SEATTLE – After a holy hour of adoration on Divine Mercy Sunday, Archbishop Paul D. Etienne emerged from St. James Cathedral into the sunny Seattle afternoon, where he blessed the archdiocese with the Blessed Sacrament “in this time of great need.”
“Today, we offer this holy hour for all who are suffering at this time because of the coronavirus pandemic,” Archbishop Etienne said as he began the April 19 service at the cathedral.
The holy hour was livestreamed so people around the archdiocese and beyond could join in worship.
Along with the archbishop, Auxiliary Bishops Eusebio Elizondo and Daniel Mueggenborg participated in the holy hour, which included Scripture readings and praying of the Divine Mercy chaplet.
Divine Mercy Sunday, the first Sunday after Easter, was instituted by Pope John Paul II in 2000, based on private revelations to St. Faustina Kowalska, a humble Polish nun, in the 1930s. In her diary, Faustina recorded Jesus telling her, “I desire that the whole world know My infinite mercy.” Jesus also gave her the chaplet of Divine Mercy, promising, “Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death.”
In the Divine Mercy devotion, “the hour of 3 o’clock, the hour of Jesus’ death on the cross, is called ‘the hour of great mercy,’” Archbishop Etienne explained during the service. The archbishop noted that he would be blessing the city and the archdiocese at 3 p.m., and that priests across the archdiocese would offer blessings at the same time, “so that our prayer this day can, in a special way, encompass our entire archdiocese and region.”
Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, left, and Bishop Daniel Mueggenborg read the intentions before each decade of the Divine Mercy chaplet was prayed. The holy hour service was livestreamed on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 19. Photo: Stephen Brashear
During the holy hour, each decade of the Divine Mercy chaplet was preceded by words from St. Faustina, followed by the bishops praying each decade for different intentions:
- The sick and the dying, especially those who lack access to medical care.
- Medical workers and emergency personnel, who risk their health and safety to care for others.
- Essential workers, whose labor keeps society going — garbage collectors, bus drivers, food service workers, grocery store clerks, police officers, farm workers and others.
- The poor, who face special challenges during this time; all who have lost work; and all those struggling to pay bills and put food on the table.
- Those who are alone, anxious, isolated, afraid and struggling with mental illness; those whose homes are places of violence; and for a greater respect for every human life.
After praying the chaplet, Archbishop Etienne processed with the monstrance, bearing the Eucharist, out the west doors of the cathedral and into the sunshine. As the cathedral bells pealed, the archbishop lifted the monstrance high and made the sign of the cross with it facing to the west, then to the south and north.
Then all three bishops knelt before the Blessed Sacrament as the prayers of Benediction concluded the service.