Divine Mercy Sunday is celebrated on the second Sunday of Easter and is a religious observance celebrated mostly among Catholics. This year, it takes place on April 16. It is a significant time for reflection on the Christian faith. As Pope John Paul II stated, “It is a time where we are blessed with divine mercy as it reaches us through the heart of Christ crucified.” Divine Mercy Sunday focuses on the gifts that flowed from Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection — his mercy and love that were so freely given to humanity after such a betrayal. Divine Mercy Sunday concludes the Easter celebrations and welcomes the ultimate gift that Christ gave after his crucifixion.
History of Divine Mercy Sunday
The story of Divine Mercy Sunday, also known as ‘the Feast of the Divine Mercy,’ is thousands of years old. However, the official recognition of the day was only authenticated by the Vatican in 2000. Pope John Paul II declared the Sunday after Easter to be called “Divine Mercy Sunday.” Since that declaration, it has been marked in the General Roman Calendar as a religious observance celebrated by Catholics worldwide.
The significance of the day can be attributed to St. Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun who experienced visions from Christ himself. Born in 1905, she served her parish well and communed with Jesus on several occasions where he communicated with her that he wished to be “a refuge and a shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners.” St. Faustina, also known as the ‘Secretary of Divine Mercy,’ died in 1938 in Krakow at age 33 after suffering from Tuberculosis.
Divine Mercy Sunday is a space specifically designated for those who feel unworthy of God’s love and Jesus’s acceptance. In a vision, he told St. Faustina, “I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy.” Divine Mercy Sunday, from its advent, has been a source of reconciliation with faith and God’s mercy. It provides a specific day on which people from all walks of life can humble themselves before God, and ask for his mercy, love, and forgiveness, which he grants to all those who are willing to ask for it. It is also about forgiveness and mercy, how Jesus offered his to us, and how we should act in kind throughout our lives.
Divine Mercy Sunday timeline
St. Faustina begins experiencing visits from Jesus during her time at Plock.
St. Faustina begins her mythical diary between 1934 and 1938, and its pages contain her intimate exchanges with Jesus Christ.
St. Faustina earns the title ‘Blessed’ as she is beatified and recognized as having a divine relationship with God.
On April 30, St. Faustina is honored with the Basilica of Divine Mercy, dedicated to the devotion of Divine Mercy.
Divine Mercy Sunday FAQs
Is Divine Mercy Sunday celebrated anywhere else?
While it is a Catholic Holiday, yes, other denominations and churches within denominations recognize and celebrate the day.
How do you become a saint?
Generally, you need to be a Catholic, you need to live a life of piety in service of God, and lastly, you need to perform at least two miracles in your lifetime.
Will God forgive me and show me mercy?
The Bible scripture teaches that God loves all of us and forgives all our sins if we repent and embrace his love.
Divine Mercy Sunday Activities
Attend Divine Mercy Sunday mass
You don’t have to be Catholic to attend mass. You don’t even have to be particularly religious either! This is the place where the day is celebrated with the most passion.
Show mercy and love
It’s hard to show mercy and love to those who may have wronged or hurt us. On Divine Mercy Sunday, however, make an effort to let go and forgive those who may not even deserve your forgiveness. You will feel better.
Mercy and love also mean kindness. If you’re having trouble forgiving and showing mercy, be kind to those who need it. Mercy is not just about forgiveness — it’s also about using your power or influence to help those you otherwise wouldn't have to.
5 Interesting Facts About Catholicism
The Vatican is a country and city
In 1928 the Vatican was officially recognized as a country.
The largest Christian denomination
Catholicism is the largest Christian denomination, with over 1.3 billion people ascribing to the faith.
The Devil’s Advocate is real
Within the Catholic Church, there is an official position, ‘Advocate Diaboli,’ which translates to the ‘Devil’s Advocate.’
Catholics didn't treat heretics well
William Tyndale translated the Bible into English in 1536 and was tried for heresy, choked, impaled, and burned at the stake.
The highest crime rate per capita
With a population of around 500 people, the Vatican has a 133.6% crime rate, which means that more crimes take place than there are “citizens” who can commit them.
Why We Love Divine Mercy Sunday
It's about mercy and love
If we could all enact these qualities among the people around us in everyday life, the world would probably be a better place. Let us incorporate these virtues into our lives.
It gives hope to those who find themselves in dark places
Regardless of your religious affinity, faith is a powerful force, and for those out there who feel like they have nothing to offer. To those with no salvation among their own people, Divine Mercy Sunday is a siren call to those that need to know that there is a God out there, and he loves you no matter your circumstances.
It’s an opportunity to be better
Mercy, love, and kindness — these qualities are possessed by all human beings. Recognizing that there is a day when God calls out and says, “you are worthy of those qualities, and I offer them to you,” could be inspirational and help us offer people around us a better version of ourselves.
Divine Mercy Sunday dates