Editor's Note: I am happy to spread the word about a wonderful celebration being held at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Merced, California this weekend. A special thanks to CatholicMom.com contributor Brian Kravec for sharing this information. LMH

On April 30th in the Great Jubilee Year 2000, the Pope declared that from now throughout the universal Church the Second Sunday of Easter will be known as Divine Mercy Sunday. He also indicated that he had fulfilled the will of Christ by this action.

What John Paul was referring to was the numerous requests from Jesus made to St. Faustina in the 1930's. Fourteen times in the diary that the Lord had asked her to keep were the appeals for a Feast of Mercy to be established in His Church.

He specifically asked for the feast to be celebrated on the Sunday after Easter. Jesus also asked that His image of Divine Mercy be venerated publicly on that day. It's the one with the red and pale rays with the words, "Jesus, I Trust In You!"

The main message that the Lord was revealing to the World was that He wanted to pour out His Mercy before His return. Jesus told Faustina, "Before I come as a just Judge, I first open wide the door of My mercy." (Diary, 1146) This wide-opened door is Divine Mercy Sunday. Jesus said, "On that day are open all the divine floodgates through which graces flow. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls." (Diary, 699)

"I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain the complete forgiveness of sins and punishment." (Diary 699)

This year the feast, Sunday, May 1, coincides with the Beatification of Pope John Paul II. All Catholics, active or inactive, are invited to attend this prayerful celebration at St. Patrick’s, 671 East Yosemite Ave in Merced. The service begins at 3 P.M. Contact St. Patrick’s at 209-383-3924 or visit the parish website at www.olmstpatrick.org for more details.

Check your diocese paper and parish bulletin for a Divine Mercy Sunday celebration nearest you.