Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger delivers his homily on Easter Sunday at the Cathedral. (Thomas Killips photo)
Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger delivers his homily on Easter Sunday at the Cathedral. (Thomas Killips photo)

This year marked the 90th anniversary of the apparition of Jesus Christ appearing to St. Faustina Kowalska with a message of Divine Mercy.

Pope Francis said in a statement marking the Feb. 22 anniversary: “Let us have the courage to come back to Jesus to meet his love and mercy in the sacraments. Let us feel his closeness and tenderness, and then we will also be more capable of mercy, patience, forgiveness and love.”

And with Divine Mercy Sunday just celebrated on April 11, two young-adult groups in the Diocese of Albany are looking to bring the Divine Mercy message to their peers.

Capital Region Catholic and Adirondack Catholic are collaborating on the weekly Zoom event “33 Days of Merciful Love,” from April 18-May 23. This six-week event will culminate with a special in-person consecration service on Pentecost Sunday at the Church of St. Vincent de Paul on May 23 at 6:30 p.m. Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger and Father Michael E. Gaitley, author of “33 Days to Merciful Love,” will be two of the featured speakers during the series, which will be joined by groups from St. Vincent de Paul and St. Pius X Parish.

Nathan Levine, one of the founders of Capital Region Catho­lic, has been inspired by Father Gaitley’s book — which is the basis for the series — and attended a lecture he gave which Levine said was “relatable and inspiring, and it influenced the way I see the world.”

“My spirituality is built around Divine Mercy, and I very much want to love and accept Jesus the way He wants to be loved and accepted,” Levine said. “I want to give Him the acceptance that many people denied Him at the foot of Cavalry, and I want to bring other people there with me. This event seemed like a good opportunity to do that.”

Angela Russo, another founder of Capital Region Catholic, hopes the event brings her peer group closer to God.

“We want to introduce young adults (18-39) to the heart of Jesus in all his Divine Mercy, to invite them into a deeper relationship with God and one another and to encourage cross-group interactions,” Russo said. “We hope to bring together young adults from across the whole Diocese to support unity founded in the love of Jesus.”

Levine agreed. “It’s easy for people to see God as this distant entity that floats around in the sky somewhere, ready to toss a lightning bolt at a person who so much as spells a word wrong,” he said. “I hope to lead young adults into a more mature, deeper, more intimate connection with their gentle, loving savior, and bring the faith to life for them.”

Levine added the same mercy that Jesus offered the day he was crucified “is being offered to us today.”

“There is a great misconception that holiness can only be gained by people who seem perfect, by the people who at least outwardly appear to have all of their ducks in a row. But that’s not what Jesus indicates in Matthew 9:13. ‘Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice. For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners,’ ” Levine said. “St. Dismas, a murderer who was crucified alongside Christ, accepted Christ’s mercy at the very last moments of his life. He was then canonized by Christ Himself, with the words ‘This day, you will be with me in paradise.’ (Luke 23:43)

“That same mercy is being offered to us today. By humbly recognizing our sinfulness, doing the best we can to follow Jesus, and trusting in His mercy, even the most sinful and forlorn among us can become saints.”

To register for the “33 Days of Merciful Love” series, go to: forms.gle/gJRLcsjZiKDCNmY89. To learn more about Adirondack Catholic, email them at adkcatholic@gmail.com, or go to facebook.com/adkcatholic or Instagram at www.instagram.com/adkcatholic. To learn more about Capital Region Catholic, email them at capitalregioncatho­lic@gmail.com or head to face­book.com/capitalregioncatholic.