|The Sunday after Easter Sunday|
On May 23, 2000, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments made public a Decree whereby the Supreme Pontiff, John Paul II, moved by the consideration of the Father of Mercy, has willed that the Second Sunday of Easter be dedicated to recalling with special devotion these gifts of grace and has given this Sunday the name, “Divine Mercy Sunday.”
The Pope had already announced this during Sister Faustina Kowalska’s canonization on April 30th : “In the entire Church, the Second Sunday of Easter will receive the name of Divine Mercy Sunday: a perennial invitation for the Christian world to confront, with trust in divine benevolence, the difficulties and the trials awaiting the human race in the years to come” (cf.).
However, the Pope had not written these words, and therefore, they did not come out in the official transcript of his speeches during that canonization.
Saint Faustina, who is known as the messenger of Divine Mercy, received mystical revelations in which Jesus showed her His heart, fountain of mercy, and He expressed His desire of this feast to be established. The Pope dedicated one of his encyclicals to the Divine Mercy (Dives in Misericordia).
The Apostles of the Divine Mercy consist of priests, religious and laity, united by the commitment of living mercifully in relation with their fellow brother and sisters, in order to make known the mystery of divine mercy and in order to invoke the mercy of God toward sinners. This spiritual family approved in 1996 by the Archdiocese of Krakow is present today in 29 countries all over the World.
The Vatican Decree clarifies that the liturgy of the second Sunday of Easter and the readings of the breviary will continue to be the ones used in the Missal and the Roman rite.
The Lord asked St. Faustina, at least 14 times, to officially institute a "Feast of Mercy." (Diary of St. Faustina). "The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. ....I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the Fount of My Mercy...
"The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment ... Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet..." (Diary, 699). All Communion received with a clean heart tends to reestablish in the one who receives it the inherent innocence of Baptism, since the Eucharistic Mystery is the "fount of all grace."
Our Lord manifested to St. Faustina that in the Feast of Divine Mercy, all the floodgates, though which flow divine graces of conversion and forgiveness of sins, would be open.