Nearly one hundred years ago, the Church was blessed with the devotion to the Divine Mercy, first promoted by St. Faustina Kowalska. Flowing from the Divine Mercy came the new devotional, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, which, prayed on rosary beads, begs for Jesus’ sorrowful passion to pour mercy onto those for whom it is prayed. This devotion is encouraged to be prayed at the three o’clock hour every day, the time of day when Jesus expired on the cross and his blood and water spilled upon the earth.

Superseding this, and extending back nearly eight hundred years, the Church has been blessed with the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament through Exposition and Benediction. This devotion arose in the Church in response to philosophical questions arising concerning the exact nature of the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus in the Eucharist. To prove its veracity, one priest simply exposed the Eucharist on the altar and encouraged people to spend time in His presence, letting the power of the hour convince them of Jesus’ fleshly presence. In our own Diocese of Wichita, we are extremely blessed with the number of parishes that have perpetual adoration.

Still further, stretching back to the earliest centuries of the Church, the Liturgy of the Hours grew organically from the life of desert monasticism. Men and women fled to the desert to pursue the spouse of their soul, Jesus Christ, in undistracted perfection. The heart of this life was continuous scriptural meditation, which grew into the praying of all one hundred and fifty psalms in a day. Soon, this liturgy extended to all priests, who continued to pray the Liturgy of the Hours in a one-week cycle, until finally today, both priests and lay faithful can pray the Liturgy of the Hours in a one-month cycle.

Here at St. Francis, we pray the ‘hinge’ hours, Morning and Evening prayer, every day. This is such a blessing because a liturgy is different than a devotion. How? Devotions, such as the Divine Mercy Chaplet, adoration, and the rosary are like ointment for the body – as ointment sooths that which it touches, devotions seek grace for the intentions to which they are directed. Liturgy, however, is like food for the body – as food feeds the whole body – blood, flesh, and sinew – liturgy feeds the entire Body of Christ. As such, liturgy always supersedes devotion, yet without lessening the value of devotions in themselves.

All of this has been said to lead to this one invitation: Join us every Sunday at 3:00 pm in St. Francis of Assisi Church to celebrate a weekly Hour of Mercy. The formal intention of this hour is to summarize our entire parish family’s intentions and prayer requests (as in the Parish Prayer Box) from the previous week and weekend’s Masses in a single act of pleading for Mercy before the throne of God’s grace.

This hour is comprised of five parts:

  1. Exposition with Benediction
  2. Daytime Prayer
  3. A Litany for the People of God
  4. Sung Divine Mercy Chaplet
  5. Evening Prayer

The highest moment of this prayer is the celebration of Sunday Evening Prayer, which the Church encourages pastors to do as the most important Liturgy of the Hour of the week. This hour of Mercy also solemnly celebrates exposition and benediction weekly, which is sometimes overshadowed by perpetual adoration. Also, in a beautifully devoted way, we sing the Divine Mercy Chaplet following our intercessions of the people of God so that the blood and water of Jesus’ mercy can flow down upon all the intentions of the Body of Christ.

Sunday is a day of great worship, and Sunday Mass is the ‘synaxis’ (coming together) of the community in which we place ourselves before the Glory of the Lord. But this Hour of Mercy serves as a formal act of thanksgiving and a summarization of the intercessions of the People of God, so that God can be praised and prayers can be answered. I invite you to join us, every Sunday, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. and celebrate this Hour of Mercy at St. Francis. May God’s merciful grace rain down upon the church! (Please check the parish calendar on the website prior to your visit as some conflicting events cause the Hour of Mercy to be canceled.)

Father Jarrod Lies, Pastor