Our parish newsletter advertises the Sunday after Easter as “Divine Mercy Sunday”, with the chaplet asking the Father’s mercy for the sake of Christ’s sorrowful Passion. Is this appropriate for the Easter Octave?
St John Paul decreed that the day should be called “The Second Sunday of Easter or of Divine Mercy” and granted a plenary indulgence to the faithful who take part in prayers and devotions held in honour of the divine mercy, so this is not a personal quirk of your parish priest. Easter is indeed a time of joy, but the heart of that joy is not something that we have achieved for ourselves. We celebrate the unmerited gift of God’s infinite mercy, won through the Passion and death of Christ who rose triumphant over sin and death. Hence St Augustine spoke of the Easter Octave as days of mercy and pardon, and the Octave day itself as the compendium of the days of mercy.
The texts of the Liturgy were not changed: the Gospel for the day, in each year of the three-year cycle in the modern rite, in continuity with the older form of the Roman rite, is John 20:19-31 which tells of Our Lord breathing the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and giving them the power to forgive sins. The decree establishing Divine Mercy Sunday urged priests to inform the faithful of the indulgence, and to make themselves available to hear confessions, so your parish priest is faithfully carrying out his ministry in union with the Church.