Proposed by Sister Faustina Kowalska

VATICAN CITY, MAY 23 (ZENIT.org).- The Vatican Press Office published a decree of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, whose prefect is Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina, which at John Paul II’s instruction, establishes the feast of Divine Mercy to be held the Second Sunday of Easter. The official name of this liturgical day will be “Second Sunday of Easter or of Divine Mercy.”

Devotion to the Divine Mercy is an authentic spiritual movement within the Catholic Church promoted by St. Faustina Kowalska, whom the Pope canonized on April 30.

The Pope chose that day to announce the surprise. “Throughout the world, the Second Sunday of Easter will receive the name Divine Mercy Sunday, a perennial invitation to the Christian world to face, with confidence in divine benevolence, the difficulties and trials that humankind will experience in the years to come,” the Holy Father explained on that occasion.

However, this statement was not part of the Holy Father’s prepared speech, so they do not appear in the official transcription of his address for that canonization. The publication of this decree by the Congregation for Divine Worship serves to announce officially to the universal Church the Pope’s desire.

Faustina Kowalska, a Polish religious who died at 33 in 1938, lived a mystical experience of consecration to Divine Mercy, a spiritual journey that included visions, revelations, and hidden stigmata. At the suggestion of her spiritual director, all was recorded in her journal.

The center of her life was to announce God’s mercy toward every human being. This message that has touched the hearts of many simple people, but also marveled many theologians, surprised to find in the writings of a humble, hardly literate nun such extraordinary depth.

The Apostles of Divine Mercy are a movement inspired in the Polish nun’s experience. It embraces priests, religious, and laity, united in their commitment to live mercy in relating to their brothers and sisters, to make the mystery of Divine Mercy known, and to invoke God’s mercy on sinners. This spiritual family, approved in 1996 by the Archdiocese of Krakow, at present is found in 29 countries of the world.

The Vatican decree clarifies that the liturgy of the Second Sunday of Easter and the readings of the Divine Office will continue as established in the Missal of the Roman rite.

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