Bishop McManus is scheduled to lead a diocesan pilgrimage for the Year of Mercy to a shrine in Western Massachusetts dedicated to promoting God’s mercy.
Pilgrims from Worcester will have the opportunity to travel by bus to the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge on Friday, Aug. 19.
As part of the visit, Bishop McManus will celebrate Mass at 11 a.m. in the shrine church, lead Stations of the Cross and join pilgrims as they tour the outdoor shrines. Pilgrims will have the opportunity to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet and go to confession.
Parishes sponsoring their own buses, and pilgrims arranging other transportation, may join the diocesan pilgrims at the shrine. All are encouraged to bring lunches, since cafeterias are not available.
The shrine is a ministry of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who have been promoting the Divine Mercy message and devotion since 1941.
That message comes from revelations that Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska reported receiving from Jesus in the 1930s. She was born in 1905 in Lodz, Poland; entered the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, and died in 1938.
In her “Diary” she said she was told to spread a message of mercy throughout the world and that Jesus asked for the establishment of the Feast of Mercy the Sunday after Easter. It is said that Jesus appeared to her in a white garment, with rays of white and red light emanating near his heart and asked her to paint his image with the message, “Jesus, I trust in you.”
Pope John Paul II beatified Sister Faustina in 1993 and canonized her on April 30, 2000 at which time he also inaugurated Divine Mercy Sunday as a church-wide feast day to be celebrated the second Sunday of Easter.
The largest celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday in the Northeast is held at the shrine in Stockbridge each year. The event traditionally is televised on Eternal World Television Network.
The shrine is also the geographic and spiritual home of the Association of Marian Helpers and is open to visitors on weekdays.
The shrine offers Mass, confessions, the 3 p.m. Chaplet of the Divine Mercy, and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Pilgrims may visit the statues and shrines, including the Lourdes Candle Grotto, the Holy Family Shrine, the Mother of Mercy Outdoor Shrine and the Shrine of the Holy Innocents, devoted to deceased children. The groves of St. Therese and St. Francis each offer an oasis for silent prayer.
The shrine’s website www.thedivinemercy.org tells about its history.
In 1950, the construction was entrusted to Antonio Guerrieri, a 74-year-old resident of Stockbridge, who was a well respected master furniture maker and wood carver.
In 1960 the shrine was dedicated – debt free – by Bishop Christopher Weldon of Springfield.
In 1996 it was honored with the title of National Shrine of the Divine Mercy.