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A special place chosen by God


On 17 August 2002, Pope John Paul II declared the Shrine at Cracow-Lagiewniki the world center of Divine Mercy devotion.

“I am convinced,” he said in his homily, “that this is the special place chosen by God to sow the grace of His mercy. I pray that this church will always be a place where the message of God’s merciful love is proclaimed; a place of conversion and repentance; a place for the celebration of the Eucharist; a fountain of mercy; a place of prayer and of constant appeals for mercy for ourselves and for the whole world (…) ‘O inconceivable and unfathomable Mercy of God, who can worthily adore you and sing your praises? O greatest attribute of God Almighty, You are the sweet hope of sinners’ (Diary, 951). Today I repeat these simple and straightforward words of St. Faustina, in order to join her and all of you in adoring the inconceivable and unfathomable mystery of God’s mercy. Like St. Faustina, we wish to proclaim that apart from the mercy of God there is no other source of hope for mankind. We desire to repeat with faith, Jesus, I trust in you! This proclamation, this confession of trust in the all-powerful love of God, is especially needed in our own time, when mankind is experiencing bewilderment in the face of many manifestations of evil. The invocation of God’s mercy needs to rise up from the depth of hearts filled with suffering, apprehension and uncertainty, and at the same time yearning for an infallible source of hope. That is why we have come here today, to this Shrine at Lagiewniki, in order to glimpse once more in Christ the face of the Father: ‘the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation’ (2 Cor 1, 3). With the eyes of our soul, we long to look into the eyes of the merciful Jesus, in order to find deep within his gaze the reflection of his inner life, as well as the light of grace which we have already received so often, and which God holds out to us anew each day and on the last day.

“‘Eternal Father, I offer to you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, for our sins and those of the whole world; by the sufferings of his Passion, have mercy upon us and upon the whole world’ (Diary, 476). Upon us and upon the whole world (…) How much today’s world stands in need of God’s mercy! In every continent, from the depth of human suffering, a cry for mercy seems to rise up. Where hatred and the thirst for revenge dominate, where war brings suffering and death to the innocent, there the grace of mercy is needed in order to settle human minds and hearts and to bring about peace. Wherever respect for life and human dignity are lacking, there is need of God’s merciful love, in Whose light we see the inexpressible value of every human being. Mercy is needed in order to ensure that every injustice in the world will come to an end in the splendor of truth.

“Today, therefore, in this Shrine, I wish solemnly to entrust the world to Divine Mercy. I do so with the burning desire that the message of God’s merciful love, proclaimed here through St. Faustina, may be made known to all the peoples of the earth and fill their hearts with hope. May this message radiate from this place to our beloved homeland and throughout the world. May the binding promise of the Lord Jesus be fulfilled: from here there must go forth ‘the spark which will prepare the world for his final coming’ (cf. Diary, 1732). This spark needs to be lighted by the grace of God. This fire of mercy needs to be passed on to the world. In the mercy of God the world will find peace and mankind will find happiness!”

After the Mass, the Holy Father made these personal remarks: “I wish to say that many of my personal memories are linked to this place. During the Nazi occupation, while working at the Solvay factory not far here, I used to come to this place. Even now I recall this street that leads from Borek Falecki to Debniki. Every day I took this road in my wooden shoes on my way to work for different shifts. Wooden shoes is what we wore then. Who could have imagined that one day that man in the wooden shoes would consecrate the Basilica of the Divine Mercy at Lagiewniki, Cracow?”

Pope John Paul II, Cracow-Lagiewniki, 17 August 2002  

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The article was published with the permission from "Love One Another!"

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