My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The Lord is risen! Alleluia! As we enter this Easter season, I pray you will not let your hearts be heavy with the current health pandemic. The God who conquered death and rose to life is the same God that is carrying all of us through these times. How well did Jesus describe our own time when he told Saint Faustina, “Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy.” As true today as it was in the 1930s, mankind seeks consolation in many places, yet finds no reprieve. But God does not abandon us. No, the great promise of Divine Mercy is that anyone who seeks out the Lord will have their fill of His compassion:
No soul that has approached Me has ever gone away unconsoled. All misery gets buried in the depths of My mercy, and every saving and sanctifying grace flows from this fountain. . . .Sooner would heaven and earth turn into nothingness than would My mercy not embrace a trusting soul. (Diary of St. Faustina, 1777)
This loving message from our Lord is certainly fitting for our current situation. However, this message is also fitting as we approach Divine Mercy Sunday on April 19.
As we will hear in our Gospel reading, our Lord stood before the Disciples who were locked in the upper room out of fear and said, “Peace be with you.” He then gave the Disciples the gift of the Holy Spirit and the ability, or rather responsibility, to forgive or retain sins. Jesus gave the Disciples the responsibility of being instruments of His divine mercy.
Our Lord’s loving mercy is for all. All those who are sick and suffering. All those believers and nonbelievers. And as we specifically remember on this Divine Mercy Sunday, all those who have suffered the loss of a child through abortion. We are all invited by our Lord to know His mercy, His love, and His healing.
On this Divine Mercy Sunday, I am reminded of the words spoken by Pope Saint John Paul II, who said,
“From the beginning of her existence the Church, pointing to the mystery of the Cross and the Resurrection, has preached the mercy of God, a pledge of hope and a source of salvation for man. Nonetheless, it would appear that we today have been particularly called to proclaim this message before the world. We cannot neglect this mission, if God himself has called us to it through the testimony of Saint Faustina.
“The message of merciful love needs to resound forcefully anew. The world needs this love. The hour has come to bring Christ’s message to everyone: to rulers and the oppressed, to those whose humanity and dignity seem lost in the mysterium iniquitatis. The hour has come when the message of Divine Mercy is able to fill hearts with hope and to become the spark of a new civilization: the civilization of love.
“The Church desires tirelessly to proclaim this message, not only by convincing words, but by the ready practice of mercy. This is why she ceaselessly holds up stupendous examples of individuals who out of love for God and for man “went forth and bore fruit.””
We are indeed living through an extraordinary time, one filled with much uncertainty. But during these times, we cannot forget the ever present mercy offered to all people from our Lord and Savior. Our Lord wants to pour out this mercy on us, especially those hurting because of an abortion. You are not alone. You are loved. There is no unforgivable sin, and God desires nothing more than to forgive and welcome all people as His own.
While we cannot at this time meet in person for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, our Lord is still outstretching his hand of mercy. All you need do is welcome Him and accept the mercy He offers.
I pray that through the intercession of our Blessed Mother, we may all open our hearts to our Lord’s Divine Mercy and that we will be willing to share our stories of His mercy in our lives with all those we meet.
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Reverend Ronald W. Gainer
Bishop’s Message for Divine Mercy Sunday Extends to Those Who Have Suffered an Abortion
My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The deadline for submissions to the biweekly Notebook/Parish Obituaries listing is every other Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. Please refer to the Publication Schedule for edition dates and deadlines.