As area faithful remain under a stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus, two new online prayer resources are being offered by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office for the New Evangelization.
A daily livestreamed recitation of the Divine Mercy novena will take place from Good Friday (April 10) through Divine Mercy Sunday (April 19).
The novena prayers will be recited in English at 2 p.m. (6 p.m. in Spanish) on Good Friday and at 3:30 p.m. (3 p.m. in Spanish) for the remaining days of the novena. The priests and seminarians of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood will lead the English recitation, while priests and lay leaders from the archdiocesan Hispanic apostolates will host the novena in Spanish.
Log in instructions and detailed information about the novena are available on the website for the Office for the New Evangelization.
In conjunction with the archdiocesan Office for Catechetical Formation, the evangelization office has also arranged for all those in the archdiocese to receive 40 days of free access to the Augustine Institute’s “Formed” portal.
Often described as the “Catholic Netflix,” the online platform distributes a wide array of Catholic content in both English and Spanish from more than 60 organizations, featuring movies, books, Scripture studies and children’s programs.
Participants can enroll in Formed by visiting the sign-up link and entering the code “Faith at Home Philadelphia” along with a valid email address.
The two resources build on the momentum of a nightly online “Rosary Campaign to End the Coronavirus,” which the archdiocese launched on March 13.
The rosary devotion has averaged some 2,000 households nationwide per evening, according to archdiocesan evangelization director Meghan Cokeley, who describes the level of participation as “astonishing.”
“People are telling me that their spouses are praying with them, something they’ve wanted for years,” she said. “These desperate times are bringing about connections to the Lord and to each other in ways that perhaps nothing else could.”
Cokeley is hoping that same fervor will manifest itself in the Divine Mercy novena, a devotion that was officially approved by Pope John Paul II on April 30, 2000.
On that date, he canonized St. Faustina Kowalska, the 20th-century Polish religious to whom the image and form of the devotion had been revealed by the Lord, while proclaiming the Second Sunday of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday.
Two years later, the Holy See issued a decree of the indulgences, or remissions of temporal punishment for sin, attached to the Divine Mercy devotion. Last month, the Vatican included the chaplet of Divine Mercy in a list of devotions for which faithful could receive a plenary, or full, indulgence if practiced for an end to the coronavirus pandemic.
Cokeley likened the Divine Mercy devotion to a “total opening of the gates of heaven,” through which “every possible grace” is available for the asking.
While the Lord’s “heart is open all the time,” she said, there is “an intense, open and free-for-all sense” of Divine Mercy that is particularly evident during the nine-day “window” of the novena.
“Jesus is waiting for us to lean on his mercy,” she said. “This is him gently saying, ‘I’m asking you to come home.’”
Cokeley also believes the materials available through Formed will deepen participants’ understanding and appreciation for their beliefs.
“While we’re at home, we can read books, study and watch wholesome family movies together,” she said. “Let this be a time of regeneration of our faith.”
Even as the nation braces for an anticipated surge in coronavirus cases this week, “miracles are already happening” in response to prayer, said Cokeley.
“There is great power in these devotions, which are now entering people’s lives, and transformations are happening,” she said. “We can be confident that good things are going to come out of this, and that our suffering is not useless.”
To participate in the Divine Mercy novena in English at the days and times listed above, visit the Zoom conference here or dial in by telephone at 646-558-8656 and enter webinar ID number 480 539 273.
To participate in the Divine Mercy novena in Spanish at the days and times listed above, visit the Zoom conference here or dial in by telephone at 646-558-8656 and enter webinar ID number 180 527 700.
To access a free 40-day subscription to Formed, visit the website and type “Faith at Home Philadelphia” in the search box, select that option, and enter your name and email address.
For more information on both sets of resources, visit the website of the Office for the New Evangelization at PhillyEvang.org.
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