A Word from Fr. Chris
The Second Sunday of Easter (C): The Sunday of Divine Mercy
Divine Mercy Sunday is celebrated today, the second Sunday of Easter. It is a feast promulgated in the Church by Pope St. John Paul II in April 2001. This feast is recorded in the diary of St. Faustina as a revelation made to her by the Lord of the huge promises of grace to the one devoted to God’s Divine Mercy. Jesus said to her, “The person who goes to Sacramental Confession and receives Holy Communion on such a day shall obtain the total forgiveness of all sins and punishment.” It also requires us to perform deeds of mercy which have to arise out of love for Jesus himself by showing mercy to others everywhere.
We are all familiar with the picture of the Divine Mercy with red and white straps marking the blood and water that flowed from his sacred heart and also the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy which we pray frequently: “From your sorrowful passion, Jesus I trust in you”. That said, this devotion informs us that going to Confession should not be seen as an unnecessary Sacrament, but a grace-filled action that wins us pardon of sins for our salvation to eternal life.
Having said the above, the responsorial psalm of this Mass says: “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.” This love of Christ for us is the summary of the paschal events we recently read, reflected on, and meditated upon during the ceremonies of Holy week, culminating with our Easter Sunday celebration. This redemptive love of Christ did not end with him alone, he transferred it to the Church through the apostles by the power of the Holy Spirit and extended it to all with sacred ordination, that is, to the Bishops, priests and deacons.
This is how my humble self, while still a young person, came to the desire to think of going to the Seminary. I received the support and encouragement from my parents and from those already in training. After six years of Seminary training and education, I got my GCE (London) Certificate that qualified me to enter the Major Seminary with the approval of the Archbishop of the Diocese. In the Major Seminary, I studied Philosophy and Theology and received the degree of bachelor’s in theology. I was then ordained to the priesthood, along with those of my classmates, on April 20th, 1974. After a few years of pastoral work, I completed a program for the master’s degree in Theology and post-graduate studies in Education in a secular university, all in my home country of Nigeria.
I had worked in several parishes in my home Archdiocese of Onitsha, Nigeria and was at one time a missionary in the West African country of Sierra Leone. Later, I was appointed a hospital chaplain in one of our renowned hospitals before I left home for the United States of America. It is here at St. Augustine parish that I have now clocked 45 years in my priestly calling which I’m celebrating today. I therefore ask you to rejoice and thank God with me for his innumerable graces and favors for these 45 years that seemed to me as if it were just yesterday. It is the Lord indeed that made the choice and the call–I only responded by saying, “I’m ready and willing. Praise God.”