About 150 people took part in a special Divine Mercy Sunday celebration on April 12 at Holy Family Church in St. Albert.

About 150 people took part in a special Divine Mercy Sunday celebration on April 12 at Holy Family Church in St. Albert.

May 4, 2015
PETRONILA JASA
SPECIAL TO THE WCR

For St. Albert's Holy Family Parish, Divine Mercy Sunday April 12 was the occasion for more than the usual Sunday celebrations.

The possessor of a first class relic of St. Faustina Kowalska, who gave the world the message of divine mercy prior to her death in 1938, the parish held a special afternoon period of Eucharistic Adoration, veneration of the relic and Benediction.

Since 2007, the parish has had a special commemoration of Divine Mercy Sunday, an event whose prominence was highlighted when it obtained the relic from the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy in Cracow, Poland in 2012.

The relic is now enshrined in a 30-cm reliquary placed in a permanent niche in the chapel wall. Beside it are framed images of the Divine Mercy and St. Faustina.

Present at the devotion was a first class relic of St. Faustina, which is kept in this reliquary.

Present at the devotion was a first class relic of St. Faustina, which is kept in this reliquary.

"The fact that we are all here in this church right now, in the presence of the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, at this hour of the day, when the church would normally be closed, is in itself an evidence of God's mercy," said Father Peter Ebidero, associate pastor.

The 3 p.m. devotion drew about 150 participants.

Ebidero led the chaplet of divine mercy and delivered a homily while the pastor, Father Maurice Okolie, heard confessions.

Just below the altar was the divine mercy image, instantly recognizable by the red and white rays coming from the heart of Jesus and the signature "Jesus I trust in You" written on the bottom.

Ebidero said God's mercy has always existed and can be found in numerous events in the Old and New testaments. The message of divine mercy as revealed to St. Faustina is not a new teaching.

BE MERCIFUL

What is perhaps new is the emphasis on the other half of the message of mercy, where we are commanded to be merciful to others, he said.

The relic is a unique treasure for Holy Family Parish, and perhaps unique to the archdiocese. Obtaining a first class relic of a saint is not easy and not all those who ask obtain one.

The relic is made up of small fragments of bones from the physical remains of the saint, prepared using specific cleaning and preservation procedures and sealed with a special seal.

Relics of bones are only granted to parishes of whom the divine mercy is patron or those where the divine mercy devotion is strong.

According to an April 2012 article from Gazeta Krakowska, there are 4,189 first class relics of St. Faustina which have so far made their way to parishes, congregations and even to exorcists in 102 countries.

That, the article claims, makes St. Faustina the most popular and most efficacious canonized saint in the world. There are testimonies of miraculous healings and of the casting out of devils during exorcisms, some of which were performed in the convent chapel where the saint is buried.