.- Bishop Samuel J. Aquila of the Diocese of Fargo, North Dakota is urging faithful in his diocese to pray the Novena of Divine Mercy in order to build faithful priestly vocations and bring healing to victims of the Churchâs massive sexual abuse scandal.
Bishop Aquila asked that the Novena--a nine day prayer said for specific intentions--begin on Good Friday so that it could end on Divine Mercy Sunday, traditionally celebrated each year on the Sunday following Easter.
The Divine Mercy feast, which has heavily Polish origins, was instituted by Pope John Paul II to increase devotion to the Mercy of Christ.
In his announcement, issued on Palm Sunday, the bishop said that âGod desires for each of us to live with him eternally. Thus, he offered us Jesus and, through Jesus, his Divine Mercy is made present.â
âMercy is the goodness, compassion, faithfulness and love of God revealed in Sacred Scriptureâ, he went on, âDespite manâs constant sin and unfaithfulness, God remains faithful and loving toward his creatures.â
Likewise, he pointed out that âWe see this mercy most especially revealed in the parable of the prodigal son. The love of the Father waits for each one of us to return to his complete cleansing and healing forgiveness.â
Bishop Aquila specifically asked that members of the diocese pray âFor holy vocations to the priesthood for the Diocese of Fargo â that men will hear Godâs call and make themselves a total self gift to the Father, imitating Jesus Christ in serving his people.â
He also asked that they pray âFor reparation for the sins of the clergy â that clergy realize the depth of the pain sin causes and seek forgiveness from those they offend, from the Church, and from God,â and âFor victims of sexual abuse â that they may turn with confidence to the mercy of God to be comforted, healed and strengthened.â