Pope Dies on Vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday

Feast Establish by John Paul II

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 2, 2005 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II’s final days coincided with the Church’s preparation to celebrate the feast he described as flowing from Christ’s «most profound mercy,» and which he himself established.

John Paul II designated the second Sunday of Easter to be Divine Mercy Sunday in a surprise announcement at the canonization of Sister Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938). The Polish nun, beatified in 1993, and canonized in 2000, on the second Sunday of Easter, began the spiritual movement of Divine Mercy.

The feast, said the Holy Father, «is a perpetual invitation to the Christian world to address, with trust in divine benevolence, the difficulties and trials that await the human race in the coming years.»

The essence of St. Faustina’s mission was to proclaim God’s mercy toward every human being. Her spiritual legacy to the Church is devotion to Divine Mercy, inspired by a vision in which Jesus himself asked that a painting be made of his image with the invocation «Jesus, I trust in you» appearing below. She commissioned the painting in 1935.

Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, then Archbishop of Krakow, began Sister Faustina’s process of beatification.

On Aug. 17, 2003, John Paul II entrusted the world to Divine Mercy when he dedicated the new shrine of Lagiewniki, a suburb of Krakow, located next to the convent where St. Faustina Kowalska lived and died.

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