(SNR) - Pope Benedict XVI will beatify John Paul II on Divine Mercy Sunday of 2011, six years after the death of his predecessor.
Beatification formally allows limited pubic veneration of "blessed" John Paul II, whose body will be moved from the grotto of St. Peter’s, to the chapel of St. Sebastian on the north side of the nave.
Pope John Paul II, who canonized Saint Faustina Kowalksa, the Polish nun to whom Jesus shared His message of Divine Mercy, was a tireless promoter of the message of Divine Mercy.
The devotion of Divine Mercy is popular in many parishes in the Diocese of Lincoln. Following are testimonies from various parishes in southern Nebraska:
Susan Biskup –
St. Mary Parish, Orleans
Many years ago I read the diary of Blessed Maria Faustina (now Saint Faustina). It was then that I became interested in learning more about this young Polish nun’s life. As a result, I began to say an occasional Chaplet of Divine Mercy. As my children grew and became teenagers, I continued to pray for them daily and would often pray the Chaplet. Three years later we lost our 20-year-old son Brett in an automobile accident. It was then that I began saying a Chaplet for him daily and have continued doing so ever since. Christ says, "Thru the Chaplet you will obtain everything if what you ask for will be compatible with My will." With a promise like this, why would one not say a Chaplet daily? The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is a beautiful prayer that I can pray for my son and for the souls of the whole world. Perhaps the members of my parish will be drawn closer to Christ when they see the beautiful Image of Divine Mercy that hangs in our church in memory of Brett Matthew Biskup.
St. Michael Parish, Fairbury
I am a convert and have loved being Catholic for eight years now. In January of 2009, at the age of 33, I was diagnosed with a large brain tumor. Two days later I underwent a craniotomy, resulting in 33 stitches. Two months later I began 33 radiation treatments. During the radiation treatments I would pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. On Divine Mercy Sunday of 2009, I prayed to be cured from my social anxiety. I now read at daily Mass and I also read for Mass on the weekends. My license plate is DVNMRCY and is a great way to evangelize.
Father Christopher Barak –
Pastor of St. Leo, Palmyra, and St. Martin, Douglas
We erected Divine Mercy images near the altars of both of my parishes for everyone to see at Church. In the image Jesus touches His Heart from which shines the white and red rays symbolizing the water and blood that were shed for the redemption and salvation of the human race. Mercy is the compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender, and the relief given to one in distress. This mercy is proclaimed by Jesus through the priest in the prayers, Gospel readings, and homilies at Mass. This mercy is given by Jesus in the Holy Eucharist received by the faithful. People feeling distressed from sinning and offending God can see, hear and taste the love and compassion of Jesus through the priest who makes the Divine Mercy present at Mass.
The Divine Mercy image helps me keep uppermost in my mind the purpose of the priesthood. Jesus continually lifts me up by forgiving me and caring for me. I find I am more merciful to the people I serve when I devote myself to meditating on this holy image, as well as when I pray from the heart the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Years ago, one of our parishioners led the project of putting up the Divine Mercy image on a billboard on Highway 2 near Bennet. Every time I drive by it I give thanks to Jesus for His kindness and patience with me.
Rose Ruhl –
St. Stephen Parish, Exeter
Learning more about God’s mercy has transformed my life. I have seen the power of praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet daily, especially at the 3:00 hour. Jesus told St. Faustina that, if it is the Father’s will, He will not refuse anything requested during this hour of Mercy, which is the hour when He gave everything for us.
Eighteen years ago our son had a heart condition and they did not give us much hope for his survival. It is through God’s Mercy that he has survived. Our family has come to realize the Divine Mercy message is the heart of the Gospel and is to be shared throughout the world.
It has brought us hope as we have witnessed many come into the Catholic Faith after prayers were offered for their conversion.
There are a number of Divine Mercy images along several highways in our State and I believe that this is a very powerful message to those who pass by, many times converting or turning back to Jesus as they read the message, "Jesus, I Trust in You!"
In our homes and churches the Image brings us comfort and helps us to TRUST IN JESUS daily.
Barb Ohnoutka –
Ss. Mary and Joseph Parish, Valparaiso
Jesus is constantly offering us His love and mercy. He is always waiting for each of us to ask for forgiveness. Every sin, no matter how many times committed, is forgiven once we ask by going to Confession. What an awesome thought to know that our past mistakes can be erased and we can start over. In turn, Jesus asks us to extend mercy and forgiveness to others – to our families, co-workers, friends, and even to ourselves. Once we ask for and accept forgiveness and offer it back to others, I think we can find a peace that we can find nowhere else. This peace and trust in Christ can change our lives and all those we encounter.
Pam Murray –
Cathedral Parish, Lincoln
My devotion to Divine Mercy was jump-started when I attended a Divine Mercy retreat in 2002. Right after the retreat, I joined the diocesan Divine Mercy Apostolate and began reading St. Faustina’s Diary and saying the Chaplet every day. Soon I was praying the Chaplet three times daily for standing intentions, including one that my husband and I say together for a special family intention. That number increases to four when I have one-time intentions such as praying for someone who is gravely ill, as well as during the Novena time leading up to Divine Mercy Sunday. It brought me immense comfort to pray the Chaplet with my mother when my father was dying, and again in my mother’s final days. The promises Jesus attached to Divine Mercy devotions are so powerful that I can’t imagine why anyone who is aware of them would not come frequently to the font of His mercy, to drink deeply of the graces that await us there.
Jeanette Stengel –
St. Joseph Parish, Geneva
Our parish has been praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy every day since 9/11. We started with six parishioners and today have an average of four praying it daily. Some have gone to their heavenly reward and new parishioners have come forth. Rain, snow or sunshine, you can depend on individuals praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at St. Joseph’s parish in Geneva. My husband Dale and I tend to a gentleman who is in a nursing home. A year ago we were told he had one week to live, due to cancer. That was one year ago on March 30th, his 88th birthday. On this last March 30th we celebrated his 89th birthday! We have prayed to Jesus, King of Divine Mercy, and to Father McGivney (Knights of Columbus founder) for healing in body and spirit.
Divine Mercy Sunday to Focus on Mercy, Forgiveness