God's Mercy Rains Down

EWTN's on the grounds. The pilgrims are arriving. And God's graces are already flowing on the Vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday here at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

"Fr. Seraphim [Michalenko, MIC] would say you're in the most important day in the most important feast of the most important year" on Divine Mercy Sunday in the extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, said Fr. Chris Alar, MIC (above), director of the Association of Marian Helpers, to around 200 people at the Mercy Weekend Annual Conference at the Stockbridge Sportsmen's Club.

For more than 10 years now, the conference has brought Marian priests and brothers together with speakers from all walks of life to share the message and power of Divine Mercy for the world today.

With humor and fervor, Fr. Chris shared some stories of his own personal encounters with God's grace and truth throughout his life, mixing catechesis with witness as he spoke before an international audience including attendees from at least as far away as Wisconsin, Montana, and Canada.

Taking the conference goers on a quick tour of the three acts of Divine Mercy (creation, redemption, and the apocalypse when God shall be all in all), he explained that we are created to go forth from God and to return to communion with Him. But humanity messes it up a lot.

"We're knuckleheads! That's why we need Mercy Sunday!" Fr. Chris exclaimed. We've been given every grace and the fullness of revelation through Jesus Christ, he explained, and yet we still fall. Our only hope is the mercy of God.

"I won't pass through the doors of God's justice. He'll send me down. I have to depend on His mercy," said Fr. Chris, referring to the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, entry 1146, which reads in part: He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice. Father Chris continued, "Jesus, the Bridegroom, wants us to be spotless when we enter Heaven." And that's the reason we've been given Divine Mercy Sunday: The graces available through receiving Holy Communion in the state of grace on Mercy Sunday give us the complete remission of all our sins, as well as remission of the temporal punishment due for those sins.

Check out the full video of his talk:

God's incredible mercy is one of the great mysteries of the faith, mediated through the Church. That mercy was on offer throughout the day on Eden Hill, as priests heard confessions and the Eucharistic Lord was present for Adoration. Due to the rain and wind, the outdoor Vigil Mass for Divine Mercy Sunday (which does count for the extraordinary graces available on the feast itself) was delayed for a while. Father Anthony Gramlich, MIC, rector of the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, was lead celebrant, thanking the pilgrims for their endurance.

But weather aside, all in all, it was still a blessed day, as participants gladly witnessed.

"It's beautiful," said Karen Browning, a parishioner at St. Josaphat's in Cheektowaga, New York. "This is extraordinary. This is wonderful."

She'd heard of Divine Mercy and St. Faustina within the past few years, she shared. "Somebody in the parish gave out a book about her life. I read about it, and I said, 'Wow, this is cool stuff! She's a prophet! This is wonderful.'"

When she was growing up, Karen said, "you didn't hear about the merciful God. You didn't hear about the incredible amount of mercy, unfathomable, so this is awesome. And to find out that there's actually a day where you can start out like right after your Baptism? I tell everybody about it! Just got my hair done, and the poor girl doing my hair heard all about it! She was a captive audience. So all of it is excellent. I wish that everyone would just open their eyes and ears and their hearts and listen. It's wonderful."

As the Marian Fathers welcomed pilgrims to Eden Hill, some members of the Congregation were in Rome for the European Apostolic Congress on Mercy, running from March 31-April 3, and the Jubilee for those devoted to the Spirituality of Divine Mercy, running from April 1-3.

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The following is the Divine Mercy Sunday homily delivered by the Most Rev. Mitchell Rozanski, bishop of the Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts.
Divine Mercy Sunday is the heart of the Jubilee Year: Read the FULL TEXT of Pope Francis' homily on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 3, 2016.
Despite wind and snow, the pilgrims came in their thousands, seeking the Divine Mercy.