In these tough and uncertain times we need to trust in the Lord and turn in prayer to His unfathomable mercy.
The Novena and Chaplet of Divine Mercy can be prayed at any time. However, the best time of the year to start this novena is Good Friday (this coming Friday, April 2). This novena will then end on Saturday, April 10 on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday.
English - The Divine Mercy Novena and Chaplet
Arabic - The Divine Mercy Novena and Chaplet
After the prayer for each day of the Novena, say the Divine Mercy chaplet.
The Divine Mercy Sunday
In a series of revelations to St. Maria Faustina Kowalska in the 1930s, our Lord called for a special feast day to be celebrated on the Sunday after Easter. Today, we know that feast as Divine Mercy Sunday, named by Pope St. John Paul II at the canonization of St. Faustina on April 30, 2000.
In all, St. Faustina recorded 14 revelations from Jesus concerning His desire for this feast.
Nevertheless, Divine Mercy Sunday is NOT a feast based solely on St. Faustina's revelations. Indeed, it is not primarily about St. Faustina — nor is it altogether a new feast. The Second Sunday of Easter was already a solemnity as the Octave Day of Easter. The title "Divine Mercy Sunday" does, however, highlight the meaning of the day.
Click HERE for more about the Divine Mercy Message and Devotion.
Because of this special task as Patriarch of the Holy Family, St. Joseph is the greatest of the patriarchs. In our spiritual readings we have seen from the Sacred Scriptures that St. John the Baptist is the greatest of the prophets. Now we see St. Joseph as the greatest of the patriarchs.
He has been formally declared the Heavenly Patriarch of the Universal Church. As Mary is the Mother of the Church, Joseph is THE Guardian of the Church. So it is that the Sacred Scriptures themselves canonize St. Joseph. Holy Scripture itself tells us that “Joseph was a just man!” He is the greatest of all the saints in Heaven after Mary. Like Mary, and after Mary, his sanctity may be greater than all the saints combined.
Now it is that Mother Church in her liturgy holds out to us for the sacred time before Holy Week and Easter Week, to prepare ourselves and have us meditate upon, St. Joseph. For this Patriarch of Patriarchs, this Guardian of the Universal Church, we are asked to meditate upon and prepare for the coming of the Lord in His Passion and Resurrection. What we meditate upon in St. Joseph is a humble, poor workman, who left us nothing written or spoken. Who appears in the Sacred Scriptures out of nowhere and disappears from the Sacred Scriptures without notice or comment. Such is God’s view of greatness, and such is God’s way in dealing with men. And such is what God would have us meditate upon as we prepare for the coming of the Lord: JOSEPH THE SILENT; Joseph the dutiful. The vast majority of mankind, and so of us Christians live and die in obscurity — but not so before the Lord — not so in the Merciful Heart of Jesus who loves us all individually.
All the world in the hoopla of the present era; a hoopla of unfortunate events and their consequences, I would suggest is the best we can do of ourselves. But Mother Church, through her liturgy, holds out to us St. Joseph, the silent, the humble unknown workman, as a model, an exemplar, who is also the greatest of all the patriarchs.
Joseph is the patron of the silent. And with St. Francis de Sales, he is an exemplar of “love’s Martyrdom.” In this respect also he is THE patron of monks. Says St. Francis de Sales, ‘Joseph was a perfect mystic and martyr. Love’s mysticism causes love’s martyrdom. The sword of love’s mystic would rend his soul and body to immolate himself for the greatest task ever accorded a human being on earth; to be the heavenly appointed guardian and protector of Jesus and Mary; to center and focus his entire existence on Jesus and Mary; to live and to die in and for this cause.’
None of the patriarchs or the prophets of the Old Testament achieved that greatness. None of the Fathers and Doctors of the New Testament rendered or achieved the purity or dignity necessary to fulfill that task of Joseph the Silent, Joseph the Greatest.
Now this is what Mother Church would have us think about this week – in order to fittingly prepare our souls for making present the grace of the Christ’s Sacred Passion. We pray in our Holy Mass:
“O honorable and righteous Joseph,
You served the Lord and His Mother,
You carried in your arms
the one who carries the world
You support the One who supports all peoples,
O mystery of Jacob realized,
How blessed are you among all the saints.”
O Holy and Glorious Joseph.
Christ in the Wilderness by Ivan Kramskoy, 1872
The first season (February 14, 2021), Cana Sunday, to Hosanna or Palm Sunday, March 28), Great Lent, is a preparation for the feast of the Resurrection of the Lord, and the second, the Season of Resurrection, unfolds before us, over a period of fifty days, the meaning and joy of the Resurrection of the Lord. The feast of the Resurrection is thus the center and pivotal point of this whole liturgical season, as well as the whole liturgical year.
According to the ancient Antiochene (Church of Antioch) tradition, the Sundays of Great Lent commemorate the gestures of mercy of the Savior towards his people, which were, at the same time, as Saint John says, "the signs urging the faith." During Lent we journey to that safe harbor guarded by the glorious beacon of the cross.
Passion Week (March 29 to April 3) shows us and helps us to follow, each of the perplexities of the passion of our beloved Savior in order to better us by it, associate ourselves to it, and to benefit through its merits so that we too might share in the hope of rising with Christ.
The Season of Resurrection (April 4 to May 22) makes us appreciate the salvation which was obtained for us by the death of our Lord, the Good Shepherd, "who gave his life for his sheep".
Introduction- Season of the Great Lent
The Season of Great Lent marks the Church's period of preparation for the feast of feasts, the Resurrection of our Lord. This season recalls the forty-day period the Lord spent in the desert in prayer and fasting and at the same time, it invites us to personal conversion through penance, fasting, prayer and almsgiving. During this season we follow the Lord as he goes up to Jerusalem to suffer, die and rise to a glorious new life.
The seven Sundays of Great Lent are:
- Entrance into Lent, Cana Sunday;
- First Sunday of Lent, Sunday of the Leper;
- Second Sunday of Lent, Sunday of the Hemorrhaging Woman;
- Third Sunday of Lent, Sunday of the Prodigal Son;
- Fourth Sunday of Lent, Sunday of the Paralytic;
- Fifth Sunday of Lent, Sunday of Bartimaeus the Blind;
- Sixth Sunday of Lent, Hosanna Sunday.
These Sundays of Great Lent place the miracles of the Lord before us, especially his healing miracles, which are the messianic signs of his power over sin and death. They point to the greatest wonder of God, the resurrection of Christ from the dead. Each of these miracles are signs of the faith of the one being healed. We are called to respond to Jesus as they did by deepening our faith in the Lord and Giver of life. (From Prayer of the Faithful According to the Maronite Liturgical Year)
On December 24, 2020, the Innu indigenous community of Sheshatshiu , Canada, installed a statue of Saint Sharbel in Tshitshitua Shushep (Saint Joseph) Church, Our Lady of Snows Parish  in the Corner Brook and Labrador Diocese.
A good question will be: How did this community hear about Saint Sharbel, a saint from the other part of the world?
Here’s the story.
In 2017, Fr. Joe Pichai, from the missionary Congregation of the Mission (Vincentian), founded by St. Vincent de Paul, was asked by the Bishop of the Diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador, Canada to work among the Innu indigenous people in Sheshatshiu, Our Lady of Snows Parish. The Innu people have a long history of strong faith with the Catholic Church, since they were evangelized in 1615. More about the Innu Catholic community history HERE.
Fr. Joe tells The Family of Saint Sharbel his story about encountering St Sharbel and introducing him to the Innu community:
Last year one of my parishioners, Simon Andrew, had a liver transplant in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I prayed for him and the transplant was successful. Simon returned home after the operation. Beginning of June 2020, I remember opening my iPad and while browsing through, I found a movie on St. Sharbel. I watched the whole movie, and then a desire sprouted in my heart to pray to St. Sharbel for his intercession for the healing of the many sick people in my community. I googled and found the email address of The Family of Saint Sharbel. I wrote them an email requesting a medal and holy oil for my friend Simon Andrew. To my surprise I got a quick reply and also a small parcel with all the things I requested.
My friend Simon was not feeling well in the fall of 2020. So he travelled to see the liver specialist at the Health Sciences Hospital in St. John’s, Newfoundland, at the beginning of October 2020. On the basis of his routine monthly blood tests, Simon was told that his body was rejecting the liver transplant. He was very upset about it. He called me that day, I told him not to lose heart and that I am praying for him and moreover I am going to start praying a Novena to St. Sharbel, especially for him. I started the Novena to St. Sharbel on October 3. Simon and his wife Tina returned from St. John’s by car, a three-day trip. By this time, he was so physically unwell that he was unable to drive. He got back to our town and went straight to the Labrador Grenfell Regional Hospital in Goose Bay Labrador and was admitted overnight. He was again told that they could do nothing for him, but they increased his anti-rejection drugs anyway. They did the blood work and reported that his kidneys are not working well. He was devastated. He was really down and gave up hope. I gave him hope. I asked him to join in the 9 days of the Novena prayers and on the last day of the Novena I anointed him and gave him the medal I received from The Family of Saint Sharbel.
Miracle number 93 from the Register of New Miracles happened with the two children Yusef and Karam Majdi Al-Salman, born in Syria in 2013. They are from the Unitarian Druze Community, residing in Aley, Lebanon. The father is a wedding planner.
One day, the father decided to take his family on a trip to Byblos area, so he took them to Laqlouq, where they spent their day. On their way back, they stopped at Annaya, and it was their first visit to the region. Upon their arrival, the mother felt a shiver down her spine, and since her children were mute, she prayed in front of the tomb of Saint Sharbel, asking him to intercede for her two children before the Lord and give them the ability to speak.
When they returned home, and while she was asleep, Saint Sharbel appeared to her, and when she rose from her sleep, her oldest son began to speak, and on the second day her youngest son began to speak as well. The family came from Aley to Annaya to thank Saint Sharbel for giving their children, Yusef and Karam, the ability to speak. They recorded the miracle on April 18, 2016
The Tomb of Saint Sharbel, Annaya-Lebanon. Photo by Fr. Shadi Bechara
Learn about our ongoing projects to help introduce Saint Sharbel and the Maronite spirituality to the English speaking communities.
Check out our YouTube Channels
Saint Sharbel's Miracles & Healings .
Family of Saint Sharbel, USA.