According to Jesus' wish, the Feast of Mercy is to be celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Jesus is showing us the close connection between the Easter mystery of man's Redemption and this feast. The liturgy for this day extols God most fully in the mystery of His mercy.
The Feast of Mercy is to be not only a day designated for the singular worship of God's Mercy, but also a day of grace for all people, particularly for sinners. Jesus attached great promises to this feast, the greatest of which is connected with the reception of Holy Communion on that day. It is the promise of complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. In other words, this grace is equal only to the one we receive in the Sacrament of Holy Baptism. The greatness of this feast lies also in the fact that everyone, even those who are converted that very day, may obtain any grace for the asking, if what they ask for be compatible with God's will.
“I want this image,” Jesus told Sister Faustina, “… to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter; that Sunday is to be the Feast of Mercy. (49) 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 are open all the divine floodgates through which graces flow. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet.”(699)
“The Feast of My Mercy has issued forth from My very depths for the consolation of the whole world (1517) and is confirmed in the vast depths of my tender mercies.” (420)
The preparation for this feast is to be a Novena consisting of the recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet for nine days, beginning on Good Friday. (Click here for the Divine Mercy Novena.)
In the audience granted on June 13 2002 to those responsible for the Apostolic Penitentiary, the Supreme Pontiff (Pope John Paul II), motivated by an ardent desire to foster in Christians this devotion to Divine Mercy as much as possible, in the hope of offering great spiritual fruit to the faithful, granted the following indulgences:
- A Plenary Indulgence, granted under the usual conditions (Sacramental Confession, Eucharistic Communion and Prayer for the Intentions of the Supreme Pontiff) to the faithful who, on the Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday, in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honour of Divine Mercy, or who, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the ‘Our Father’ and the ‘Apostles’ Creed’, adding a devout prayer to the Merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. ‘Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!’);
- A Partial Indulgence, granted to the faithful who, at least with a contrite heart, pray to the Merciful Lord Jesus, a legitimately approved invocation.
- For those who cannot go to church or the seriously ill: In addition, sailors working on the vast expanse of the sea; the countless brothers and sisters, whom the disasters of war, political events, local violence and other such causes have been driven out of their homeland; the sick and those who nurse them, and all who for a just cause cannot leave their homes or who carry out an activity for the community which cannot be postponed, may obtain a plenary indulgence on Divine Mercy Sunday, if totally detesting any sin, as has been said before, and with the intention of fulfilling as soon as possible the three usual conditions, will recite the ‘Our Father’ and the ‘Apostles’ Creed’ before a devout image of Our Merciful Lord Jesus and, in addition, pray a devout invocation to the Merciful Lord Jesus (e.g. ‘Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!’).
- If it is impossible that people do even this, on the same day, they may obtain the Plenary Indulgence, if, with a spiritual intention, they are united with those carrying out the prescribed practice for obtaining the indulgence in the usual way and offer to the Merciful Lord, a prayer and the sufferings of their illness and the difficulties of their lives, with the resolution to accomplish as soon as possible, the three conditions prescribed to obtain the plenary indulgence.