Divine Mercy Sunday
St. Louis De Montfort -Orthodox Easter -Holocaust Remembrance
Revelation, Chapter 1, Verse 17-18
When I caught sight of him, I fell down at his feet as though dead. He touched me with his right hand and said, “Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last,the one who lives. Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever. I hold the keys to death and the netherworld.
All have sinned; all are unjust. Have you ever thought “Now comes the reckoning for his blood” as Joseph’s brothers did (OT: coat of many colors)? Yet, the Lord has touched us, and it is important to note that he has touched us with his right hand; signifying power, forgiveness and authority saying, “Do not be afraid”.
Saint Pope John Paul II was an example of someone who walked through the valley of the shadow of death and feared no evil. The Lord’s rod and staff sustained him through the nightmare of the Nazis and the Communists. Both were evil empires devoted to the destruction of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all except for the few selected elites. These empires systematically replaced God with the rule of the chosen ones of the State. People from both the Fatherland and the Motherland sat by and watched the evil grow without taking decisive action, making the adage ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men (or women) do nothing.’ Remember to measure our nation and our politics with Gods Rod (Rods were often used in ancient times to measure) and not the political States or the media nor the opinion of the rich and the powerful. Let us be ever ready to speak up for what is righteous using Gods rod, which are His laws of justice and mercy, working tirelessly and remember Saint Pope John Paul II words of encouragement, “I plead with you – never, ever give up on hope, never doubt, never tire, and never become discouraged. Be not afraid.”
Let us also carry with us for the journey the Staff of God, which is truth, not worldly truth but Gods truth. “The word of truth, publicly, indeed almost liturgically, proclaimed was the antidote the Rhapsodic Theater sought to apply to the violent lies of the Occupation. The tools for fighting evil included speaking truth to power.” 
Satan has in the past assailed us by evil governments; is it any wonder that having been unsuccessful; that now the attack comes from within. Let us remember it is Christ who holds the keys to death and the netherworld.
Divine Mercy Sunday
Reflect what it took to make Christ the gentle shepherd of our souls: For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.
Come to the Feast of Divine Mercy! Calling all Catholics, come to the Feast of Mercy on the Sunday after Easter. Did you know that the Lord said that this feast would one day be the “last hope of salvation”? Have you considered what would happen to you if you suddenly died in the state of mortal sin? Did you know that in the 1930’s Our Lord Jesus, Himself requested through St. Faustina that a very special Feast of Divine Mercy be established in His Church and solemnly celebrated on the First Sunday after Easter every year?
In the Jubilee Year 2000, after many years of study, Saint Pope John Paul II fulfilled the will of Christ by establishing this special Feast of Divine Mercy in the Catholic Church and gave it the name of Divine Mercy Sunday! By God’s Providence, Saint John Paul II died on this feast in 2005. What is so special about this new Feast of Divine Mercy you might be asking yourself?
It is the promise of the total forgiveness of all sins and punishment for any soul that would go to Confession and then receive Jesus in Holy Communion on that very special Feast of Divine Mercy! Why would Jesus offer us something so great at this time?
Jesus told St. Faustina that she was to prepare the world for His Second Coming and that He would be pouring out His Mercy in very great abundance before He comes again as the Just Judge and as the very last hope of salvation. If you have been away from the practice of your Catholic faith, and if you would like to come back into the, one, true Catholic Church, then this is the most perfect opportunity for you, if you are prepared to repent and turn from sin. Many former fallen-away Catholics have taken advantage of this great Feast of Mercy to get a brand-new start in life and to be totally prepared to stand before the Lord.
If you have been away from the Catholic faith and if you have any questions about coming back home, then come in and talk to a priest at any Catholic Church. The beauty of the Catholic Church is that its teachings and practices are the same at all the parishes. You may have concerns, such as: marriage outside of the Church; un-confessed abortions; or other issues that could be preventing you from receiving Holy Communion or you may have questions about the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Don’t remain in doubt. Call your local parish office to find out the necessary steps to come back to the Catholic faith. Don’t consider yourself as without hope. Our Lord Jesus wants to pardon completely even the worst sinners possible. Remember, Jesus has come for sinners, not the righteous. Jesus said that even if our sins were as numerous as the grains of sand, they would be lost in His Ocean of Mercy. If you are truly repentant of your sins and are well prepared to confess your sins in the Sacrament of Confession, you’ll experience a tremendous peace. You’ll experience a great weight lifted from you and get a brand-new start in life! Once you have confessed your sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, then you must continue to practice your faith as a good Catholic. This involves attending Mass every Sunday and on Holy Days of Obligation, supporting your local parish, and confessing your serious sins at least once a year. In Confession, you must be truly sorry for your sins and you must intend to continue to practice your faith.
Jesus is in the Confessional
One of the most reassuring things Our Lord Jesus revealed to us through Saint Faustina includes the several times when He indicated to her that He is really there in the Confessional when we are making our individual Confessions to the priests. Jesus said that every time we enter the Confessional, that He Himself is there waiting for us, and that He is only hidden by the priest. Jesus said never to analyze what sort of a priest that He is making use of, but for us to reveal our souls to Him and that He will fill us with His peace and light. Some have wondered why Jesus would want us to confess our sins to a priest, but the answer is in the very first instruction that Jesus gave to His Apostles directly after His Resurrection from the dead. On the evening of the Resurrection, Jesus walked through the door of the Upper Room where the Apostles were hiding and said to them “Receive the Holy Spirit, what sins you forgive are forgiven them, what sins you retain are retained”. This was the start of Confessions. For sure, that command was not only for the Apostles to be able to forgive sins, and then to be forgotten, but for that power to be passed on to all the ordained priests of today in the Catholic Church. Jesus said that the greater the sinner, the greater the right they have to His mercy! Don’t continue to carry your sins, Jesus forgives!
To properly celebrate the Feast of Divine Mercy and to receive the forgiveness of all sins and punishment, you must go to Confession to a Catholic priest within 20 days before or after Divine Mercy Sunday. Or if you are in the state of very serious or mortal sin, you must always confess them before receiving Jesus in Holy Communion, or you will also commit a sacrilege, which is also a very serious sin. If you haven’t been going to Sunday Mass without any good reason, you may be in a state of serious sin and you must confess before receiving Jesus in Holy Communion. For more information about the Feast of Divine Mercy and a Confession Guide, go to: http://www.DivineMercySunday.com or call 772-873-4581.
Jesus to Sr. Faustina
On one occasion, I heard these words: "My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come forth from the very depths of My most tender mercy. Every soul in its relation to Me will contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity. The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy.
"From all My wounds, like from streams, mercy flows for souls, but the wound in My Heart is the fountain of unfathomable mercy. From this fountain spring all graces for souls. The flames of compassion burn Me. I desire greatly to pour them out upon souls. Speak to the whole world about My mercy."
Excerpted from Diary of Sr. M. Faustina Kowalska.
Things to Do:
- Read the Apostolic Peniteniary Decree on the Indulgences attached to devotions in honour of Divine Mercy
- Read Dives in misericordia, the encyclical Letter of John Paul II on Mercy.
First Sunday after Easter
Called Dominica in Albis, or Low Sunday.
WHY is this Sunday called Dominica in Albis, (White Sunday)? Because, in the earlier times, those who had been baptized on Holy Saturday on this day laid aside the white garments which they had then received, and put on their necks an, “Agnus Dei” made of white wax, and blessed by the Pope, to remind them continually that they were bound to preserve that innocence unstained. The Church therefore sings, at the Introit of the Mass, as new-born babes, alleluia, desire the rational milk without guile, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia (1 Pet. ii. 2). Rejoice to God our helper; sing aloud to the God of Jacob. Ps. Ixxx. 1).
Prayer. Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that we who have performed the paschal solemnities, may, by Thy grace, preserve them in our life and conduct.
EPISTLE, i. John v. 4-10.
Dearly Beloved: Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory which overcometh the world, our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
This is he that came by water and blood, Jesus Christ: not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit which testifieth, that Christ is the truth. And there are three Who give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. And these three are one. And there are three that give testimony on earth: the spirit, and the water, and the blood, and these three are one. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater. For this is the testimony of God, which is greater, because He hath testified of His Son. He that believeth in the Son of God, hath the testimony of God in himself.
Explanation. By loving faith in Jesus as the Son of God, we can surely overcome the world, because that faith shows us in God, our Father; in the world to come, our true country; in Jesus, our example ; teaching us to love God above all things, to disregard the world, and worldly goods, and to strive for the eternal. That Jesus is the Son of God, St. John shows:
1. By the threefold testimony on earth, of the water at the baptism in Jordan, of the blood at the death on the cross, of the spirit in the miraculous effects wrought in those that believed.
2. By the threefold testimony from heaven of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
Aspiration. O Jesus, I believe in Thee, as the Son of the living God! Grant that through this faith I may victoriously combat the flesh, the world, the devil, and every inclination to evil, and obtain everlasting life.
GOSPEL. John xx. 19-31.
Why does Jesus so often say, Peace be to you? To signify that He had restored peace between God and man; to show how men might know His disciples; and how necessary to salvation the preservation of peace is.
Why did God permit Thomas to disbelieve the appearance of Christ to the other disciples? That we might thereby be strengthened in faith, for as Christ took away all doubt from Thomas, by appearing again, the resurrection of Christ by that means becomes, as St. Gregory says, so much the more credible and certain.
What is it to believe in God? To receive as immovably certain what God has revealed to us, although we cannot understand it.
What must we, therefore, believe? All that God has revealed.
Why must we believe all this? Because God, the infallible truth, has revealed it. This belief is as necessary to salvation as it is reasonable in itself.
How can we certainly know what God has or has not revealed, and which this one true faith is? Through His Church, which is guided by the Holy Ghost to all truth, and in which Jesus Christ dwells till the end of time.
How can we know the Church of Christ? By this, that, like the truth, she is one, holy, apostolic, and catholic.
Which is this true Church of Christ? The Roman Catholic, since she alone possesses the abovementioned marks of the true Church. She alone has preserved unity in faith and in the holy sacraments, and is subordinate to one visible head, the Pope. She alone can trace her derivation from the apostles to the present day, and can demonstrate this origin as well by her doctrine, as by the succession of her popes and bishops. She alone has all the means of salvation, and she alone has produced saints. Finally, she alone embraces all ages, and shines, as St. Augustine says, from one end of the world to the other, in the splendor of one and the same faith, inviting all to her bosom, to bring them to Jesus.
What answer should a Catholic make to objections against the Mass, purgatory, and such like? He should say, I believe these and the like matters of faith, because God, Who is Truth, has revealed them: I believe that He has thus revealed them, because the Roman Catholic Church, which teaches them to me, has all the marks of the true Church of Christ, guided by God, and cannot therefore deceive me.
Is it sufficient for salvation to have the true faith, and to belong to the true Church? No; we must live according to that faith, that is, we must observe what it commands, avoid what it forbids, and often, particularly in temptation, make an act of faith.
St. Louis Mary de Montfort
Louis' life is inseparable from his efforts to promote genuine devotion to Mary, the mother of Jesus and mother of the church. Totus tuus (completely yours) was Louis's personal motto; Karol Wojtyla chose it as his episcopal motto. Born in the Breton village of Montfort, close to Rennes (France), as an adult Louis identified himself by the place of his baptism instead of his family name, Grignion. After being educated by the Jesuits and the Sulpicians, he was ordained as a diocesan priest in 1700. Soon he began preaching parish missions throughout western France. His years of ministering to the poor prompted him to travel and live very simply, sometimes getting him into trouble with church authorities. In his preaching, which attracted thousands of people back to the faith, Father Louis recommended frequent, even daily, Holy Communion (not the custom then!) and imitation of the Virgin Mary's ongoing acceptance of God's will for her life. Louis founded the Missionaries of the Company of Mary (for priests and brothers) and the Daughters of Wisdom, who cared especially for the sick. His book, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, has become a classic explanation of Marian devotion. Louis died in Saint-Laurent-sur-Sevre, where a basilica has been erected in his honor. He was canonized in 1947.
Things to Do
· Read a longer biography of St. Louis de Montfort's life.
· Consider making the consecration to Mary recommended by St. Louis de Montfort.
· Resolve to pray the rosary daily starting today.
· Learn about the Missionaries of the Company of Mary (Montfort Missionaries) and support their work with your prayers, sacrifices and financial offerings.
Orthodox Easter commemorates Jesus' resurrection three days after his crucifixion and death. Following his death, he was removed from the cross and hastily buried in a tomb. On Sunday, it was discovered that Jesus' tomb was empty and angels informed onlookers that Jesus had risen. Throughout the next 40 days, Jesus appears to his apostles and disciples before finally ascending to heaven. Orthodox Easter is the highest and holiest of holidays in the Christian Orthodox faith. Orthodox Easter follows the Julian calendar and must take place after the Jewish Passover. For these reasons, Orthodox Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday, after the first full moon, following the vernal equinox and always after Jewish Passover.
Orthodox Easter Facts
· Easter is often called Pascha in the Orthodox tradition. Pascha normally falls either one or five weeks later than the feast as observed by Christians who follow the Gregorian calendar. However, occasionally the two observances coincide, and on occasion they can be four weeks apart.
· Eggs represent new life as well as Jesus' tomb. In some Orthodox church’s eggs are dyed red to symbolize either the blood of Christ or the red cloak Roman soldiers put on Jesus as they tortured him.
· In the Orthodox tradition, the Easter season lasts for 100 days. It begins as a time of preparation, 49 days before the holiday. The proceeding 50 days after Easter is dedicated for strengthening faith in Jesus Christ.
· The final worship service of Pascha is usually held at noon on Sunday. Called the Agape Vespers, the service highlights St. Thomas' encounter with the risen Jesus. Thomas doubted that the resurrection was real until Jesus told him to touch his wounds. Thomas' story is usually read in a number of languages to emphasize the universal nature of Christ's life, death, and resurrection.
Orthodox Easter Top Events and Things to Do
· Stay up late and go to an Orthodox vigil service. Bringing light into the church is a dramatic and joyous occasion.
· Wear some new clothes to church. This is an ancient tradition that goes back to the early church when newly baptized persons were given a white gown to wear on Easter.
· Take an Easter basket to an Orthodox church and have it blessed. Some Eastern Orthodox Church members put together special baskets with particular items that symbolize different aspects of their faith. These items often include bread, wine, salt, cheese, ham, and horseradish.
· Russian Orthodox believers often visit the cemetery on Easter, placing a dyed red egg on each loved one's grave. The eggs are dyed red because of a tradition that says Roman soldiers put on Jesus' red cloak after he was crucified. Consider paying homage to your deceased loved ones on Easter.
When the people of Israel offered worship, in the Old Testament they did son amid the flicker of many lights. So important were these lights that the main one, the temple menorah became the most recognizable symbol of Judaism. The Christian church is a temple and as such lights play an important part in worship. In fact, lamps and candles are a symbol of the person of Christ. “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (Jn. 8:12) At the church’s greatest celebration on the Easter Vigil the priest holds the paschal candle aloft and proclaims, “Christ our light!” three times. The lamp is a symbol of Christ, God’s presence among us. The lighting of votive candles is the “offering” of the faithful.
The Use of Candles in the Orthodox Church
Question: Why do we light candles in the Orthodox Church?
Answer: There are typically two types of candles that Orthodox are familiar with. First there are the genuine pure beeswax candles made from the combs of hives. Secondly, there are the paraffin wax candles made from petroleum. When the Fathers of the Church speak of the Orthodox use of candles, they are referring to the pure beeswax candles and not the latter. Paraffin wax produces carcinogens and soot when burned. In fact, one air quality researcher stated that the soot from a paraffin candle contains many of the same toxins produced by burning diesel fuel. With this information in mind, we can better understand the six symbolic representations of lit candles handed down to us by Saint Symeon of Thessaloniki:
· As the candle is pure (pure beeswax), so also should our hearts be pure.
· As the pure candle is supple (as opposed to the paraffin), so also should our souls be supple until we make it straight and firm in the gospel.
· As the pure candle is derived from the pollen of a flower and has a sweet scent, so also should our souls have the sweet aroma of Divine Grace.
· As the candle, when it burns, mixes with and feeds the flame, so also, we can struggle to achieve theosis (union with God).
· As the burning candle illuminates the darkness, so must the light of Christ within us shine before men that God's name be glorified.
· As the candle gives its own light to illuminate a person in the darkness, so also must the light of the virtues, the light of love and peace, characterize a Christian. The wax that melts symbolizes the flame of our love for our fellow men.
1. To glorify God, who is Light, as we chant in the Doxology: "Glory to God who has shown forth the light..."
2. To dissolve the darkness of the night and to banish away the fear which is brought on by the darkness.
3. To manifest the inner joy of our soul.
4. To bestow honor to the saints of our Faith, imitating the early Christians of the first centuries who lit candles at the tombs of the martyrs.
5. To symbolize our good works, as the Lord said: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in the heavens." The priest also gave us this charge following our baptism.
6. To have our own sins forgiven and burned away, as well as the sins of those for whom we pray.
Question: Is there any other reason why we light our candle in church?
Answer: Besides the higher spiritual reasons mentioned above for why we light candles, there is another simpler and practical reason: to make a financial offering to the church. When we go to light our candle, we should also give an offering for the various services and expenses of the church. The church gives us the candle as a blessing for our offering and allows us to ignite the flame of the symbolisms mentioned above.
Question: Should we light candles outside the church as well?
Answer: It is good and laudable to light candles at home when we pray, when the priest visits for a house blessing with Holy Water or Holy Unction, and even light a candle when we visit the grave of a loved one.
Question: Is there any other purpose to the candle?
Answer: When we light a candle in the church, we are making an offering to the church or to a particular icon to beautify it and show through physical light the symbolization of the uncreated light of God's house or the saint depicted in the icon. It is also customary for the faithful to offer pure beeswax candles at the Consecration of a new church.
The Holocaust Remembrance Day, (Yom Hashoah, Hebrew: יום השואה), seeks to commemorate the Holocaust, a systematic and state-planned program to murder millions of Jews and other minority groups in Europe. This program of mass killing was run by the German Nazis in the 1930s and 40s during the Second World War, where Jews and minorities were brought into concentration camps and murdered at the hands of Nazi officials. This observance seeks to remember and honor the victims of the Holocaust, including six million Jews and thousands of Russians gypsies, homosexuals, disabled persons and other minorities.
Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) Facts
· Yom Hashoah is an Israeli Festival, as opposed to an ancient Jewish festival. Yom Hashoah was inaugurated sixty-five years ago in 1953. It was instituted by the Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion and the President Isaac (Yitzchak) Ben Zvi. The Ancient fast of the Tenth of Tevet (December) is the day on which the siege of Jerusalem commenced, prior to the destruction of the Holy Temple. Many Jews commemorate the Holocaust on this day.
· In Israel, on the Eve of Yom Hashoah, a siren is sounded, followed by an official memorial service headed by the Prime Minister, President, Army Officials and Holocaust survivors. The service includes speeches, Kaddish and El Maleh Rahamim (memorial prayers) and the Hatikvah (Israel National Anthem). Another siren is heard in the morning, followed by various memorial services.
Yom HaShoah Top Events and Things to Do
· Many communities read a list of those who perished in the camps and Ghettos. One way to commemorate the Holocaust is to browse the names in the Yad Vashem (Israel's Memorial to the Holocaust) names Database.
· Watch the mini-series Holocaust starring Meryl Streep. It depicts the story of a Jewish family's struggle to survive the Nazis.
· Attend a local memorial service. Tip: find one in your community by doing an internet search for Yom Hashoah.
· Donate to a charity that serves holocaust survivors or promotes education about the holocaust.
· Watch a movie about the Holocaust. Some popular picks: Schindler's List (1993), Auschwitz (2011), The Boy is Striped Pajamas (2008), Life is Beautiful (1997) and The Pianist (2002).
· Manhood of Christ Day 5, Eighth Week.
 George Wiegel, Witness to Hope, 1999, p66.
Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896
 Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 24. Candles.