On 8-10 December, an Advent retreat day will be celebrated for the members and volunteers of the Faustinum association and other venerators of Divine Mercy at the Shrine in Krakow-Łagiewniki. The words of Jesus from the Diary of St. Faustina: “For you I descended from heaven to earth” will be the theme of the retreat, which will be provided by Fr. Tomasz Jarzynka. Through prayer with the word of God, the participants of the retreat will be learning to recognize the loving presence of Jesus in their daily lives and to receive Him with open hearts. Details and registration at: www.faustinum.org.
On December 10th, at the John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C., a day of recollection will take place. It will be hosted by Sisters from the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy, while the services will be given by priests invited by them. Sister Gaudia will give a conference entitled “God has become a child for us; why don’t we?”. The program also includes: Holy Mass, an opportunity to make a Confession, Adoration, time for personal prayer, conversations with the Sisters and refreshments.
At the invitation of the parish priest, Fr. Florián Potočňák, on Sunday, December 10th, Sr. M. Clareta Fečová and Sr. M. Alžbeta Mikušová from the Košice community of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy will lead a day of recollection focusing on God’s Mercy at the Greek Catholic parish of the Blessed Petr Pavel Gojdič and Vasiľ Hopek in Bardejov-Vinbarg in Slovakia. Conferences, communal adoration, prayer at the Hour of Mercy and Chaplet to Divine Mercy are planned.
On Saturday, December 9th, at the John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, DC, a Morning Recollection for Mothers will take place. This month, the first such retreat will take place, during which all participants will have more time for personal prayer, as well as the opportunity to have personal conversations with the sisters. Sister Gaudia will deliver a conference entitled “Embracing Our Littleness: Lessons from Baby Jesus.” In addition to catechesis, rosary prayer and time for individual prayer, Holy Mass and Confession, a shared breakfast is planned. The Shrine provides babysitting to all the participants, so that they can calmly focus on the retreat. Sisters from the Washington community of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy help with the monthly Tea and the Rosary for the Mothers.
On December 7th, in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, 6th- and 7th-grade elementary school students and 2nd- and 3rd-grade middle school students will participate in the first stage of the Interdisciplinary Contest on Great Poles. In this school year, the person chosen for the competition is St. Faustina Kowalska, her life, mission of Divine Mercy and veneration against the Polish history. The district stage of the competition is scheduled for February 1st, 2018. The Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy is the honorary patron of this event and has undertaken collaboration with the organizers to support them with their knowledge.
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.
On December 6th at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki, a Holy Mass will be celebrated at 5 pm for all benefactors and donors, whose “gifts of the heart” allow the functioning of www.faustyna.pl website and contribute to the works associated with it: Chaplet for the Dying and the live broadcasting. Anyone who supports this work in any way is involved in the mission of St. Faustina: one of proclaiming the message of God’s merciful love to the world. During the Mass, we will be giving thanks for these good people and asking for God’s blessings and graces needed for them. This intention is present in the prayers of the sisters each day.
The three-day retreat for worshipers of Divine Mercy will traditionally take place in Dolny Smokovec in the Slovak Tatra Mountains on 1-3 December, especially those who seek inner peace. It will be hosted by Fr. Ján Kocurko and Sr. Benediktina Fečová from the Košice Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. In the program: daily Holy Mass, conferences, prayer at the Hour of Mercy and Chaplet of Divine Mercy, communal Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the Way of the Cross, Rosary and honoring the relics of St. Faustina.
On December 3rd, under the slogan For the Earth and for Heaven, Christian entrepreneurs will make a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki for the fourteenth time. The Holy Mass at 10.30 am celebrated in the Basilica will be presided by Archbishop Józef Kupny. After the Mass, a meeting will take place in the Hall of St. John Paul II. The renowned guests—in addition to the Archbishop—will be Janusz Szewczak, PhD, a well-known economist and author of the best-selling book entitled Banksterzy, and Fr. Rafał Dudała, PhD. Doctor Szewczak will talk, among others, about financial crises and Fr. Dudała will introduce the subject of a unique book: Katechizm dla przedsiębiorców [Catechism for entrepreneurs]. The program also includes a concert and the presentation of the Entrepreneurs’ chaplaincy program for 2018. The pilgrims will pray in front of the miracle-famous image of Merciful Jesus and the tomb of St. Faustina. After prayer at the Hour of Mercy and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, the pilgrimage will conclude with a meal.
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 3th of December. Liturgically, Advent and the new year in the liturgy of the Church begins with vespers on December 2th. 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.