Feast of the Immaculate Conception at the National Shrine for Divine Mercy
It was a beautiful and crisp Fall day at the National Shrine for Divine Mercy. The celebration began in front of St. Faustina’s statue near the steps and it only became more and more beautiful as it progressed. After an opening Gospel message from St. Luke and reading from Pope Francis’s Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, the Marian Fathers processed inside and “opened” the doors of the Shrine for the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. From that moment on, approximately 10:15 am, until the the Feast of Christ the King on November 20th 2016, all who intentionally seek to pass through these doors can receive a plenary indulgence like that which is granted at the doors of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
Walking up the stone steps and first coming into the Shrine, I was struck by the beauty. Above our heads, the Trinity resided and lay upon Mary’s head a crown both of gold and of spirit. Below resided a beautiful tabernacle with the image of Divine Mercy above its golden frame. The Blood and Water of His most Sacred Heart seemed to be flowing down upon the pews. Undoubtedly there is great theological meaning to every brush stroke and chiseled cleft that adorns the chapel’s walls…but to an uncultured Montanan like myself, I was simply blown away by the majestic beauty of it all. It truly evoked a response from my heart and deepened my appreciation of God’s singular grace for Our Lady, the Immaculate Conception.
The Marian Fathers renewed their vows of consecration kneeling before the altar and so too did members of the Confraternity. After the mass was ended, a special consecration to Jesus through Mary was held. It was beautiful and brief as a packed house recited the “33 Days to Morning Glory” consecration prayer. It was truly a blessing to participate; a blessing I neither earned nor deserved. Yet, as is often the case, His Divine Mercy looked down upon a sinner like me and gave me the beautiful gift of participating in a most holy and historic event. May God’s Mercy be made known throughout the whole of creation and to every individual man, woman, and child!