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.
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 22nd, at the John Paul II National Shrine, sisters of the Washington and Boston communities of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy will host another Evening with Merciful Jesus. It will start at 7 pm with the presentation of the Blessed Sacrament and Adoration of Merciful Jesus. After communal prayer, Sr. Inga will provide a presentation on Our happiness in the Hands of God. At the end, the young participants will meet over a cup of tea. The sisters have prepared small Christmas gifts for all the participants,
Evenings with Merciful Jesus are held for young adults who want to follow in the footsteps of St. Faustina and St. John Paul II and discover a new quality of life in friendship with Merciful Jesus.
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.It will be very Christmassy, assures Sister Emanuela. Because this time, we will start the meeting with a communal Holy Mass at 7 pm. We will be joined in prayer by Fr. Mateusz Koziołek, S.D.S. After the Mass, we will experience the joy of this holiday meeting with some Christmas wafers, a Christmas tree, some tea etc. The Lord is near!
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.
At www.faustyna.pl, „Jesus’ message of Mercy” is available in Latvian is available. It contains the most important statements of Jesus recorded in the Diary of St. Faustina, which relate to the message of Mercy proclaimed to the Church and the world. This message was given to us by St. John Paul II for the third millennium of faith, to make people better know the true face of God and the true face of man. The introduction was translated from Polish by Stanisław Kowalski OFMCap. This is the 14th language in which the folder „Jesus’ Message of Mercy” is available for non-commercial proclamation of the message of Mercy.
At the invitation of the Society of Christ Fathers, on December 9-17, Sr. Diana and Sr. Klara from the convent of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki will lead an Advent retreat at two Polish Catholic Missions in England: Hull (9-13 December) and Southampton (15-12 December). The subject of the conferences and communal prayers will be the mystery of God’s Mercy and man’s response to this pre-eminent love with an attitude of trust in Him and active love of one’s neighbors. The sisters would like to invite children, youth and adults alike to this school of spirituality of St. Faustina.
The convent of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Rabka has launched its own website at www.rabka.faustyna.pl. It will serve the apostolic service of the sisters of this house, and thus spread the message of Mercy, which Saint Faustina provided the Congregation and the world with, on top of making God’s merciful love present in the service for kindergarten children and their families.
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 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.