This is the final post of a series exploring Our Lord’s Divine Mercy.
By: Elise Italiano, Director of Communications
Mercy: It’s a word making its way through the news these days – in both secular and religious sources – in part because of Pope Francis’ announcement of the upcoming Extraordinary Year of Mercy, beginning on December 8, 2015. Pope Francis has said that we desperately need to receive mercy and to extend it to others. “This is the age of mercy,” he declared at the beginning of his papacy.
Divine Mercy: It’s here in the diocese, readily available to you, perhaps more closely than you might think.
1. Our shepherd, Bishop Paul Loverde, celebrated and preached at the Divine Mercy Sunday Mass at the National Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, and blessed and sealed the “holy door” that will be opened wide for all to mediate more fervently on God’s mercy beginning on December 8. You can read his homily from that day, or read his column on the topic here.
2. Our priests have been preaching on mercy throughout Lent and throughout Easter, reminding us that every day we have the chance to run to back into Our Father’s arms, just like the Prodigal Son. No matter the season, He is there waiting for us. If you’re looking for a meditation on it, consider listening to a homily on it from Father James Searby, parochial vicar of St. Charles Borromeo parish, entitled, “God’s Mercy is Yours,” available here.
3. Our faithful Catholic Charities employees and volunteers spend countless hours extending mercy to our brothers and sisters throughout the diocese who are in need of help. Read a story of how one woman’s life was changed because of another’s generosity.
“I was in tears,” she said. “People just don’t understand how difficult it can be to not have a car. It’s like a homeless person waiting for a breakthrough. I’m so grateful that now I don’t have to depend on anyone else or be a burden.”
4. We must love them both – women and children – as we consider the scourge of abortion, even here at home in our diocese. If you or someone you know has been suffering in the wake of an abortion, please consider the Project Rachel retreat May 1-3: This retreat offers women who have struggled with the emotional or spiritual pain of abortion time to experience the mercy and compassion of God. It offers a supportive and confidential environment where they can begin the process of healing.
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, not future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).
The Lord is waiting for you – will you come and receive His mercy?
5. We pray especially this week for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who celebrated his 88th birthday yesterday (with a pint of beer, no less!). Along with Pope Francis, I personally remain grateful for his witness to mercy and his writing and preaching on it. We have been blessed indeed, in this age of mercy, with shepherds who guide us to the Face of Mercy Himself.
“Mercy is the very name of God, the Face with which he revealed himself in the Old Covenant and fully in Jesus Christ, the incarnation of creative and redemptive love.” –Pope Benedict, XVI