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Shrine Announces Mercy Sunday Weekend Plans

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By Dan Valenti (Apr 21, 2011)
When you combine the estimates of 15,000 to 20,000 pilgrims and the 500 to 600 volunteers to serve them, you get the makings of another memorable Divine Mercy Sunday Weekend at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass. This year's celebration will take place this Saturday and Sunday, April 30-May 1.

The principal celebrant at the Solemn Liturgy on Divine Mercy Sunday, May 1, will be the Very Rev. Dan Cambra, MIC, Provincial Superior for the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception.

During the weekend, pilgrims will have two full days to partake of many spiritual and educational activities. For those who can come on Saturday, the Marians are hosting their annual Mercy Weekend Conference. Titled "Making Time for God in Your Busy Life," the conference is designed for busy people, parents, and parish leaders. We invite you to register now.

On Saturday and Sunday, tents will be set up for prayer, activities, and various groups associated with the Marians. Look for tents for confessions, Adoration, the Divine Mercy Gift Shop, and more.

Two outdoor Masses will be celebrated: the Vigil Mass on Saturday at 4 p.m. and Sunday's Solemn Liturgy at 1 p.m. In addition, food will be available for purchase. There will also be first aid, restrooms, and lots of helpful volunteers to make you feel at home.

Visit our website for the full weekend schedule.

A Beatification Celebration!
Of course on everyone's mind on May 1 will be the beatification Pope John Paul II, who helped put the message and devotion to Divine Mercy "on the map" of the Church. From his youth, he had a lifelong devotion to Divine Mercy as Jesus revealed it to Sr. Faustina, an obscure Polish nun, in the 1930s. She recorded these revelations in her Diary, which has gone on to become a classic of spiritual literature.

A main aspect of the Pope's effort to spread word of the message and devotion was his elevation of Divine Mercy Sunday — the other title for the Second Sunday of Easter — as an official feast day of the universal Church. The opening prayer for the liturgy of that day reveals the significance of Divine Mercy Sunday:

"God of mercy, you wash away our sins in water, you give us new birth in the Spirit, and [you] redeem us in the blood of Christ. As we celebrate Christ's resurrection, increase our awareness of these blessings and renew your gift of life within us."

A Big Day for John Paul II
As a young man, the formative years of Karol Wojtyla — the future John Paul II — were shaped by the crucible of world war, Nazi atrocities, the rape of his beloved country, Poland, and untold suffering. As a priest, bishop, and cardinal, Wojtyla began to counteract the influence and effect of 20th century evil through his devotion to the message of Divine Mercy.

Pope John Paul II made Divine Mercy one of the themes of his papacy. In doing so, he brought this joyful message and devotion to the world stage.

On Divine Mercy Sunday, May 1, the Venerable Servant of God will be raised to the honors of the altar when he is beatified by his successor, Pope Benedict XVI. It will be the first time in 10 centuries that a Pope has beatified his immediate predecessor.

Saturday Conference: 'Making Time for God'
The theme of the Marians' Mercy Weekend conference could be used to describe how Pope John Paul II made God first in His life.

It will include presentations by the Very Rev. Fr. Dan Cambra, MIC, provincial superior of the Marians; Fr. Jim McCormack, MIC, prefect of formation and assistant novice master; and a speaker to be announced.

The next day, May 1, Eden Hill will host one of the largest observances of Divine Mercy Sunday in the world. The gathering at the National Shrine will place special emphasis on Pope John Paul II, taking as its theme the title of the Holy Father's encyclical Rich in Mercy. The Sunday theme will be "God the Father, Rich in Mercy."

"John Paul II desired that all would partake of the Father's merciful love," says Fr. Kazimierz Chwalek, MIC, director of evangelization and development. "This love heals human misery, forgives sin, and give life to all who seek Him. JPII blessed countless souls through his ministry, and now his successor, Pope Benedict XVI, will declare him blessed as a sign of God's merciful love for us all."

For further information, please contact the Shrine.

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