Most Catholics are familiar with St. John Vianney, patron of parish priests. But few know that the future saint deserted the Napoleonic armies to become a seminarian. He never imagined that this act would lead to the death of his brother, who was sent to the front lines in his place; the death of his mother, who died of despair; and the bitterness of his father who blamed his son for destroying the family. However, no one blamed John Vianney more for the family’s misfortunes than he blamed himself. In a letter to his father, he described himself as “the unworthy son who deserves only contempt.”
This story was relayed last May at the 12th Annual Medicine, Bioethics, and Spirituality Conference in Worcester, Mass by Fr. Patrice Chocholski, rector of the Shrine of the Curé of Ars in France, which is where St. John Vianney lived out his priesthood. In his talk, “The Curé of Ars and Mercy,” Fr. Patrice notes that only God’s mercy could cauterize the wounds caused by this family’s tragedies. As a result, Fr. Patrice says that St. John Vianney became a beacon to pilgrims who traveled to Ars “to draw Mercy. By confessing to him…they encountered the crucified and risen Christ with his words of peace and forgiveness.” As Fr. Patrice concludes: “The saints did not all start well, but they all finished well.”
That’s the key! If you are hesitant to go to confession because you can’t believe that God could forgive what you have done, or if you simply need a boost of God’s healing grace and forgiveness (and who doesn’t!), tune into EWTN’s many programs on Divine Mercy Sunday, a special day celebrating one of Jesus’ defining characteristics – Mercy – and share this Good News with others! As St. John Vianney once noted: “It’s not the sinner who returns to God to ask Him for forgiveness, but God Himself who runs after the sinner … [so he will] return to Him.”
Although the great St. Faustina was born more than 100 years after St. John Vianney, she became known as the Apostle of Mercy because of the messages Our Lord gave her to share with the world. Tune in to learn more from the foremost experts on the Divine Mercy message in the world! Let your hearts be set on fire, just as the hearts of Our Lord’s disciples were on the Road of Emmaus, and “come home!”
8 p.m. ET – Original Image of Divine Mercy – A look at the history of the Original Image of Divine Mercy, from the events that led to its creation under St. Faustina Kowalska’s guidance to its current place in the Cathedral in Vilnius, Lithuania.
4:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET – Holy Mass of Divine Mercy Sunday – The Holy Mass of Divine Mercy Sunday, celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square and followed by the recitation of the Regina Coeli.
10 a.m. ET – Divine Mercy Celebration from Vilnius, Lithuania – Divine Mercy Sunday festivities and Mass celebrated by Archbishop Gintaras Grusas, live from the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Vilnius, Lithuania. This event is preceded by a 30-minute special at 9:30 a.m.
11:30 a.m. ET – Catholic View for Women – Divine Mercy 101 – Elena Rodriguez, Janet Morana, and Teresa Tomeo review the fundamentals of Divine Mercy and its message.
12 p.m. and 12 a.m ET – Divine Mercy Preview Show – A preparation for the celebration of Divine Mercy, hosted by the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, from the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy.
1 p.m. and 1 a.m. ET (Mon.) – Mass and Celebration of Divine Mercy from Stockbridge, MA – The celebration of the Solemn Mass of Divine Mercy Sunday, live from the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, MA.
4 p.m. ET – Divine Mercy Holy Hour from Hanceville, AL – A Holy Hour in honor of The Divine Mercy, live from the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama.
7 p.m. ET – The Face of Mercy – A documentary on the origins of the Divine Mercy devotion and the personal impact it has had on the lives of several Catholics.