27 Apr 2014

This Week Letter – Apr 27, 2014

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My Dear Parishioners and Friends, The Feast of Divine Mercy, established in the year 2000 by Pope John Paul II, is celebrated on this the first Sunday after Easter, also known as “White Sunday.” According to the private revelations of Saint Faustyna Kowalska, Our Lord Jesus Himself established this feast and offered insights associated with it: “On this day the abundance of My mercy is revealed: I share an outpouring of grace upon those souls who approach the font of My mercy; the souls who go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete remission of their sins and penance….” (699) I encourage you to pray for your own intentions and those of your loved ones through the intercession of two saintly Popes. John Paul II was one of the most zealous worshipers and proponents of Divine Mercy. His second encyclical, “Dives in Misericordia” from 1980, clearly indicated the path his pontificate would take. John Paul II instituted the feast of Divine Mercy and promoted the canonization of Sister Faustyna to whom our Merciful Lord appeared. In 2002, toward the end of his pontificate during a pilgrimage to Poland, the pontiff dedicated the Basilica of Divine Mercy in Lagiewniki and entrusted mankind to God’s Mercy. The pontificate of John Paul II was stellar in every respect. He was the first non-Italian Pope in over 400 years. He was the very first Pope hailing from a Slavic country. He made a total of 104 international pilgrimages to 132 countries visiting 900 cities and locales. His journeys covered a total of 1.7 million kilometers. John Paul II was the first Pope in history to visit a Lutheran church (1983), a synagogue (1986), and a mosque (2000). In 1986, he made a grand gesture of reconciliation by inviting representatives of all faiths and religions to Assisi in order to pray together for peace. He initiated dialogue between the Catholic church, Jews and the Orthodox church. He was an exemplary devotee of the Mother of God. It was John Paul II who brought about the downfall of communism. By establishing World Youth Day in 1985, John Paul II drew millions of young Catholics to become his followers. On March 12, 2000, John Paul II became the first Pope in history to ask for the forgiveness of the wrongs inflicted by the sons and daughters of the Catholic church on representatives of other religions. John Paul II wrote 14 encyclicals, 12 apostolic exhortations, 11 apostolic constitutions, 43 apostolic letters and 25 letters “motu proprio.” Further, he designated 9 consistories, appointed 232 cardinals, beatified 1,320 of God’s worthy servants and canonized 506 to sainthood. In addition to his native tongue, John Paul II spoke and wrote fluently in 7 other languages. On May 13, 1981, the Pope was seriously wounded in an assassination attempt on his life by Mehmet Ali Agca in St. Peter’s Square. In 1983, the Pope visited the convicted assassin in jail and forgave him. John Paul II presided over the celebration of the Jubilee Year marking 2,000 years of Christianity. He was responsible for the building of the Divine Mercy Basilica in Lagiewniki which he consecrated on August 17, 2002. On this site, the Pope entrusted the entire world to God’s Divine Mercy. He met his Maker on April 2, 2005, at 21:37. The populace insisted that he be raised to sainthood immediately, chanting repeatedly “Santo subito.” The remarkable John XXIII, known as the benevolent Pope, was also canonized today. He was born on November 25, 1881, at Sotto il Monte in the province of Bergamo, Italy, into a very poor family. He was ordained to the priesthood on August 10, 1904. For 10 years he served as secretary to the new Bishop of Bergamo; he also taught Church history and apologetics at the Seminary. In 1925, he was nominated a bishop and served as Apostolic Delegate to Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece. Further, he was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Paris and was a delegate representing the Holy See at UNESCO. In 1953, he rose to become a Cardinal and served as the Patriarch of Venice. He was elevated to the papacy in 1958. Then in 1962, he convened Vatican Council II. Since his death on June 3, 1963, Catholics remember the warmth and holiness of the beloved Pope John XXIII. He was beatified on September 3, 2000, by Pope John Paul II. Let us beseech St. John Paul II and St. John XXIII to pray for us!