Divine Mercy Sunday, also known as the Feast of Mercy, is celebrated on the Second Sunday of Easter in the Catholic Church. This important feast day originated from the visions and divine revelations given to St. Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun who promoted the devotion to the Divine Mercy of Jesus.

On Divine Mercy Sunday, Catholics commemorate God’s inconceivable mercy and the gift of forgiveness offered through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. The feast encourages devotional practices like the Divine Mercy Chaplet, veneration of the Divine Mercy image, and receiving Holy Communion to obtain complete remission of sins.

Divine Mercy Sunday: Meaning and History

Divine Mercy Sunday is celebrated on the Second Sunday of Easter, as Pope John Paul II declared during the Canonization of St. Faustina Kowalska in the Jubilee Year 2000. This significant feast day originated from the visions and divine revelations given to St. Faustina, a Polish nun who promoted devotion to Jesus’s Divine Mercy.

According to St. Faustina’s diary, Jesus said:

“I want the Image to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after, and I want it to be venerated publicly so that every soul may know about it… My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable. I desire that the feast of divine mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy.”

According to St. Faustina’s Diary, Jesus also revealed that those who receive Holy Communion and go to Confession Divine Mercy Sunday will receive complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. To receive these graces, one must:

  • Make a good confession beforehand
  • Stay in a state of grace
  • Trust in His Divine Mercy
  • Receive Holy Communion worthily on Divine Mercy Sunday

Furthermore, Saint Pope John Paul II discussed the significance of the, stating that the blood and water flowing from Christ’s pierced side represent:

Key Points

  • St. Faustina was a Polish nun who received visions from Jesus, including the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
  • Jesus instructed St. Faustina to establish the Feast of Mercy on the Sunday after Easter.
  • Those who receive Communion and go to Confession on Divine Mercy Sunday receive complete forgiveness of sins and punishment.
  • The blood and water in the Divine Mercy image symbolize the sacrifice of the Cross, the Eucharist, and the Holy Spirit.
  • Pope John Paul II officially designated the Second Sunday of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday in 2000.

Divine Mercy Devotions

The Divine Mercy devotion is deeply rooted in Scripture, particularly the Gospel reading from John 20:19-31, which describes Jesus empowering the apostles to forgive or retain sins. This passage is read on the Second Sunday of Easter, linking the devotion to the liturgical celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday.

The Church encourages the faithful to participate in the following Divine Mercy devotions and practices:

  1. The Divine Mercy Image: Based on St. Faustina’s vision, it depicts Jesus with rays of red and pale light emanating from His heart, symbolizing the blood and water that flowed from His pierced side on the Cross.
  2. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy: A set of prayers recited on rosary beads, typically at 3 p.m., the hour of Jesus’ death. The chaplet invokes God’s mercy through the powerful prayer, “For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”
  3. The Divine Mercy Novena: A nine-day novena that Jesus dictated to St. Faustina to be prayed from Good Friday to the Feast of Divine Mercy.
  4. Deeds of Mercy: Both spiritual and corporal works of mercy are integrity into the Divine Mercy devotion, as they glorify God’s mercy in action.
  5. Veneration of the Divine Mercy Image: Jesus promised many graces to those who venerate the Divine Mercy image, which serves as a reminder of His infinite love and mercy.
  6. Confession and Holy Communion: Jesus invited all souls, especially poor sinners, to the Feast of Mercy, promising complete forgiveness of sins and punishment for those who go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on that day.

By participating in these devotions, the faithful can obtain the plenary indulgence granted by the Church for Divine Mercy Sunday, as well as experience a complete renewal of baptismal grace and cleansing of the soul.

Scriptural Links

The Bible provides a strong scriptural foundation for the Catholic Church’s celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday and the devotion to God’s infinite mercy.

  • The first reading from Acts 4:32-35 depicts the early Christian community practicing radical charity and trust in God’s providence, reflecting the spirit of mercy.
  • In 1 John 5:6-8, the blood and water flowing from Christ’s pierced side symbolize the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Baptism, which dispense divine mercy.
  • The Gospel reading from John 20:19-31 recounts Jesus appearing to the disciples, showing His wounds, and empowering them to forgive sins through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, a profound act of mercy.

While the Bible does not explicitly mention “Divine Mercy Sunday,” numerous verses underscore God’s boundless mercy:

  • “…not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us…” (Titus 3:5)
  • “…who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)
  • “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us…” (Ephesians 2:4)
  • “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

These verses, among others like Deuteronomy 7:9, Psalm 25:10, and Lamentations 3:22-23, highlight the centrality of God’s mercy in salvation history and the Christian faith.


The observance of Divine Mercy Sunday holds immense significance in the Catholic faith. It serves as a powerful reminder of God’s boundless mercy and forgiveness, encouraging believers to trust in His infinite love. The devotions associated with this feast, such as the Divine Mercy Chaplet and the veneration of the Divine Mercy image, provide practical means for Catholics to deepen their relationship with the merciful Savior.

Through the celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday and the associated devotions, the Church invites its faithful to experience the transformative power of God’s mercy. It is an opportunity to receive complete forgiveness and renewal, allowing souls to be cleansed and strengthened in their spiritual journey. As we embrace this profound message, may we be inspired to extend the same compassion and mercy to others, radiating the love of Christ in our daily lives.


What Makes Divine Mercy Sunday a Key Event in the Catholic Church?

Divine Mercy Sunday is pivotal because it emphasizes God’s merciful love, a central theme of the Paschal Mystery – Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. This day, which concludes the Easter Octave, highlights the mercy of God as celebrated in the Eucharist, encapsulating the essence of Easter’s message.

How Does Divine Mercy Exhibit Its Strength?

Divine Mercy is considered powerful because it addresses the dire need for God’s mercy in the world, offering forgiveness, reconciliation, love, and salvation to sinners, especially those who may not seek it for themselves. It stands as a beacon of hope and purpose in a world rife with sin and despair.

Why is Mercy a Core Principle in the Catholic Faith?

In the Roman Catholic tradition, mercy is fundamental because Jesus tasked his followers with the duty of caring for others. Catholics live out this mission through the Works of Mercy, expressing charity’s fruit by showing love and compassion towards those afflicted in any form, be it emotionally, physically, or spiritually.

Does Divine Mercy Sunday Offer Forgiveness for All Sins?

According to the teachings conveyed to St. Faustina, Divine Mercy Sunday carries a profound promise: those who partake in Confession and receive Holy Communion on this day are granted complete absolution of their sins and the penalties they entail, offering a unique opportunity for spiritual renewal and redemption.