Apr 28, 2014

Greenfield parish hosts deanery-wide Divine Mercy Sunday celebration



Story and photos by Tim Lindop

GREENFIELD – Following a procession of the Knights of Columbus, beginning the celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday at Blessed Sacrament Churchhere, Springfield Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell knelt facing the crucifix and led the congregation in the Lord’s Prayer.

The parish’s deacon, Deacon John Leary, followed with the Novena Prayer of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, which includes these words: “Eternal Father, look down upon the souls of the faithful with mercy as the beloved heritage of your son.”

The congregants, many with their eyes shut, all with their heads bowed, repeated the prayer recited by Deacon Leary. The church’s music group accompanied the prayer with a subdued performance.

Father Timothy J. Campoli, pastor of Blessed Sacrament, told iobserve, “To experience his mercy, we have to learn mercy ourselves. We have to be merciful to everyone around us.”

The canonizations of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II recognized the role played by Pope John Paul II in the beatification and canonization of St. Faustina, the Polish nun who, through a series of visions, spoke with Christ about his meaning of mercy. 

“John Paul had (a) great devotion to mercy… his encyclical was basically taken from St. Faustina’s diary,” Father Campoli said. “After she was canonized, Pope John Paul died on the weekend of Divine Mercy Sunday,” he said.

After Bishop McDonnell had finished the Lord’s Prayer, he spoke to the congregation about what Christ had modeled for his disciples. “Jesus, their Lord, their teacher, their master, their rabbi, their hoped-for Messiah, had gotten down on his hands and knees to wash their feet as the most menial servant might have done,” the bishop said. “He had given them an example of how they were to serve one another.” 

The bishop reminded worshipers that the virtues of humility and mercy serve as the cornerstones of the church.

From the lectern, the bishop provided the congregation with these thoughts: “As we reflect on what happened in Jerusalem between Holy Thursday and Easter Night, we begin to understand what is meant by Christ’s first greeting to his disciples following his resurrection, ‘Peace be with you.’”

Leaving the lectern, the bishop continued to lead the congregation in prayer, with the congregation repeating after his recitation.