SAINT Mary’s Church in Convoy is preparing for the arrival of the first ever relic of Saint Faustina’s from Poland to come to Ireland.
A special alcove in the church is being dedicated for display of the relic in the specially made reliquary which is housing a piece of bone from the former nun who was canonised a saint in the year 2000.
Fr Eamon Kelly is Parish Priest of Convoy and this week he told the Donegal News how they came to be getting the relic of Saint Faustina, who began the devotion known as the Divine Mercy. He hopes that in time it will increase the Divine Mercy devotion which is already growing in County Donegal.
“I had a conversation a number of years ago and was told that getting such a relic was a possibility. Late last year I inquired and was told to write a letter saying what I would do to promote the Divine Mercy and I didn’t like that idea of blowing my own trumpet. I had a conversation with a friend and she suggested I write the letter but she and others would sign it. I write for the Divine Mercy magazine and have promoted the devotion for quite a long time.
“We also sent a letter from Bishop McGuckian. They wrote back to say we could have the relic and could keep it,” Fr Eamon explained. The alcove in the church where the relic will be located has a picture of St Faustina and of her spiritual director. Several quotations from her are hung on the wall. There are small prayer books and medals available for members of the public. Already these are proving popular.
Sister Faustina was a young, uneducated nun in a convent of the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Poland during the1930s. She came from a poor family that struggled during the years of World War I. She had only three years of simple education, so hers were the humblest tasks in the convent, usually in the kitchen or garden. However, she received extraordinary revelations, or messages, from Jesus. He asked Sr Faustina to record these experiences, which she compiled into notebooks. These notebooks are known today as the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, and the words contained within are God’s loving message of Divine Mercy.
Though the Divine Mercy message is not new to the teachings of the Church, Sr Faustina’s Diary sparked a great movement, and a strong and significant focus on the mercy of Christ. Saint John Paul II canonised Sr Faustina in 2000 making her the first saint of the new millennium.
Fr Eamon said that he hoped that in time the St Faustina alcove in the church will become a fountain of Divine Mercy for people from far and near.
“There is the whole theme that even an ejit like me can be forgiven. If Jesus is saying I restore you, he is giving us our life back. I see people coming to church quietly whose life is not good, yet there are still years of life ahead of them. I see a lot of young people who don’t think they are good or nice and beautiful and I don’t mean looks. If this Devine Mercy alcove gives hope, it is there for everyone.
“I do hope people will come and visit and tell others, that is the key in the long term. After Easter we will start a wee prayer time.
To acknowledge the arrival of the relic of St Faustina people will gather at Broadpath outside Convoy on Sunday, March 19. People are being asked to park in the church car park where there will be a minibus waiting to bring them out to the path. A walk with the relic will then take place towards the church.
“We will walk into the church and we will be in the church around 2.45pm where there will a lovely prayer service. We will then have a talk from Sister Benedetta who is one of the sisters of the Merciful Jesus,” Fr Eamon concluded.
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