The Feast of Divine Mercy, celebrated on the Second Sunday of Easter (April 11 this year) by a growing number of faithful around the world, is dedicated to the devotion of the Divine Mercy as promoted by St. Faustina.
Based on an entry in St. Faustina’s diary stating that anyone who participates in the Mass and receives the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist on this day is assured by Jesus of a full remission of sins, the devotion was particularly dear to Pope John Paul II.
He canonized the Polish nun on April 30, 2000 (Divine Mercy Sunday of that year) and designated the Sunday after Easter as the Second Sunday of Easter or the Sunday of the Divine Mercy in the General Roman Calendar beginning 2001.
The late pontiff, who said he felt a closeness to St. Faustina, died five years ago this week on the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday.
The connection to St. Faustina and the Feast of Divine Mercy felt by Pope John Paul II is shared by many members of the Polish community here and abroad who mark it with great solemnity, reverence and fellowship.
In the large Polish community of St. Mary of the Lake Parish, Lakewood, over the past five years, it has also become customary to hold a festive dinner dance at the parish center on County Line Road on the Saturday evening before the feast.
For the last week, parishioners have been preparing for this festive meal, cooking up traditional Polish foods in the rectory kitchen with help from Father Marian F. Kokorzycki. The menu, he said, will be a buffet of Polish favorites from stuffed cabbage to kielbasa and sauerkraut to all of the pastries associated with the Easter season. It’s sure to tempt all tastebuds, he said.
The dinner dance starts at 6 p.m. and tickets cost $25 per person and will be available at the door, Father Marian said. A Polish D.J. will provide music to kick up your heels by. “It’s a night every one will enjoy,” said Father Marian.
We’ll be stopping by the dinner dance Saturday night to enjoy the festivities and after Mass on Sunday, we’ll be celebrating at home with some kielbasa and sauerkraut prepared according to our mom’s recipe. It’s a favorite of my brother Pete’s and I enjoy it too.
The recipe follows below. For more background information about Divine Mercy Sunday, visit www.divinemercysunday.com
Mom’s Kielbasa and Sauerkraut
Ingredients: 1 large kielbasa; 1 (16 oz.) can sauerkraut; 1 large sweet onion, sliced; 1 stick sweet butter.
Directions: Boil the meat until tender. Cut into slices and set aside. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, sauté the onions in butter until translucent but not brown. Rinse the sauerkraut in a colander until most of the juice is gone. Mix the sauerkraut into the onion and butter until heated. Add kielbasa and heat through. Add pepper to taste. Serve hot with mashed potatoes and brown onion gravy.
For a reflection during the day or evening, here’s the entry from St. Faustina’s diary:
“On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity.” (Diary of Saint Faustina, 699)
For a wonderful catalog of Polish recipes that even includes information on what herbs to grow, go to http://www.polamjournal.com/Library/Recipes/recipes.html