Letter from Msgr. Schaedel for bulletin of April 30, 2000
The glorious celebration of Easter continues as we complete the Easter Octave. This means that we “stretched out” Easter Sunday for seven more days. It is the major feast for all of Christianity. Christ is risen from the dead, conquering sin and death. The Easter Season continues up until Pentecost.
On Easter Sunday evening, we lost one of our good and faithful parishioners: Providence Beckham. “Provie,” as we called her, lived adjacent to church in the house that faces East Street. She had been a good and loyal parishioner all of her life. Mrs. Beckham had been ill for several months now and God called her into new life on Easter Sunday night. She must have experienced the meaning of the resurrection first hand. Her Catholic Faith had supported her in this belief all through the years.
Provie knew she could not do much to help out, but Stewardship or service to God and her Church was a priority for her. In recent years, she and her cousin, Josephine Lombardo, were the ones who changed the missalettes in the pews when the liturgical season called for it.
Provie had insisted on no calling and simple Funeral Mass. Yet, the church was nearly full for her funeral Wednesday morning. A long time, family friend, Father Ralph Lynch, O.S.B., preached a fine homily. We extend our condolences to her son, Tony, daughter, Joan, and their families. May she rest in peace.
Today, Sunday, April 30, is Divine Mercy Sunday. Many of us have become familiar with this feast, which focuses on the Divine Mercy of God—His loving forgiveness and understanding for those who sincerely seek His love.
This devotion was inspired by a Polish nun, Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska. She was born in Poland in 1905, entered the convent in 1926, and died in 1938. During her lifetime, Sister Faustina reported visions of our Lord, including one that inspired the painting of the now familiar image of Jesus, The Divine Mercy—“Jesus, I trust in You.”
After her death, her spiritual diaries were found. She had written much about what has now come to be known as The Divine Mercy Devotion. As she had predicted, the message and the devotion fell upon hard times with Church authorities and promotion of the message was once prohibited. This was partly because when her Sisters began to transcribe her spiritual diary, they introduced many inaccuracies by adding to, leaving out, or “correcting” what she wrote. Keep in mind that she had only two winters of formal education, so her spelling was atrocious. Combined with poor grammar, it was a difficult task. It was all done in “good faith” and translating the diary into other languages further complicated things.
When he was Cardinal-Archbishop of Cracow, Pope John Paul II came to the rescue. He asked one of his top theologians to make a thorough study of Sister Faustina’s writings. As a result, the road was opened to the promotion of the Divine Mercy Devotion.
A final chapter comes today (Sunday) in the life of Sister Faustina. At Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, she will be formally canonized as a saint of the Catholic Church. She was beatified in 1993. Saint Faustina, pray for us!
The very first Perpetual Adoration Chapel in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis opened nearly eleven years ago under the title, Divine Mercy Adoration Chapel. It’s adjacent to Cardinal Ritter High School and Saint Michael Church, at 30th and Tibbs on the West side.
At many parishes, including Saint Michael, there will be the annual observance of Divine Mercy. Father Duvelius and I will both be at Saint Michael. It begins with an opportunity for the experience of God’s mercy in the sacrament of Penance. Several priests will be on hand beginning at 2:15 p.m. At 3:00 p.m. the service begins. It is not a Mass. It consists of Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, the “Divine Mercy Chaplet,” a series of short prayers using a regular rosary, a sermon, and a procession with the Blessed Sacrament. Silent adoration will continue until 4:30 p.m.
I once heard someone object to the emphasis on confessions on the Sunday right after Easter. “After all these confessions during Lent. Isn’t Easter a joyful season?” Well, the Gospel for today’s Mass (Low Sunday) is the place in Scripture where Jesus gives the apostles and His Church to power to forgive sin. And, let’s face it; sin and forgiveness are not confined to one liturgical season or another. I think it’s great to emphasize the Sacrament of Penance during Lent and Advent. But to confine it to those two seasons doesn’t make any sense. We need God’s mercy 365 days a year. The Divine Mercy is always ours!
Faithfully yours in God’s Providence,
Msgr. Joseph F. Schaedel