By Ruby Thomas, Record Staff Writer
Parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Louisville are planning to celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday on April 12.
This feast day, which falls on the second Sunday of Easter, was established by St. John Paul II in 2000. The devotion centers on the writings of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, which focus on Jesus’ invitation to mercy and pardon.
Parishioners of St. Patrick Church in Eastwood have been preparing for the devotion since the beginning of Lent, thanks to a program on forgiveness started by their pastor, Father Jeffrey Shooner.
The program encourages parishioners and the larger community to “experience the power of forgiveness” through the sacrament of reconciliation, said Donna Burry, coordinator of the Divine Mercy celebration at St. Patrick.
The program is based on the book “Freedom and Forgiveness: A Fresh Look at the Sacrament of Reconciliation” written by Father Paul Farren. Father Farren, a priest serving in Northern Ireland, plans to give a presentation at St. Patrick’s Divine Mercy celebration.
The parish distributed about 1,300 copies of the book and each was accompanied by a list of questions for reflection, a Divine Mercy holy card and a letter from Father Shooner.
Father Shooner also led a three-part Lenten mission entitled “The Pathway to Forgiveness.”
“The hope was that we’d become a reconciling community where we’d learn to forgive others and learn to ask for forgiveness,” said Father Shooner.
This hope appears to be succeeding. Father Shooner said he’s seen an increase in those seeking the sacrament of reconciliation and more parishioners seem willing to discuss their private battles with forgiving others.
The parish’s preparations for Divine Mercy Sunday will culminate April 12 with a celebration at the church, 1000 N. Beckley Station Road. Father Shooner, Father Daniel Brandenburg and Father Farren, who is visiting from Northern Ireland, will preside.
The celebration will start at 1:30 p.m. with reconciliation and veneration of the Divine Mercy image, a St. Faustina relic and an image of St. John Paul II. The rosary will be prayed at 2:30 p.m.
The Divine Mercy hour will begin at 3 p.m. and will include a presentation by Father Farren, adoration, Benediction and singing of the Divine Mercy Chaplet. The observance will conclude with Mass.
Eucharistic adoration, confession and Benediction will also be offered at St. Patrick on April 11 from 6 p.m. to midnight.
Following is a list of other parishes that have reported their Divine Mercy Sunday plans to The Record.
- Church of the Incarnation, 2229 Lower Hunters Trace, will begin the celebration with the sacrament of reconciliation at 1:30 p.m. The celebration will also include the rosary, Gospel readings, the Divine Mercy Chaplet and Benediction.
- St. Louis Bertrand Church, 1104 S. 6th St., will begin the celebration with the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 2 p.m. Reconciliation will be offered from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Dominican Father Francis Ralph will celebrate Mass at 3 p.m.
- St. Athanasius Church, 5915 Outer Loop, will celebrate its 18th Divine Mercy Sunday. Confessions will be heard from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. The rosary will be prayed at 2:30 p.m. The celebration will include eucharistic adoration and the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Father Gary Davis will preside at Mass.
- St. Paul Church, 6901 Dixie Highway, will offer reconciliation from 2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. followed by exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at 2:45 p.m. The rosary will be prayed at 2:50 p.m., followed by the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3:10 p.m. Eucharistic adoration will begin at 3:30 p.m., followed by evening prayer at 3:45 p.m. and Benediction at 4 p.m.
- Holy Trinity Church in Fredericktown, Ky., will celebrate Divine Mercy from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will be at 2 p.m.The Divine Mercy prayer service, which will include readings, a homily and devotions, will begin at 3 p.m. Benediction will start at 4 p.m. Father Matthew Hardesty will hear confessions until 3 p.m. and again after Benediction.
Parishioners are encouraged to attend Mass at their church in the morning, since there will not be a Mass during the celebration.
- St. Raphael Church, located at Bardstown Road and Lancashire Avenue, will offer reconciliation from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy will be prayed at 3 p.m. Mass will follow at 3:15 p.m.
- St. Augustine Church in Lebanon, Ky., will hold a Divine Mercy prayer service beginning at 3 p.m.