Photo: Marian archives
On May 30, 1960, the Most Rev. Christopher J. Weldon, Bishop of Springfield, Mass., arrives on Eden Hill to dedicate the Shrine.
By Dan Valenti (May 25, 2010)
Considering the average human life span, a jubilee year is rare. Most experience but one 50-year anniversary in a lifetime, though a few blessed souls live through two. What is not rare, however, are the words and works, the ideas and realities that sustain something for 50 years and counting.
This year, the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass., observes its Golden Jubilee.
The Shrine came about because the Marian Fathers had outgrown the small chapel at their monastery on Eden Hill in Stockbridge, Mass., and their lay associates had suggested building a shrine in thanksgiving to God's mercy. In May 1950, workers broke ground for what would become one of the most beautiful small shrines in the world.
'A Spiritual Oasis'
On May 30, 1960, the Most Rev. Christopher J. Weldon, Bishop of Springfield, Mass., dedicated the Shrine to God's mercy.
Fifty years to the day (minus one) later — on Saturday, May 29 — the current Bishop of Springfield, the Most Rev. Timothy McDonnell, will rededicate what is now known as the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy.
"The Golden Jubilee will serve as a joyous occasion not only for the Marians but also for their many benefactors, friends, and supporters," says Carol Scott, events director. "This holy place, dedicated to the mercy of God, has been a spiritual oasis for generations. We welcome all pilgrims as we step into the first day of our second 50 years."
The day will begin at 9 a.m., with pilgrims encouraged to visit the Shrine or walk the grounds on Eden Hill. They can also enjoy a pictorial history of the Shrine, which will be on display in a tent on the grounds.
From 11 a.m. to noon, Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, Marian vocation director and prominent speaker and author, will give a personal testimony and then sign his books. At 12:30 p.m., a Rosary for Life will be prayed at the Mother of Mercy Outdoor Shrine, located on the south lawn of the National Shrine. Following the Rosary, pilgrims will be invited to proceed to the front of the Shrine for Bishop McDonnell's rededication.
Plenary indulgence offered
The bishop will celebrate Holy Mass at 1:30 p.m. at the outdoor shrine. At the beginning of Mass, Shrine Rector Fr. Anthony Gramlich, MIC, will welcome pilgrims and introduce Br. Leonard Konopka, MIC, who will share how he assisted in the building of the Shrine in the 1950s, when he was a young Marian in formation.
Following the Mass, pilgrims will be invited to participate in the singing of the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy and Benediction. Confessions will be available throughout the day.
For the entire year, pilgrims visiting the National Shrine can gain a plenary indulgence granted by the Vatican. To gain it, pilgrims must be completely detached from sin, go to confession, attend Mass and receive Holy Communion, and pray for the intentions of the Holy Father shortly before, during, or after their visit. Learn more about the plenary indulgence.