St. John Paul II and the call of Divine Mercy Sunday

| Alyssa Bormes | March 31, 2016 | 0 Comments

Divine MercyIn 2005, Easter was on March 27, and Divine Mercy Sunday was on April 3. It’s the same this year. It will be 141 years before this will happen again. See if you can recall Easter 2005. For me, it will always be bright in my memory.

It was a beautiful spring day. I had one of the last chairs in St. Peter’s Square for Easter Mass. The Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, was quite ill; he would not be celebrating the Mass. At the end of Mass, the Swiss Guard marched into the Square and faced his window. And then he appeared. The Holy Father came to bless us.

It would be the last time I saw the pope.

On April 2, we were at the square just before 9 a.m. and were there at 9:38 p.m. when the Holy Father died. We remained in the square for a midnight prayer service and returned at about 6 a.m. for Mass. I was about 10 feet from the front; there was only one barrier in the square that day. However, the crowd was already pushing, and I didn’t have the strength to sustain it.

I walked back to the Colonnade, on the way meeting my friend, Sister Marie Kolbe. We each sat on either side of the base of one of the giant pillars.

By 10 a.m., the crowd became so thick for the Mass that there was only room for us to stand on our little slivers of stone.

I had never seen a denser crowd in the square. We just couldn’t move.

Just a reminder, at most times in the square there are a series of barriers to control the crowd. However, on that day there was only the one barrier at the front. The crowd kept pushing into the square.

For Communion, the priests usually use the spaces between the barriers to get the Eucharist to the faithful. On this day, there were a number of them who moved through the crowd to the area of the obelisk.

Sister and I decided to spiritually go to Communion, as we were nearly blocked from movement.

Then the most amazing thing happened. The immovable crowd began to allow aisles to and from the area with the Eucharist. The aisles radiated from this spot. From my elevated perch, it looked as if I were watching a heart pumping blood.

Blood goes to the heart to be fed, so it can return to feed the body. On that Divine Mercy Sunday, the day after our beloved pope died, the faithful were moving to the heart of the Church. They were in Rome, being fed by the Eucharist.

On that Divine Mercy Sunday in Rome, there was a sense of the call to those who either physically or spiritually were fed by the Eucharist, that there was a duty to in turn go to feed the body, the Body of Christ. This Divine Mercy Sunday has the same call. And, in the words that were never far from St. John Paul II, “Be not afraid!”

Bormes, a member of Holy Family in St. Louis Park, is the author of the book “The Catechism of Hockey.”

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Category: Everyday Mercies