Contact: Michael C. X. Sullivan, Founder, The Divine Mercy Project, 773-255-8397
CHICAGO, April 21, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Thomas More Society has successfully secured a permit to display a wooden Cross and a large image of the Resurrected Christ in Daley Plaza for nine days on behalf of the Heralds of The Divine Mercy and the Divine Mercy Project.
In previous years, the Thomas More Society has had to take the city to court to defend the First Amendment right of religious liberty to secure a permit, this year the religious display is longer and more dramatic with the addition of a 6 foot by 10 foot icon of Jesus Christ.
The image of the Resurrected Christ is called "The Divine Mercy Icon" and originated in Poland in 1931 when Jesus appeared to a Polish nun, St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, dressed in a white ankle length garment with His right hand raised in a blessing and the left hand touching His garment in the area of the Heart. Issuing from His Heart were two rays of light depicting the transfigured blood and water that gushed from His Heart when pierced by a lance.
The vision and the dialogue are recounted in St. Maria Faustina Kowalska's Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul. In it, Jesus said of the vision:
Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You. I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over [its] enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory (Diary, 47, 48). I am offering people a vessel with which they are to keep coming for graces to the fountain of mercy. That vessel is this image with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You (327). I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and [then] throughout the world (47).
In addition to spreading the image of the Divine Mercy, Jesus asked St. Faustina to pray a novena, a nine day prayer vigil, for the conversion of the world to the Divine Mercy beginning on Good Friday and ending on the Sunday after Easter known as Divine Mercy Sunday.
Servant of God Pope John Paul II made the promotion of the Divine Mercy a key aspect of His pontificate. His most intimate encyclical Dives in Misericordia, Rich in Mercy, focused on the Mercy of God. St. Faustina, the apostle of Divine Mercy, was the first saint canonized in the new millennium and he instituted the Feast of The Divine Mercy that year, and prayed an entrustment of the whole new millennium to the Divine Mercy.
The message of mercy was so important to John Paul II's life and his ministry that he died on the feast of the Divine Mercy and he will be beatified in Rome on May 1st 2011 which is the Feast of The Divine Mercy.
Michael C. X. Sullivan, founder of the Heralds of The Divine Mercy and the Divine Mercy Project, said, "I think that the Divine Mercy Project is what John Paul II would have hoped for when he said, 'Do not be afraid to go out on the streets and into public places, like the first Apostles who preached Christ and the Good News of salvation in the squares of cities, towns and villages. This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel. It is the time to preach it from the rooftops.' He will be with us in spirit at the Daley Plaza for the nine days as we reach thousands with the power of Divine Mercy. Our hope is that this movement grows and that next year the Divine Mercy Project will happen in cities across America and perhaps even throughout the world. In fact we are already receiving request for the Divine Mercy Project to start in others cities."
The Divine Mercy Project is calling people to come and pray in the public square 24 hours a day, for nine days to proclaim and witness to the power of Divine Mercy.
Pope Benedict XVI said "[O]nly Divine Mercy is able to impose limitations on evil; only the almighty love of God can defeat the tyranny of the wicked and the destructive power of selfishness and hate."
The vigil's purpose is to 1) bring souls to the fountain of Mercy, 2) pray for mercy on us and on the whole world, and 3) pray for the conversion of Chicago, America and the World. In addition, the purpose is to give witness to the deeds of mercy through specific personal acts of mercy from the vigil participants in giving to others focusing on the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
Servant of God, Pope John Paul II said, "Today... I wish to solemnly to entrust the world to Divine Mercy. I do so with the burning desire that the message of God's merciful love, proclaimed through Saint Faustina, may be made known to all the peoples of the earth and fill their hearts with hope. May this message radiate from this place to our beloved homeland and throughout the world. May the binding promise of the Lord Jesus be fulfilled: From here there must go forth 'the spark which will prepare the world for His final coming.' This spark needs to be lighted by the grace of God. This fire of mercy needs to be passed on to the world. In the mercy of God, the world will find peace and mankind will find happiness! I entrust this task to you, dear Brothers and Sisters . . . May you be witnesses to mercy!"
Commenting on John Paul II's prayer, Michael Sullivan added, "We have responded to this call from servant of God John Paul II and pray that the Divine Mercy Project will help to ignite Chicago with the fire of mercy!"