Drive-thru blessing inspires

During a recent downpour, the faithful of St. Michael Parish in Wauchula patiently lined up in their vehicles to be closer to the Lord.

Father Oscar Mendoza, Administrator of St. Michael, led a drive-thru blessing on July 25, 2020, with the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Father Mendoza stood in the rain, with the monstrance safely under an umbrella, and offered a blessing as each vehicle paused.

“At the beginning, the idea of ​​blessing families with the Blessed Sacrament was to replicate what was done a few months ago, visiting house to house and covering as much area as possible,” said Father Mendoza while explaining what actions were taken while the Parish Church was closed due the COVID-19 Pandemic.

While the Church is open for Mass, Father said there are some elderly, sick, or those who were still in fear due to the Pandemic that are staying away from Church.

Understanding the concern, Father Mendoza consulted with Bishop Frank J. Dewane about options for the public to participate in Adoration, but in a new format.

“This time it was more meaningful for families, thanks to the suggestion of the Bishop to be outside the church,” Father Mendoza explained. “In fact, it was a success. Many faithful came to the blessing despite the heavy rain that afternoon, which I called a ‘Rain-down of Blessings.’”

Father began by setting up an appropriate outside altar where he could pray before the Blessed Sacrament. While wearing a mask, Father carried Jesus forward in a monstrance to be closer to the faithful who remained in their vehicles.

“At that moment, and with great emotion, I could perceive that the individuals and families who received the blessing were deeply moved by His presence and continued on their way with great gratitude and joy in their hearts,” Father said. Some people were brought to tears while others sought specific prayers for family members who are struggling because of the Pandemic, whether they are ill, in fear, or out of work.

Father Mendoza said he plans to have another drive-thru blessing. “This act of faith could be promoted, since the faithful are hungry and thirsty for God, especially in this uncertain time when they cannot participate in Mass as before due to the pandemic.”

Divine Mercy Sunday “Jesus, I trust in You”

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

The Second Sunday of Easter, or Divine Mercy Sunday, completes the Octave of Easter, a celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the blessing of His continuing presence in our midst. The Gospel reading for Divine Mercy Sunday, April 28, recalls the encounter between St. Thomas and Jesus after the Resurrection.

For many in the Diocese of Venice, the Feast of Divine Mercy takes on a powerful meaning when they participate in a private or public prayer called the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Each year many parishes throughout the Diocese hold Divine Mercy services and novenas. The popularity of Divine Mercy has been noticed and embraced by many diverse communities throughout the Diocese.

Divine Mercy Sunday celebrates the mercy of Jesus as reminded us by St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, a religious sister who lived a humble life to whom Jesus appeared. St. Faustina was born in Krakow, Poland and lived from 1905-1938 being canonized by St. John Paul II in 2000, who at that time declared the Second Sunday of Easter is Divine Mercy Sunday.

St. Faustina wrote in her diary what Jesus told her: “I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls but especially for poor sinners. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon these souls who approach the fount of My Mercy… let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be many.”

The image of the Divine Mercy was created by St. Faustina who was told to paint the image of Jesus as she saw Him. The painting has the saying at the bottom: “Jesus, I Trust in You.” The rays emanating from Jesus represent water – which makes souls righteous — and blood — which is the life of souls, Jesus told St. Faustina.

At St. William Parish in Naples, Divine Mercy Sunday included the traditional afternoon prayer service. This included Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, a reflection from Father Anthony Lukka, recitation of the Divine Mercy Litany, singing of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and concluded with a veneration of the image of Divine Mercy. A large newly-created painting of the Divine Mercy image, by Rosalie Polivika Ramstead, was on display during the prayer service.

The prayer service began with a procession which brought the Divine Mercy image forward while being escorted by the Color Corps of the Knights of Columbus. First children, then adults placed red and white flowers before the image.

Divine Mercy Sunday serves as an important time to remind our brothers and sisters in Christ of our own need to be merciful and that no sin is too great to receive the Lord’s forgiveness, Father Lukka explained.

“Don’t take forgiveness for granted,” he warned. “You must ask for forgiveness, which will help you grow closer to Jesus Christ.”

Georgina Stringer loves the Divine Mercy devotion and takes part in the Novena of Divine Mercy which begins on Good Friday. “It is comforting to know that this devotion exists to allow us all to pray as one as we trust in the Lord to bring mercy upon the world.”

Pope Francis describes the Catholic Church as the “Church of Mercy” and stresses the importance that everyone “be apostles of God’s Mercy.”

From the Vatican on Divine Mercy Sunday, Pope Francis reflected on Christ’s wounds, which he said contain the difficulties and persecutions endured by people who suffer today.

“Touch the wounds of Jesus,” Pope Francis said. “The wounds of Jesus are a treasure from which mercy comes.”

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