HAMDEN — Mercy and love go hand in hand, Archbishop Leonard P. Blair said during Divine Mercy devotions on April 8 at Divine Mercy Parish. The devotions for Divine Mercy Sunday followed a procession from St. Stephen Church on Ridge Road to St. Rita Church on Whitney Avenue.
The celebration included confession at both churches. After hearing confessions at St. Stephen Church, Archbishop Blair blessed a Divine Mercy image that was carried in at the front of the procession of 150 faithful. They sang along the 1.3-mile walk to St. Rita Church, where they were joined by others who had already assembled.
Amid Easter hymns and an altar bedecked with white lilies, the holy hour included a sung Divine Mercy Chaplet, the Litany of Divine Mercy, and exposition and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
In his homily, Archbishop Blair stressed the spiritually rich message of mercy and love that is central to the Divine Mercy devotion.
See gallery of photos by Aaron Joseph at http://thecatholictranscript.zenfolio.com/p1070098631
“Mercy is love’s second nature,” said the archbishop, quoting Pope John Paul II, who proclaimed the universal feast day in 2000.
“What brings us together is faith, complete and total trust in Jesus,” said Archbishop Blair, who urged the faithful to practice the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. If we don’t show mercy here on earth, “we will not obtain his mercy on the day of judgment,” he said.
“What does this Divine Mercy Sunday ask of us?” he said. “To be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful.”
Divine Mercy Sunday is celebrated on the Sunday after Easter, and is based on the revelations of Jesus to St. Faustina Kowalska as written in her diary. Jesus told her that a person who goes to confession and receives holy Communion on that day will receive the total forgiveness of all sins and punishment.
In his messages to St. Faustina, Jesus said, "Humanity will never find peace until it turns with trust to Divine Mercy.”
“Divine Mercy is a very special day,” said parishioner Gina Dagostino, who also serves as a parish nurse and as a Knights of Columbus Columbiette.
“Now that we’re also Divine Mercy Parish, it is very important that we glorify that by celebrating the day.”
Echoed Mary Pasquariello, “The idea that God wants to give us his mercy, love and forgiveness is a message that is so compelling and is what makes me want to be here today,” she said. “It’s a message that is for this century.”
“I believe in Sister Faustina’s visions and what it means for us,” said Carol Liquori, a member of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Parish in North Haven. “I know that in God’s great mercy, he will come to us; and I want to believe in the message that is for those who have faith, hope and love.”
Members of the Knights of Columbus marched in the procession participated in the holy hour.
Father Joseph DiSciacca, pastor of Divine Mercy Parish, thanked Archbishop Blair for celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday at the parish and invited guests to a reception in the parish hall.