Faribault parish feast celebration ties in World Youth Day pilgrims

| March 29, 2016 | 0 Comments

Justin Stroh wants Catholics to experience Divine Mercy Sunday the way his parish, Divine Mercy in Faribault, does every year, only more so in Pope Francis’ Year of Mercy.

Through the feast day established by St. Pope John Paul II in April 2000 when he canonized St. Faustina Kowalska, Stroh hopes the Church will begin to embrace the significance of the divine mercy — that Jesus’ mercy is greater than human sin.

“It wasn’t just a nice idea of a pope who’s died. It came from the very heart of Jesus Christ,” said Stroh, the parish’s faith formation director, referring to the visions of a polish nun described in the “Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska.”

On Divine Mercy Sunday April 3, the parish will host a celebration from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. that will include confession and eucharistic adoration, a display of its life-sized divine mercy icon and first-class relics of St. Faustina, readings from her diary, the sung Divine Mercy Chaplet and Mass with Bishop Andrew Cozzens.

Stroh noted the parish’s direct connection to St. Faustina. The parish’s founding pastor, Father Kevin Finnegan, went to Poland and received a first-class relic — a bone fragment — from St. Faustina’s order, Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. As a young, uneducated nun in the 1930s, St. Faustina received revelations from Jesus, who asked her to record his message of divine mercy, which turned into the diary and then the image of Jesus with red and white rays streaming from his heart.

Feast of Divine MercyFor a list of parishes praying divine mercy chaplets and hosting celebrations April 3, visit TheCatholicSpirit.com/DivineMercy or 3oclockhour.org.

“All of her prayers that she received from the Lord always had the context of her and the world,” Stroh said. “Jesus was saying, ‘Your mission is to do this for the world.’ That sense of mission is sinking in, that the Lord is calling the parish to be something for the world. The reality of that seems to be at the forefront.”

The parish is inviting as special guests about 250 pilgrims from across the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis who will travel to Krakow, Poland, July 25-31 for World Youth Day.

“That’s the sense of the heart of Jesus calling the pilgrims and then looking toward the epicenter of mercy in the world, which is Krakow,” said Stroh, the archdiocese’s World Youth Day pilgrimage leader. Bishop Cozzens is the pilgrimage’s spiritual director.

As part of the celebration, the parish also will show an episode of “The Second Greatest Story Ever Told,” which details the history of the divine mercy devotion and its tie-ins to St. John Paul II.

“Everyone is seeking an absolute meaning . . . and that absolute meaning, of course, is the very mercy and justice of God, that’s Jesus Christ,” Stroh said. “So, what we’re celebrating on Divine Mercy Sunday is to be immersed deeper in the mystery of that wherever we are. The Lord meets us there. Not everyone has to have that figured out.”

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