
"...one of the most common questions I've been getting during this time of the coronavirus is 'Father, I can't get to Confession, and I can't receive Holy Communion. Am I still able to receive Grace?' And the answer is, if you desire it, YES!!! Why? Because God's Mercy is that great. You know, we hear St. Faustina talk all the time about the unfathomable Mercy of God,
so stop trying to fathom it..."
Q. Aren't I supposed to go to Confession and receive Holy Communion to receive the graces of Divine Mercy Sunday? Can I even celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday this year when every single Church I know is closed?
A. Yes! You should celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday on April 19, 2020, more than you ever have before. The Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception (the publishers of the Diary of St. Faustina) encourage the following:
Please remember that the extraordinary grace of Divine Mercy Sunday is available to you on that day by receiving Holy Communion in a state of grace. Consider going to Confession prior to Easter, so as not to overwhelm your local parish on Divine Mercy Sunday.
...[I]f that is not possible, please remember that you can obtain the graces available on this day by receiving Jesus in your heart with great longing and love — also known as making an act of Spiritual Communion. God will give you all the graces you need because of your great trust in Him. God does not abandon anyone. He is especially close to the broken-hearted and those bound by disease, sin, despair, loneliness, or physical handicaps.
We ask you to join us in praying for all those around the world who have been exposed to or who will be affected by this virus. We ask God for His assistance that we may speedily overcome this disease.
If you are homebound or otherwise cannot attend Mass on Divine Mercy Sunday, you may wish to watch Mass on local television or EWTN.
Q. What if I'm not Catholic? Can I receive the graces of Divine Mercy Sunday?
A. Don't worry, even if you're not a Baptized Catholic, you are NOT excluded from receiving blessings on this day. Jesus, Himself tell us in the Gospel of John that: "No one who comes to Me shall ever be hungry, no one who believes in Me shall ever thirst. No one who comes will I ever reject." (John 6:35-37)
Non-Catholics are asked to do two things:
1) Sincerely Repent: Humbly confess your sins, trusting in Christ's Mercy and His desire to forgive you.
2) Make an Act of Spiritual Communion: Sincerely express your desire to be One with Jesus—to be in Communion with Him. Do so with the greatest trust you can muster, since Jesus said, "I am making Myself dependent upon your trust: if your trust is great, then My generosity will be without limit." (Diary, 548).
Q. What else can I do during this time of crisis and confusion in the Church and the world?
A. The Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception are encouraging all people to seal their doorposts as an act of Trust in the protection of God during these, times, just as the Israelites sealed their doorposts with the blood of the lamb so that the Angel of Death would pass over their homes. Their website explains:
In this time of calamity, the Marian Fathers invite you to participate in a simple but incredibly powerful act of faith. To protect you and your family, we urge you to post an Image of the Divine Mercy on your front doors. Father Chris Alar, MIC, explains why:
If you don’t have this Image, please visit TheDivineMercy.org/DivineMercyImage and download it for free and print it out. If you are unable to have it blessed by a priest, the Church allows you to invoke a blessing yourself. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1669) teaches that lay people, on account of their baptismal priesthood, may administer certain blessings.
How can you invoke such a blessing upon the Image of Divine Mercy? While making the Sign of the Cross over the Image, say:
"Oh, Lord, I seek your blessing upon this image, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen."
Why is this Image so important?
The Image represents the Lord, the Lamb sacrificed for us, from whose Heart flows Blood and Water, the streams of God’s mercy upon the whole world. The Lord promises us through St. Faustina “that the soul that will venerate [honor] this image will not perish” (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 48).
He also promises: “victory over [our] enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death” and to “defend [us] as [His] own glory” (Diary, 48)
The Lord said, “By means of this Image I shall be granting many graces to souls; so, let every soul have access to it” (Diary, 570).
Saint Faustina’s confessor, Blessed Michael Sopocko, recalled additional promises our Lord made through St. Faustina regarding the Image:
When chastisements for sins come upon the world and your own country will experience utter degradation, the only refuge will be trust in My mercy. I will protect the cities and homes in which The Divine Mercy Image is found; I will protect the persons who will venerate [honor] this Image. The only refuge will be trust in My Mercy.
Father Sopocko recalled that Jesus also said:
Let everyone procure for their homes this Image because there will yet come trials. And those homes, and entire families, and everyone individually who will hold this image of mercy in deep reverence, I will preserve from every sort of misfortune. The time will come when all those who do so will give witness to the miraculous efficacy and to the special protection of mercy flowing from this Image.
What does this mean for us today?
Recently, as the repercussions of the coronavirus became crystal clear, we prayed at Mass, “Let us seal the doorposts of our inner thoughts with the protective Word of God …” This is a reference to Exodus 12, where God commanded the Israelites to “seal the doorposts” with the blood of the lamb so that the angel of death may pass over those houses that have been marked.
Jesus is the sacrificial Lamb of God. By offering Himself as atonement for our sins and those of the whole world, by the outpouring of His Blood and Water, He freed us from eternal death and sealed us for eternal life.
So please, I urge you to put the Image of the Divine Mercy with the inscription “Jesus, I trust in You” upon your doors, as many have done in times of calamity. Remember, it is Jesus whom we worship in this Image.
Also, while this act of faith may not guarantee your family won’t be physically affected by the virus, it will guarantee that, by your trust in Jesus, you will obtain His promises of love and mercy, which will surround you and remain in you forever.