Divine Mercy Sunday was introduced by Pope St John Paul II in 2000 when he canonised St Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun and visionary who received apparitions of Our Lord in the 1930s. It falls on the Second Sunday of Easter, a day when the Gospels speak directly of the mercy of Jesus.
Many churches today hold special services on Divine Mercy Sunday when, among a range of devotions, the image of Divine Mercy is venerated. Jesus promised St Faustina that on the feast “the very depths of my tender mercy are open” and “the soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment”. The Catholic Church interprets the requirement to go to Confession to be in proximity to the feast and not necessarily on that same day.
The Church also makes a plenary indulgence obtainable under usual conditions (Confession, Holy Communion and prayer for the Pope) to a person who takes part in the devotions in a church or chapel, or who expresses his or her devotion to the mercy of Jesus before the Blessed Sacrament on Divine Mercy Sunday and recites the Our Father and the Creed.