Saint Faustina’s Feast Added to General Roman Calendar

On the 100th anniversary of St. John Paul II’s birthday, and on the birthday and feast day of St. Stanislaus Papczynski (1631-1701), the Vatican has announced that St. Faustina’s Oct. 5 feast will be entered into the General Roman Calendar — that is, it shall be celebrated all around the world for the first time. “This new memorial shall be inserted into all the Calendars and liturgical books for the celebration of the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours, adopting the liturgical texts attached to this decree… .”

Saint Stanislaus Papczynski is the Founder of the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, the religious order of men commissioned by St. John Paul II to “Be apostles of Divine Mercy under the maternal and loving guidance of Mary” at their General Chapter in Rome on June 22, 1993. In a written message to the Marians at their Chapter the month before his death on April 2, 2005, St. John Paul sent the Marians a written message in which he echoed this charge: “Be apostles and witnesses of Divine Mercy for everyone.”

The Marians have been official promoters of Divine Mercy since 1941. In 1981, the Marians prepared and published the original Polish edition of the Diary of Sr. Faustina, whose cause of canonization was initiated by St. John Paul II when he was archbishop of Krakow. The Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska serves as the source book of the Divine Mercy message and devotion as revealed by Jesus to St. Faustina. John Paul II quoted from it on a visit to Sr. Faustina’s tomb, at her beatification and her canonization, and when he entrusted the world to the Divine Mercy.

His successor, Pope Benedict XVI, opened the first World Apostolic Congress on Mercy in 2008 in Rome, launching a triennial global congress on Divine Mercy as well as a whole constellation of continental, national, and regional congresses on mercy.

More recently, in 2015, Pope Francis declared an extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, which ran from Dec. 8, 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, to Nov. 20, 2016, the Solemnity of Christ the King. In the papal bull that launched the jubilee, Misericordiae Vultus (The Face of Mercy), Pope Francis cited the great saints of Divine Mercy, especially “the great apostle of mercy, Saint Faustina Kowalska. May she, who was called to enter the depths of divine mercy, intercede for us and obtain for us the grace of living and walking always according to the mercy of God and with an unwavering trust in his love.” He would go on to visit her tomb in the international Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Lagiewniki, Poland, during World Youth Day in Krakow. The devotions to the Divine Mercy transmitted to the Church by Jesus through St. Faustina played a large role in the Jubilee Year and in the 2016 World Youth Day in Poland.

The official decree adding St. Faustina’s feast to the General Roman Calendar offers a brief overview of St. Faustina’s life and spirituality, saying:

“His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation” (Lk 1: 50). What the Virgin Mary sang in the Magnificat, contemplating the salvific work of God in favour of every human generation, found an echo in the spiritual encounters of Saint Faustina Kowalska who, through a heavenly gift, saw in the Lord Jesus Christ the merciful face of the Father and became its herald.

Born in the village of Głogowiec, near Łódź, in Poland in 1905, and dying in Krakow in 1938, Saint Faustina spent her short life amongst the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, generously conforming herself to the vocation she received from God and developing an intense spiritual life, rich in spiritual gifts and in faithful harmony with them. In the Diary of her soul, the sanctuary of her encounter with the Lord Jesus, she herself recounts what the Lord worked in her for the benefit of all: listening to Him who is Love and Mercy she understood that no human wretchedness could measure itself against the mercy which ceaselessly pours from the heart of Christ. Thus she became the inspiration for a movement dedicated to proclaiming and imploring Divine Mercy throughout the whole world. Canonized in the year 2000 by Saint John Paul II, the name of Faustina quickly became known around the world, thereby promoting in all the parts of the People of God, Pastors and lay faithful alike, the invocation of Divine Mercy and its credible witness in the conduct of the lives of believers.

Saint John Paul II taught in Memory and Identity, his last book, that "the limit imposed upon evil, of which man is both perpetrator and victim, is ultimately the Divine Mercy." Let us turn to St. Faustina and to the Divine Mercy that she loved and served so faithfully, offering them our love and asking them to place a limit on the evil the world faces in this time of pandemic, of turmoil and fear. Now is the time of mercy, we are promised (see Diary, 848). Let us claim the promises of Divine Mercy for ourselves and for our neighbors, taking up the message and devotion and sharing their graces with our families, friends, and parishes.

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