On the Catholic Church calendar, the Sunday after Easter is observed as the divine mercy Sunday.
It is based on the Catholic devotion to the divine mercy that a Polish nun, Saint sr Faustina Kowalska, reported after her encounter with Jesus in the 1930s. The day is associated with special promises from Jesus and indulgences issued by the Church.
“On this day, God is giving us complete forgiveness of our sins,” Ponsiano Ssembatya, a member of the Eucharist apostles of divine mercy (EADM), told The Observer on April 12.
Hundreds of Christians, mainly devotees of EADM, converged at Our Lady Queen of Peace Kiwamirembe shrine near Nakigalala tea estates to celebrate divine mercy Sunday.
“Our baptism is renewed on this day because the Lord [told] Sr Faustina that he gave to mankind only one hope of salvation and that is through the feast of divine mercy,” Sembatya said.
In preparation for this feast Sunday, some Christians spent three days and nights at Kiwamirembe in prayer, seeking the sacrament of penance. On the feast day, mass was delayed until about 1pm to allow Christians who lined up in long queues to seek penance.
At least six priests led by Fr Achilles Mayanja, the national coordinator of the divine mercy movement, sat in isolated corners leading the Christians through penance. At the main prayer area, Rev Fr Raymond De la Cluse aka Kalanzi, prepared the worshippers for a session of venerating the relics of Sr Faustina and Pope John Paul II, the apostles of divine mercy.
Among the worshippers that took turns to venerate and kiss the relics was Prof Ssemakula Kiwanuka, Uganda’s ambassador to United Arab Emirates. Several others waited impatiently for their turn to ask for better jobs, relationships, marriage, and healing.
“I came to pray for my family’s breakthrough, and that my family [remains] faithful to God and abide in His favour,” said Jacintah Mugula, who travelled all the way from Mukono.
“I kissed [the relics] and made a sign of the cross because [Faustina and Pope John Paul II] are holy people they intercede for us,” she excitedly told The Observer.
After more than an hour of veneration, queen dancers from the Charisma praise and worship team entertained the worshippers, ushering in a procession of the Eucharist.
The worshippers then bowed, going silent in meditation, presenting their petitions to God. Fr Raymond was to later lead them in a prayer on to the celebration of mass that was led by Rev Fr Joseph Mary Ssebunya, the chancellor of Kampala Archdiocese.
“Divine mercy is not an ordinary movement it is a new form [of] language that we should decode and understand the messages that God sends to us about the wonderful mercies of the Lord,” Ssebunya said in his homily. “The problem is many of you don’t appreciate the Lord’s mercies you come to seek penance but jokingly, and that is sinning against the mercy of God.”
He was preaching hours after Pope Francis declared a full year of divine mercy that will be observed by the church beginning December 8.
Source : The Observer