PRINCE ALBERT — The celebration of Divine Mercy is a relatively new solemnity in the church. Instituted by Pope John Paul II, the feast is celebrated on the Sunday after Easter. Traditionally, the mass is celebrated after the completion of the nine-day Divine Mercy Novena at 3:00 in the afternoon, the time Jesus died on Good Friday.
As a way of extending the mercy of God in this Year of Mercy, Bishop Albert Thévenot, M. Afr., celebrated Divine Mercy Sunday at Mont St. Joseph Home in Prince Albert. Local pastors, residents, staff and many parishioners from the city and surrounding areas overflowed the care home’s worship space.
The rosary was recited before mass, followed by the singing of the Divine Mercy Chaplet. The Trudel family from Albertville led the prayer and music ministry.
“St. Faustina learned how to believe and put her confidence in Christ, no matter what people were saying around her,” said Thévenot. “Today we are in that same situation in which we have to say, ‘Yes Lord, I believe, through my lifestyle.’ ”
Thévenot spoke of the messages St. Faustina received from God early in childhood and later on as a young religious sister. She kept a record of her visitations and messages in her notebooks, known today as the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska.
“She helped us to experience the image of a Christ opening his heart to all people. The first gift that Christ wants us to have is peace. We have fear in our heart. We are afraid of who we are: a baptized person in Christ, affirming our faith in him through our actions, prayer, and being that joyful person we are supposed to be. Jesus, by saying ‘Peace be with you’ to his apostles, wants to take away our fear. Why are you afraid? We are sinners. Our problem is that we can’t admit it. We don’t want to be sinners, no matter who we are. That’s why Christ comes to say ‘Peace be with you. I am with you in your fears, anxieties; why are you worried?’ ”
He described another beautiful gesture: God breathing on them, bringing them life. The first breath was given at Creation when he formed human life in his own image, making humanity stewards of life, full of love and compassion. He emphasized that God pushes us because we are too afraid to proclaim that all of us need not only to be stewards, but disciples of Christ, called and sent, to bring the breath of the Spirit to the world.