Pope John Paul II, both in his teaching and personal life, strove to live and teach the message of Divine Mercy. When Pope John Paul canonized Sr. Faustina, he also surprised the entire world by establishing Divine Mercy Sunday, a feast day which falls on the Second Sunday of Easter. On that day, Pope John Paul II declared, “This is the happiest day of my life.”
In 2002, the Pope entrusted the whole world to Divine Mercy when he consecrated the International Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Lagiewniki, a suburb of Krakow in Poland. This is where St. Faustina’s mortal remains are entombed.
Given all these connections to Divine Mercy and St. Faustina, is it any wonder that Pope John Paul II died on the Vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday (the evening before the feast day), which fell that year on April 3. It is also no surprise that the Great Mercy Pope left us a message for Divine Mercy Sunday, which was read on the feast day by a Vatican official to the faithful in St. Peter’s after a Mass that had been celebrated for the repose of the soul of the Pope.
Repeatedly Pope John Paul II has written and spoken about the need for us to turn to the mercy of God as the answer to the problems of our times. He has placed a strong and significant focus on the Divine Mercy message and devotion throughout his pontificate that will carry the Church long after his death.