Archdiocese invites all to Divine Mercy prayer vigil

By Mary Massingale
Sunday, March 20, 2016

During his more than 25 years at St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, Resurrectionist Father Anthony Bus has watched as the towering, yellow-brick church “has pulled, like a magnet” drivers traveling on the adjacent Kennedy Expressway.

“People come through the doors to an overwhelming sense of God’s presence and peace,” Bus said.

He hopes the church’s magnetic pull works during the weekend of April 2-3, when the parish at 1351 W. Evergreen Ave., will hold an all-night vigil of prayer and petition for the Feast of the Divine Mercy on April 3.

The parish has celebrated an afternoon Mass, followed by the Divine Mercy Chaplet and confessions since 2000, when St. Pope John Paul II proclaimed the second Sunday of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday. However, this year’s all-night vigil honors the Jubilee of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis, and is sponsored by the archdiocesan Office for the New Evangelization.

“It’s a powerful experience of prayer,” Bus said of devotion to Jesus as Divine Mercy.

This particular devotion to Christ’s mercy originates in the diaries kept by St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun and visionary who wrote of Jesus’ desire for her to remind the world of three petitions to the Divine Mercy: for the conversion and transformation of our lives; for worldwide openness to the mercy of God; and for peace in the world.

St. Faustina died in 1938, and was canonized by St. Pope John Paul II on the same day he proclaimed Divine Mercy Sunday.

This year’s vigil will begin at 5 p.m. on April 2 with a Mass in English at St. Stanislaus Kostka, followed by group prayers offered by English- and Spanishspeaking communities. A Mass in Polish will follow at nearby Holy Trinity Polish Mission at 1118 N. Noble St., followed by a procession of light back to St. Stanislaus Kostka. Group prayers will again be offered by the Polish-speaking and Filipino communities.

The event’s goal is to build community through prayer.

“It can be a rather lonely walk through life,” Bus said. “We come together in sacred assembly to support each other.”

Silent prayers and eucharistic adoration will be offered through the very early hours of April 3. St. Stanislaus is home to a ninefoot, hand-carved iconic monstrance of Our Lady of the Sign, Ark of Mercy installed at the parish in 2008 as part of the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy. The sanctuary serves as the official shrine to the Divine Mercy devotion in Chicago. The church has not locked its doors since the monstrance’s arrival eight years ago.

The keynote Mass on April 3 will be celebrated at 3 p.m. by Jesuit Father James Kubicki, national director of the Apostleship of Prayer. Created in 1844 as the pope’s own prayer group, the apostleship has received renewed popularity with the January debut of Pope Francis’ monthly prayer video intentions.

Kubicki reminds us that mercy is a twoway street.

“Mercy requires conversion,” he said. “God is infinitely merciful, but he cannot force his mercy on us. We have to accept it, and that’s conversion.”

But once we accept God’s mercy, our lives are changed forever, he said.

He recounts Pope Francis’ message on last month’s World Day for the Sick, when the pope talked about Jesus turning water turning into wine at the wedding at Cana.

“In Jesus’ hands, the water of our lives becomes precious wine,” Kubicki said.


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  • st. stanislaus kostka
  • maria faustina kawalska