A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths

Divine Mercy Sunday. Mainly Catholic Solemnity but practised by some Anglicans on the 1st Sunday after Easter and recorded in the diary of St Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938), a Polish Roman Catholic nun and mystic. Her apparitions of Jesus Christ inspired the Roman Catholic devotion to Divine Mercy and earned her the title of Secretary of Divine Mercy. Jesus specifically asked her for a feast of Divine Mercy on the Sunday after Easter and the first Mass for Divine Mercy Sunday was held in 1937. On this day, all who received communion would obtain total forgiveness of all sins and go directly to heaven without suffering in purgatory. Plenary indulgences were granted by the Catholic Church for saying certain simple prayers. St Faustina was canonised on the Sunday after Easter 2000, which then became Divine Mercy Sunday, those confessing in church and hearing mass on this day receiving absolution for their sins. Reconciliation could be on the day or several days before and worshippers unable to attend church for reasons such as illness could make confessions at home in front a Divine Mercy Image of Jesus. Image: Diocese of Norwich.

George Augustus Selwyn (1809-78). Church of England commemoration of Hampstead 1st Anglican Bishop of New Zealand, consecrated at Lambeth in 1841, and later Primate of New Zealand. Selwyn generally advocated for Māori rights and was often a critic of the unjust and reckless land acquisition practices that led to the New Zealand Wars. However, his support of the Invasion of the Waikato and his involvement in the burning of women and children at Rangiaowhia in 1864 damaged his and the church’s relationship with Māori, which is still felt today. Selwyn returned to Britain to serve reluctantly as Bishop of Lichfield from 1868 to his death. After his death, Selwyn College, Cambridge, an explicitly Christian mission initially restricted to baptised Christians, and several smaller educational facilities were founded to honour his life and contribution to scholarship and religion. The Selwyn College foundation charter specified making provision for those who intended to serve as missionaries overseas and for the education of the sons of clergymen. Venerated in Anglican Communion. Patron of Selwyn College, Cambridge. Image: nzhistory.govt.nz.

Prayer Almighty and everlasting God, we thank You for Your servant George Augustus Selwyn, whom You called to preach the Gospel to the people of New Zealand and Melanesia and to lay a firm foundation for the growth of Your Church in many nations. May Your Church ever proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

St Guthlac of Crowland (Gūðlāc, Guthlacus) (673-714). Feast Day commemorating death of noble Mercian Lincolnshire Christian particularly venerated in the Fens. As a young man, Guthlac fought in the army of Æthelred of Mercia and at 24 he became a monk at Repton Monastery. 2 years later he sought to live the life of a hermit and moved out to the island of Croyland (Crowland) where British-speaking demons haunted him as he had spent some time in exile among Celtic Britons. Guthlac built a small oratory with cells in the side of a plundered barrow on the island and lived there suffering from marsh fever until his death. Guthlac foretold his own death, conversing with angels in his last days. At the moment of death, a sweet nectar-like odour emanated from his mouth as his soul departed his body in a beam of light whilst the angels sang. Guthlac’s pious and holy ascetic life had drawn many people seeking spiritual guidance. He gave sanctuary to Æthelbald and predicted that he would become king, receiving the promise of an abbey if his prophecy became true. Æthelbald became king 2 years after Guthlac’s death and started to build Crowland Abbey on St Bartholomew’s Day. The cult of Guthlac continued amongst a monastic community at Crowland. Venerated in Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church. Image: orthochristian.com.