The Service of Divine Mercy Vespers & Benediction

The essential celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday consists of the celebration of the liturgy of the Second Sunday of Easter, during which the homily should focus on the scriptural readings of the day. It should be specially noted that the three cycles of scriptural readings and liturgical prayers are all centered on the forgiveness of sins and of God’s infinite mercy, which endures forever.

In addition, it is necessary that the day be publicly called by its proper name, “Divine Mercy Sunday.” The Decree of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments of May 5, 2000, which added this title to the Second Sunday of Easter, did not intend to leave this as an optional title. The Latin of the original decree literally states that “in the Roman Missal, after the title ‘Second Sunday of Easter,’ there shall henceforth be added the appellation ‘that is, Divine Mercy Sunday.’ ” Unfortunately, the English version in official use translates the phrase ambiguously: “or Divine Mercy Sunday.” But the Latin is clear: “seu,” in other words, “namely,” or “that is.”

Moreover, this was the Holy Father’s intention in granting this title to the Octave Day of Easter; it is clear from his own public announcement about establishing this Feast of Mercy during the homily for St. Faustina’s canonization when he stated: “It is important then that we accept the whole message that comes to us from the word of God on this Second Sunday of Easter, which from now on throughout the Universal Church will be called ‘Divine Mercy Sunday.’ ” In his Regina Caeli address on Divine Mercy Sunday, 2001, the Holy Father thanked God that he was able “to proclaim the Second Sunday of Easter as the feast of Divine Mercy for the entire Church.”