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The most important aspect of preparing for Christmas is concern about spiritual matters, so as to prepare for the new birth of the Son of God in your soul. This is why during this period we make a number of resolutions intended to organize our spiritual life, attend retreats and participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In many shrines of Divine Mercy, including the ones in Krakow-Łagiewniki and Plock, as well as in other churches, long lines are setting up for confession. Without this, preparations for Christmas will be deprived of the deepest joy that is the presence of God in your soul and they might become just two days off from work and an opportunity to give presents which fill you with joy only briefly. You do believe that God was born in a Bethlehem manger, but woe to you if He is not born in you, wrote the poet Adam Mickiewicz.

 

 

On December 23, in the parish of Christ of the Good Journey Church in Camagüey, Cuba at 7 pm, Sr. Filipina of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy, together with catechists and children attending religious education there will present a nativity play titled “What happened when they met: Faith, Hope and Love”.

During the fourth week of Advent, St. Faustina will lead us deep into our souls, which also became the birthplace of Jesus in us. Jesus came to this world to be born in every human heart and make it happy. “I seek no happiness except in my interior”, she wrote, “in which God abides. I rejoice in God within me. Here I dwell constantly with Him; here I am at my most intimate with Him; here I safely dwell with Him, here is a place beyond the reach of human gaze. The Blessed Virgin is encouraging me to abide with God in this manner” (Diary, 454). Let us try to make the last days of Advent a time of the new birth of Jesus not only in our hearts through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but let us strive to make sure that He finds a place in many human souls through our prayer and sacrifice.

The nearest “Łagiewniki 22”, which is a monthly meeting of young people at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki, will be held on December 22nd. In this year of formation, the young will meet at 7 pm for an evening of Divine Mercy veneration in front of the miracle-famous image of Merciful Jesus and the tomb of St. Faustina. Those who cannot physically come to Łagiewniki, can connect to the on-line broadcast at at www.faustyna.pl.

Following the Bells of Hope initiative which was recently born at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki, Apostles of Divine Mercy in Australia would like to fund similar bells for Samoa and Tonga, to sound the message of mercy for the world from St. Faustina. The inhabitants of these two islands in Oceania are presently under terrible threat to their lives from the rising waters of the Pacific Ocean and also the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The bells cast in Poland and blessed at the Łagiewniki Shrine of Divine Mercy will be delivered to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Consumption in the capital city of Apia on Samoa, which is the home of the Divine Mercy Center in Oceania, the main coordinator of which is Archbishop Alapati Lui Mataeliga, and to the Basilica of St. Anthony of Padua in the capital city of Nuku’alofa on Tongo, where the dynamic movement of Divine Mercy has many members and apostles of Divine Mercy, headed by Cardinal Saone Patita Paini Mafi. In mid-August 2021, in Apia, Samoa, the V World Congress of Divine Mercy Apostles will be hosted. For more information, visit https://gf.me/u/y22t6r

The Polish name for the votive Mass celebrating the Virgin Mary, celebrated in Advent is “roraty”. The name comes from the words of the introit which begins with: rorate caeli desuper – “Drop down ye heavens from above”. At the altar, a special candle decorated with a white ribbon is lit, symbolizing the Virgin, and the faithful hold lighted candles that illuminate the darkness inside the church while they are waiting for a sign of the coming of Christ. This candle is referred to as “roratka”. At the Shrine of Divine Mercy, this Mass is celebrated on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays at 6.30 am. Internet users can get involved in the prayer online at www.faustyna.pl.

People from many countries of the world participating in the work of the Perpetual Chaplet of Divine Mercy are praying not only in their own intentions, but also asking for “mercy on us and the whole world”. Specific intention for December: For a spiritually fruitful experience of Advent and Christmas for us and our families, as well as for the grace of conversion and confession for those who have long not used this sacrament to make Christmas happen in their hearts too.

The work of Perpetual Chaplet is a response to the request of Jesus to constantly implore for mercy “for us and the whole world”. The work has been operated by the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy at: www.faustyna.pl since 2011. Anyone can participate in it by filling out a short form and declare to say the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, which Jesus dictated to St. Faustinaat least once.

 

Let us spend the third week of this Advent contemplating the mystery of Divine Mercy in the Nativity of Christ. Sister Faustina wrote: “And the uncomprehended miracle of Your mercy is accomplished, O Lord: the Word is made Flesh, God – the Word of God, Mercy Incarnate – has come to dwell among us. You have raised us up to Your Divinity by stooping down to us here is the surfeit of Your love, the infinite depth of Your mercy. The Heavens are astounded at the surfeit of Your love. No longer does anyone fear to approach You. You are the God of mercy; You take pity on our wretchedness; You are our God, and we are Your people. You are a Father unto us, and we are Your children by Your grace; may Your mercy be praised for Your gracious coming down to us” (Diary, 1745). Let us follow St. Faustina in considering the merciful love of God in the miracle of the Son of God being born in the stable in Bethlehem and in the soul of man. Let us thank Him for wanting to be so close to us from birth through all the events of life until death, to live with us in the Father’s house and make us heirs to Heaven.

On December 16 a novena to the Infant Jesus will start in all the convents of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, including the chapel of the miracle-famous Image of Merciful Jesus and the tomb of St. Faustina in the Shrine of Divine Mercy. Traditionally, the antiphons sung and the Litany of the Infant Jesus recited there prepare the faithful spiritually for Christmas.

On December 16-18, an online Advent event titled “Merciful Father. I cast myself into Your arms, Father of Mercy”, which will be broadcast from the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki.

Over the next three years, the Advent retreats will be focused on exploring the mercy of the Holy Trinity. This year, we will be contemplating the mercy of the Father.

The online retreat, organized by the Faustinum Association, will be delivered by Fr. Dr. Stanislaw Witkowski, M.S., a La Salette Missionary, biblical scholar, preacher and spiritual director. According to the program, which will soon be available at www.faustinum.pl, you will find daily videos to be used as prompts for your personal prayer and meditation. The recordings of the conferences will remain on the website until the end of Advent, i.e., until December 23. After this date, you will be able to purchase a CD with MP3 recordings of the teachings.

On December 19 in Camagüey, at the mission house in the district of La Belén, Sr. Filipina of the community the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy, together with the local Caritas, are organizing a Christmas party for children and their parents. The program includes workshops with a psychologist, singing carols and a festive meal.

In the second week of Advent with St. Faustina, we would like to invite you to consider Divine Mercy in the mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God. “God, You did not allow Man to perish after his fall, but in Your mercy forgave him; You forgave him in a Divine manner, not only forgiving his sin but also bestowing all manner of graces upon him. Mercy prompted You to come to come down to us Yourself and lift us up out of our wretchedness. God, the Lord of Lords, is to come down on Earth, the Immortal One is to stoop down. But where will You come down, O Lord? To Solomon’s temple? Will You have a new abode built for You? Where do You intend to come down? O Lord, what kind of abode shall we build You, if the whole Earth is Your footstool? You have prepared an abode for Yourself: the Holy Virgin, Her immaculate womb is Your dwelling” (Diary, 1745). During this week, let us follow St. Faustina in contemplating the Mercy of God in the mystery of the incarnation of His Son, Who took on a human form in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Let’s be thankful that human nature became elevated in this way, and has been present in the mystery of the Trinity through Jesus ever since.

This quotation will be the theme of the virtual meeting to be held on December 12-13 this year, organized by priests from the Congregation of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri in Argentina. It will be attended by eight sisters from the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy. The project of this event was born in the time of acute economic, social and spiritual crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic in Argentina (several months of radical quarantine) and the entire South America. Conferences concerning God’s mercy and its meaning in our time will be delivered by Fr. Germán Saksonoff, head of the Center for Spirituality of St. Faustina in Argentina and the editor-in-chief of La Hora de la Misericordia, Eduardo Arnau, the founder of the Cristo Hoy Catholic weekly magazine, and Fr. Mauro Carlorosi, author of Divine Mercy Preparing the World. Conferences on the mystery and worship of Divine Mercy in the forms provided by Sister Faustina in the context of the pandemic, the life of the Apostle of Divine Mercy and the Faustinum Association continuing her mission, will be delivered by Sisters of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy from the Krakow-Łagiewniki Shrine (Sr. Miriam, Sr. M. Teresa, Sr. Clareta, Sr. Emanuela, Sr. Eliana, Sr. Faustia, and Sr. Maria Faustyna) and Washington, DC community (Sr. Gaudia). The program of the two-day event, to be conducted in Spanish, will also involve prayer at the Hour of Mercy and the Chaplet, Adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and presentations about the life of St. Faustina in Głogowiec, Plock, Warsaw and Krakow. To learn more and join the event, click http://www.hablaalmundo.com

The Archdiocesan Museum in Tarnów has prepared an exhibition devoted to Fr. Joseph Andrasz, S.J., the Krakow confessor and spiritual director of St. Faustina, who became involved in the mission of proclaiming the message of Mercy after her death. Under his guidance, the painting of Merciful Jesus was created by Adolf Hyła, and is now famous for many graces in the Łagiewniki Shrine. On his initiative, immediately after World War II, memories of Sister Faustina were collected and a booklet titled Divine Mercy, we trust in You, popularizing the devotion to Divine Mercy in the forms St. Faustina provided was published. It has been translated into many languages and has contributed greatly to the popularization in many countries. The exhibition will present memorabilia connected with Father Andrasz – manuscripts, photographs and scientific publications, translations of many mystics and theologians of spirituality. There are also vestments with the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Jesuit religious habit, a breviary, rosary and walking stick which Fr. Andrasz used near the end of his life. The exhibition will be open until January 20, 2021.

The Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy would like to warn everyone againts buying counterfeit relics of St. Faustina which have appeared online, e.g. on :  https://www.catawiki.com/l/42181927-reliquary-metal-late-20th-century. The Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy is the sole custodian of the relics of St. Faustina. Relics of the first and second degree are donated to parish churches or chapels which proclaim the message of God’s Mercy and practice the devotion to the Divine Mercy. Relics of the third degree (the canvas on which the bones of St. Faustina used to be deposited) are available in laminated pictures, medallions and rosaries are designed for the faithful who practice individual devotion.

On December 5-8, at the parish of the Visitation in Elmhurst, one of the suburbs of Chicago, Sr. Gaudia and Sr. Grace from the DC community of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy will lead an Advent retreat on Divine Mercy with the theme Hope Restored. The motto of the event will be the words of St. John Paul II uttered at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki: ‘How greatly today’s world needs God’s mercy. … You have to communicate the fire of mercy to the world.’ He said this about the message of Mercy to the world provided by St. Faustina and expressed his desire that this message is ‘made known to all the inhabitants of the earth and fills their hearts with hope.’ This is the goal of the Advent retreat in Chicago.

ZAEX has published Memoirs of Saint Faustina in Slovak translation made by Sisters of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy under the title Spomienky na sv. Faustínu. The book includes accounts by 96 people who witnessed the life of Sister Faustina. We can learn how they remembered the Apostle of Divine Mercy’s looks and temperament, and how she was perceived by those around her. The speakers do not hide their affection or dislike of the Saint. The first edition of this collection of memories was published in 2013 by the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy’s publishing body, Misericordia. In the book’s review, Fr. Prof. Stanisław Ziemiański, S.J., wrote: Memoirs offer a fascinating read. Vividly describing the everyday life of the future saint, they allow the reader to take an unforgettable journey through time and have an extraordinary encounter with the Divine Mercy Advocate. The book had already been published in French, Spanish and Croatian translations as well.

On December 8th, at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki, Mass will be celebrated at 5 pm in the intentions of all the sponsors, donors and contributors of the media works carried out by the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, and especially those who support the Chaplet for the Dying at  www.faustyna.pl . Thanks to this support each year we are helping about twenty thousand dying people. Hundreds of thousands of individuals around the world can make a virtual pilgrimage to the Shrine of Łagiewniki and connect in prayer next to the miracle-famous image of Merciful Jesus and the tomb of St. Faustina. Sisters from the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy pray daily for the donors and benefactors who support the work, but this particular Eucharist will be a special gift of gratitude. You can join this celebration via the live video broadcast at faustyna.pl, and in the Faustyna.pl application.

On December 8, as on every eighth day of the month, the community of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Gdansk, Częstochowa, Kalisz and Kiekrz will support married couples praying for offspring. 530 of them are already expecting children, with many more already enjoying parenthood. Intentions asking for prayer for this purpose (names of married couples) can be sent by email at: kontakt@modlitwaopotomstwo.pl or through the fanpage: www.modlitwaopotomstwo.pl.

The community of people praying for children led by Fr. Andrzej Wiecki and sisters of the Gdańsk community of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy cordially invite married couples trying to conceive to Adoration of Merciful Jesus with a prayer for healing, which will take place on 8 December at 7.30 pm at the shrine of the Pregnant Holy Mother in Matemblewo. Live stream: www.facebook.com/modlitwaopotomstwo 

On December 8th,  the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Rabka, a ceremony of admission to postulate will be held for 4 candidates (3 Belarusian and Polish). After the religious ceremonies, Holy Mass will be celebrated by Fr. Rafał Radwański in the chapel of the convent in the intention of the postulants.

The period of postulancy is the first trial in religious life. It is intended, first of all, to gradually introduce new sisters into the life of the Congregation, and also to complement and extend their religious knowledge, to shape the culture of coexistence with others according to the etiquette, to develop the practice of natural virtues and to facilitate a closer familiarization with the life and apostolic mission of the Congregation. This is achieved through attending lectures  and study, but also through prayer and work in the community of sisters.

On November 29, spiritual preparations for the celebration of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary will begin in all the houses of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. There is to be a communal novena consisting of antiphons and the Litany of Loreto. In addition the sisters will be marking the Holy Day with an annual gift to the Mother of Mercy. Over and above the obligatory prayer in the convents' chapels and her spiritual exercise, Saint Faustina used to make a novena which consisted in saying 1,000 „Hail Marys” each day. She admitted: Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Apart from recreation, I have only prayed and worked. I have not said a single unnecessary word during these days. Although I must admit that such a matter requires a good deal of attention and effort, nothing is too much when it comes to honoring the Immaculate Virgin (Diary, 1413). You yourselves can also take part in the prayer online, thanks to our live transmissions from the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki.

Sister Faustina would begin every Advent with Virgin Mary. Before the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, she would practice a novena with the whole Congregation, and in addition to that, she would always try to offer something more to the Mother of God (e.g. a novena of a thousand Hail Marys). She considered mercy that Mary experienced as a gift of her immaculate conception and the fullness of grace guaranteed to her by Archangel Gabriel, and the gift of Divine motherhood. The one who was chosen to become the Mother of the Son of God knows best how to experience the period of awaiting the coming of Jesus. She advised Sister Faustina: “try to make yourself meek and humble, so that Jesus, Who dwells perpetually in your heart, may rest. Adore Him in your heart, do not leave your interior” (Diary, 785). This may also be our decision for this Advent week to prepare our hearts for God’s ever more complete presence therein.

Such is the theme of the virtual conference organised every Friday in the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in the Philippines.  The conference is under the patronage of the National Coordinator of the Divine Mercy in the Philippines, Bishop Ruperto C. Santos and Shrine Rector, Fr. Propero Tenorio.  To this event, the Association of the Apostles of Divine Mercy “Faustinum” has been invited to participate. Sr. M. Teresa de la Fuente from the convent of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki shall give the talk on the December 4th episode of this series.  The conference topic are the words taken from St. Faustina’s Diary:  “Patience, prayer and silence – these are the things that fortify the soul” (Dairy 944). The conference will be aired through the Facebook page of the National Shrine and Parish of the Divine Mercy in the Philippines. See link below:
https://www.facebook.com/NSPDMofficial/videos/1342780469404981/?vh=e&d=n

November 30 is the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Dives in misericordia Encyclical by John Paul II. This is the first papal document in the history of the Church entirely devoted to the mystery of divine and human mercy. Although John Paul II never mentioned St. Faustina in this document, nor did he directly refer to her spiritual legacy, he did enclose the main message from her Diary therein. This message is about recalling the biblical truth of God’s merciful love for man and proclaiming it to the modern world with a new power through the witness of life, deeds, word and prayer. The identity of this message in both works is striking not only in the way they show the mystery of Divine Mercy as the greatest attribute of the Trinity, but also how they look at the concept of mercy. Both Saints from Cracow show the beauty and richness of properly understood mercy. Moreover, in both works we read about the same tasks that arise from the knowledge and experience of God’s merciful love. These are: proclaiming the mystery of Divine Mercy, doing mercy and asking for Divine Mercy.

The Dives in misericordia encyclical and the Diary, although they are generically different works, actually contain the same message: the mystery of God’s mercy, which is at the core of the Bible and the experience of every human being. These two works show what Divine Mercy is in a complementary way, speaking about how incomprehensible God’s greatness and power of action is in the lives of people and the world. Thanks to these documents, from the point of view of theology and mystical experience, the Church of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries could better learn and live this truth revealed in the Bible.

Advent is approaching, Sister Faustina wrote in her Diary. I want to prepare my heart for the coming of the Lord Jesus by silence and recollection of spirit, uniting myself with the Most Holy Mother and faithfully imitating Her virtue of silence, by which She found pleasure in the eyes of God Himself.  I trust that, by Her side, I will persevere in this resolution (Diary, 1398). This year, the first Sunday of Advent falls on 29th of November. Liturgically, Advent and the new year in the liturgy of the Church begins with vespers on November 28th. It constitutes a time of joyful anticipation of Christmas, spiritual preparation for this holiday and for the second coming of Christ on Earth, in addition to building our sensitivity to His everyday coming to us here and now, as St. Faustina did, through exercise in silence and recollection of spirit. The joy of experiencing the mystery of faith which tells us of the birth of the Son of God in human flesh, Mercy Incarnate, depends on this expectation and spiritual preparation.

 

In the time of the pandemic which affects all areas of our lives, the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy is all the more grateful to all benefactors and donors for their support for our apostolic work to benefit thousands of online visitors and people who are dying and in desperate need of prayerful support. Please accept our gratitude for the support of the Chaplet for the Dying and the live video broadcasting from the Shrine of Divine Mercy, and last but not least, our website, www.saint-faustina.org. Your generosity shows God’s mercy going out into the world through people. The Sisters recommend all donors and benefactors in their daily prayers, asking for God’s blessings and grace which they need. With all this in mind, let Divine Mercy be praised!

On November 23, another Monday’s meeting will be held at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki, dedicated to contemplating the Catechism of the Catholic Church and prayer at the miracle-famous Divine Mercy image and the tomb of St. Faustina for the recovery of faith in the Eucharistic presence of Jesus, and for priests. At 6.45 pm, Fr. Janusz Kościelniak will lead a short meditation based on the articles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (88-95).  The focal point of the program will be the encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, with individual blessing. Those who cannot physically come to Łagiewniki, can connect to the on-line broadcast at www.faustyna.pl.

Every evening in November, the Rosary for the Dead is prayed in the chapel with the image of the Merciful Jesus and the tomb of St. Faustina at the Shrine in Krakow-Łagiewniki, as well as in all other chapels of the Congregation. Praying the Rosary with others in a church, a public chapel, with your family, or in a religious community or pious organization can gain you a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions. In Poland a plenary indulgence can also be obtained by reciting the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Prayer is a great good that those still living on Earth can offer to those who have already departed from it and are expecting our aid, as they cannot help themselves anymore. Mercy rendered to the dead, like any good done to others, is also the wealth of those who practice it.

People from many countries of the world participating in the work of the Perpetual Chaplet of Divine Mercy are praying not only in their own intentions, but also asking for “mercy on us and the whole world”. Specific intention for November: for the coronavirus pandemic to end, for the necessary graces for the sick, the dying and the medical personnel, as well as for the joy of heaven for the deceased.

The work of Perpetual Chaplet is a response to the request of Jesus to constantly implore for mercy “for us and the whole world”. The work has been operated by the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy at: www.faustyna.pl since 2011. Anyone can participate in it by filling out a short form and declare to say the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, which Jesus dictated to St. Faustinaat least once.