Father Chris Alar a Marian father who does a great job of promoting Divine Mercy devotion mentioned on the US Grace Force podcast that the Missals saying "2nd Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday" was a mistranslation, that there's not an option and that everyone is supposed to celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. That the "or" that we've seen in recent missals should be translated "namely".

Are there any other instances of feast days (especially Feasts celebrating God) that are optional? Do they use the same wording, are there any other feasts that use the word "or" which are not optional?

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    I think he's making too much of a point. "Or" doesn't necessarily carry even in English the sense of strict alternatives, plus Divine Mercy Sunday is not present in the liturgy -- the liturgy of the Mass and Office are the same as before the feast was declared, namely those of the 2nd Sunday of Easter. Given also that there's no obligation to accept private revelation and no obligation to host a Divine Mercy service in any particular parish, his "supposed" is at best his preference not conveying any real obligation.
    – eques
    Commented Apr 14, 2023 at 20:47

1 Answer 1


Is Divine Mercy Sunday optional?

Of course it is optional. But not in the sense of a liturgical feast! Catholics are encouraged to celebrate the Second Sunday of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday, but it remains on the level of private revelation as was revealed by St. Maria Faustyna Kowalska.

The missal offers no optional mass for this day!

Please remember that private revelation is never binding on any of the faithful, even if pronounced worthy of belief by competent ecclesiastical authority.

Private Revelation

Supernatural manifestations by God of hidden truths made to private individuals for their own spiritual welfare or that of others. They differ from the public revelation contained in Scripture and tradition which is given on behalf of the whole human race and is necessary for human salvation and sanctification. Although recognized by the Church and, at times, approved by her authority, private revelations are not the object of divine faith that binds one in conscience to believe on God's authority. The assent given to them, therefore, is either on human evidence or, when formally approved by the Church, on ecclesiastical authority according to the mind of the Church. Private revelations occur as supernatural visions words, or divine touches. Often it is impossible to distinguish the three forms in practice, especially since they may be received simultaneously.

The Second Sunday of Easter is the octave day of Resurrection Sunday (Easter). It is also known as liturgically as Low Sunday, Quasimodo Sunday, Dominica in albis,

Since the Year of Our Lord 2000, it has become known commonly as Divine Mercy Sunday. But this designation does not affect the mass in either the Ordinary Form of the Mass or the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. Thus the sacred Liturgy is untouched by the pious devotions surrounding Divine Mercy.

Divine Mercy Sunday (also known as the Feast of the Divine Mercy) is celebrated on the Second Sunday of Easter, which concludes the Octave of Easter. The feast day is observed in the Roman Rite calendar, as well as some Anglo-Catholics of the Church of England (it is not, however, an official Anglican feast).[It is originally based on the Catholic devotion to the Divine Mercy that Faustina Kowalska reported as part of her encounter with Jesus, and is associated with special promises from Jesus and indulgences issued by the Catholic Church.

The feast of Divine Mercy, according to the diary of Kowalska, receives from Jesus the biggest promises of grace related to the Devotion of Divine Mercy, in particular that a person who goes to sacramental confession (the confession may take place some days before) and receives holy communion on that day, shall obtain the total expiation of all sins and punishment. That means each person would go immediately after death to heaven without suffering in purgatory. Additionally, the Roman Catholic Church grants a plenary indulgence (observing the usual rules) with the recitation of some simple prayers.

The devotion to Divine Mercy Sunday grew rapidly after its designation by Pope John Paul II and is now widely celebrated by Catholics. The Divine Mercy image is often carried in processions on Divine Mercy Sunday, and is placed in a location in the church so that it can be venerated by those who attended the Mass.

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Eugeniusz Kazimirowski's first Divine Mercy image

I sense that Fr. Chris Alar is making too much out of Divine Mercy liturgically by saying that the "2nd Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday" was a mistranslation, that there's not an option and that everyone is supposed to celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. I am personally in favour of this tremendous devotion, but at the present moment in time it remains an approved pious devotion that takes place on the Second Sunday of Easter. Thus it is called by many Divine Mercy Sunday!

It is not a coincidence that Our Lord chose this day as Divine Mercy Sunday. The opening prayer already placed emphasis on God’s Mercy for humanity. And this day Our Lord makes mention of the Apostles having the power to forgive sins through the sacrament of confession or as some call it the sacrament of God’s Mercy.

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