Reminiscences of Divine Mercy Parish – Fr. Julian Misquitta

Looking Back

It is with joy and gratitude that I recount my five years of fruitful ministry at Divine Mercy Parish. I was appointed as Parish Priest in 2008 when the construction of the Church was almost completed, except for the interiors of the Church which we saw to after the inauguration on 21st June 2008.

The side-wing of the Church was built but kept open with the intention of using it as a Hall for programmes. I felt this was not appropriate since the Blessed Sacrament was too close to it. I spoke to Fr. George and we consulted Architect Oak who advised that the area could be cordoned off by sliding doors. Finally it became an extension of the Church. The pews for the extension were then made by Mr. Emmanuel Fernandes.

Devotion to the Divine Mercy continued though I perceived that the attendance for the novenas was sparse as compared for the feast of Our Lady of Vailankanni. I wanted to spread the devotion to Divine Mercy, so I started the 3.00 p.m. Mass every First Friday along with the recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet. This drew crowds from as far as the Khadki parish.

The stage outside was built after the inauguration. This stage is used for parish functions, and various services.

Over the years the Parish contemplated printing a Parish Hymnal. The idea came from Mr. Llewellyn Pimenta. Mr. Jerome gave us some hymns and I added my own hymns. Mr. Austin Pimenta, Nirmala and some of the choir members helped in the proof reading and editing. Mr. Saby Roberts took the responsibility of printing the hymnals. To meet the expenses some parishes in Pune were asked to order for books. They only took the soft copy and printed their own. Mr. L Pimenta helped in defraying some of the expenses.

Apparition to Sr. Faustina

On the first Sunday of Lent in 1931, Jesus appeared to Sr. Faustina at her convent in Plock, Poland. He appeared wearing an ankle-length white robe with his right arm raised in blessing and his left arm touching his robe at his chest. From the area of His heart two large rays came forth: one red and the other translucent. Overwhelmed by His presence, Sr. Faustina was overcome with a feeling of joy and reverence. Jesus told her: Paint an image of what you see, with the inscription ‘Jesus I trust in you’”. He then went on to say that he wanted this image venerated in the chapel at the convent and then throughout the world.

The Sunday after Easter was officially designated as Divine Mercy Sunday by Pope John Paul II and it was, in fact, Pope John Paul II who canonized Sr. Faustina on Divine Mercy Sunday in the year 2000. Now she is known as St. Faustina.

Reshaping and Redressing

The sanctuary was redesigned recently. The dry branches in front of the tabernacle is an idea taken from the original Church at Krakow in Poland. Explaining the branches, it is as though the tree is caught in a storm as one can see them tilting in one direction. There are no leaves on the branches which could signify that when your life is totally dry, never lose hope because Jesus is present, no matter how many storms arise in your life.

The Grotto was erected in 2010. Mr. Sunil Amolik who had promised Fr. George to sponsor it, carried out his promise. Initially the parishioners wanted the grotto in front of the Church. I suggested erecting it where it stands today, so that when the main gate is closed, people wishing to greet and pray to Mother Mary could easily do so standing on the road. Mr. Selvaraj was asked to construct the grotto.

Empowered with Faith

Faith-Formation of children in the parish began during the tenure of Fr. George D’Souza. Catechism classes were first held in the Stella Maris School Hall after the morning Mass. Once the Church was ready classes were held in the Church campus. The Confirmation classes were conducted in one of the rooms of the priests’ residence, later shifted to the basement of the Church. The co-ordinator till 2011 was Sr. Antoinette. In 2012 Sr. Susanne took over the responsibility.

Personally I have received many graces and blessings through the intercession of the Divine Mercy and I feel so grateful and pray that this Church may attract many more devotees to experience the Peace and Mercy of Jesus.

Rev. Fr. Julian Misquita was the first Parish Priest of Divine Mercy Church – from 2008 to 2014. At the moment he is the Parish Priest of Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Shivneri, Kondwa, Pune.