|Friday, April 15 (Good Friday) the Catholic Church begins the Divine Mercy Novena at 12 noon. The Novena, offered at St. Francis De Sales, will be prayed every day at 3pm in the church, with the exception of April 22, when it will be prayed at 2pm. The Novena will conclude during a Holy Hour in the church from 3-4pm on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 24.
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Sr. Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938), a Polish Religious, spoke of her visions from the Lord on the meaning of His Mercy to us and our expected mercy for each other. Her devotions had a great influence on a young Polish actor by name of Karol Wojtyla, later to be Pope John Paul II.
For the sake of brevity, I leave to your review the documents offered through the Marian Fathers at the Divine Mercy Shrine in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
And now, as the great radio commentator, Paul Harvey, would have it: “The rest of the story.” In the Communist control of the Eastern Bloc Countries associated with the Soviet Union there was a great restriction on Catholic practices and devotions. Two statues that were allowed in Catholic Churches were St. Therese of the Little Flower and Divine Mercy. The government found them to be innocuous and non-threatening to the State. How wrong they were because these two devotions offered a great deal of solace and strength to the hearts and souls of Catholics suppressed by the political regime.
And now, allow for a Gould twist. Prior to the Russian Revolution in 1917 there was a contention for the one who would lead the revolution. At the table were three individuals. Lenin, Gorky, and an English spy known as Reilly (the Ace of Spies.) Lenin wanted to suppress religion because of it’s strength of Faith. Gorky wanted to supplant with tenets in socialism and humanism. Under the leadership of Reilly, only the angels know how the revolution would have played out.
Lenin took the Lead and his option brought death and destruction to the lives of millions of God-fearing people. Had Gorky won Russia, in a secular order, might look like America today. And yet the dynamics of our current political agendas may introduce Catholics to a new wave of persecution, hostile to any attachments to the Vatican and Ecclesial Leadership of the Pope, not on the grounds of Faith but on Morals. Let us stay close to our rosaries and chaplets of Divine Mercy. More on the Equality Act and other hot political topics will follow in a future letter.
For now a nice review of the Divine Mercy Call to prayer and service for others.