Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Cathedral homily traces recent popes’ great emphasis on God’s mercy

By JEAN DRISKELL, Special to the Bulletin | Published April 14, 2016

ATLANTA—Eucharistic exposition and Benediction for Divine Mercy Sunday were presented at the Cathedral of Christ the King April 3 by Deacon Gerald Zukauckas, spiritual director of the Divine Mercy Apostolate.

The celebration began after the 7:15 p.m. Mass and was in conjunction with the Divine Mercy celebration held earlier that day at St. Marguerite d’Youville Church, Lawrenceville.

The large replica of the original Divine Mercy image was placed on a pedestal in the sanctuary. Deacon Zukauckas carried the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament and placed it on the altar. Before the first reading, from Ephesians, Sharon Zukauckas, program coordinator of the apostolate, said, “In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we come to be more compassionate and loving.”

Deacon Zukauckas spoke of the diary of St. Faustina Kowalska, who received the vision of Jesus as the Divine Mercy. Jesus revealed to her that he desired “a Feast of Mercy” and that the Divine Mercy image “be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter; that Sunday is to be the Feast of Mercy” and be publicly displayed.

“The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness,” Deacon Zukauckas quoted from the diary. “Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy.”

Deacon Zukauckas quoted Pope Francis saying, “Jesus has this message for us: mercy. This is the Lord’s most powerful message: mercy.”

He said that Pope St. John XXIII and Pope St. John Paul II were the “two popes who were instrumental in progressing the cause of devotion to the Divine Mercy in the forms proposed by St. Faustina, based upon the visions she received from the Divine Mercy, Our Lord, Jesus Christ.”

Pope Francis, on Divine Mercy Sunday in 2015, issued a papal bull proclaiming the “Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy” Holy Year.

“The opening words of the decree state, ‘Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s Mercy,’” he said. “The motto for this Holy Year is: Merciful like the Father.”

Pope Francis asked that for the duration of the Holy Year every cathedral and basilica open a Door of Mercy, “through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God.”

Archbishop Gregory honored the pope’s decree by opening the Holy Doors at the Cathedral of Christ the King and at six other churches in the archdiocese.

“Thus the Jubilee is being celebrated both in Rome and throughout the world as a visible sign of the Church’s universal communion,” Deacon Zukauckas said.

He also said that Pope Francis called St. Faustina Kowalska the great apostle of mercy and that the Pope said that Mercy is the very foundation of the Church’s life.

He stated that through St. Faustina’s vision, “Jesus instructed her regarding the message of His Divine Mercy with a primary message and prayer being ‘Jezu, Ufam Tobie’ which is Polish for “Jesus, I Trust You.”

Deacon Zukauckas said that these private revelations recorded by St. Faustina in her Diary “have been determined to be based firmly upon Holy Scripture and fully in keeping with the teachings of our Holy Catholic Church.”

St. Faustina was canonized in 2000 on the first Sunday after Easter by St. John Paul II who proclaimed that this Sunday will be called “Divine Mercy Sunday.”

“Some of the devotional forms which spring from St. Faustina’s revelations, such as the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy, and the veneration of the image of Jesus, The Divine Mercy,” Deacon Zukauckas said, “are especially vivid ways of contemplating and drawing us into the Paschal mystery.”

He also said that this Divine Mercy Sunday is a “day that emphasizes the whole Easter Triduum, of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. Therefore, Divine Mercy Sunday is not an alternative theme to Easter Sunday, but rather a completion to it.”

Deacon Zukauckas concluded by saying that this Sunday “signifies Jesus, our Lord and Savior, as the God of love and forgiveness. Jesus, The Divine Mercy Incarnate. It always has and always will, and that is why we venerate this image. ‘Jezu, Ufam Tobie’! Jesus, I trust in You!”

There was time for silent prayer after the homily.

The chaplet of Our Lady of Divine Mercy was recited, then the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, followed by Intercessions, then the Litany of The Divine Mercy of Jesus, and followed by the “Prayer of Entrustment of the World to The Divine Mercy.”

With the monstrance held high, Deacon Zukauckas led the congregation in a procession around the church, singing.

After the Benediction, veneration of the two first-class relics of St. Faustina followed.