Each day at 3 p.m. people gather to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet in Rome’s Santo Spirito in Sassia, a church containing relics of both St. Faustina Kowalska and St. John Paul II.
Located just steps from St. Peter’s Basilica, Santo Spirito in Sassia is Rome’s official Divine Mercy church.
"At the hour of Divine Mercy … truly the church is filled with many souls -- the young, the sick, couples, and people facing great difficulties of a moral nature who come to implore the Divine Mercy," Monsignor Jozef Bart, the church’s rector told CNA.
The Polish priest was personally selected by St. Pope John Paul II to transform the 16th century church, originally built as a hospital chapel, into a center for the spirituality of Divine Mercy in 1994.
"Today in particular, I am pleased to be able to give thanks to God in this Church of Santo Spirito in Sassia, attached to the hospital of the same name, and now a specialized center for the pastoral care of the sick, as well as for the promotion of the spirituality of divine mercy," John Paul II said on Divine Mercy Sunday in 1995.
"It is very significant and timely that precisely here, next to this very ancient hospital, prayers are said and work is done with constant care for the health of body and spirit,” he said of the church.
This year, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin celebrated Mass for Divine Mercy Sunday in the church and Pope Francis extended a greeting to all who gathered in Santo Spirit in Sassia for the feast during his Regina Coeli address.
The Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, the order to which St. Faustina belonged, help to lead the daily prayers and catechesis on the Divine Mercy in Santo Spirito in Sassia.
“Jesus told St. Faustina, ‘Man does not find any peace until he turns with faith to the Divine Mercy,’” Monsignor Bart said.
The church offers Eucharistic adoration with priests available for confession in several languages, including English, at 6 p.m. each day.
“We priests must remember that we are channels, instruments of the Divine Mercy,” Bart explained.
"Divine Mercy! This is the Easter gift that the Church receives from the risen Christ and offers to humanity at the dawn of the third millennium,” St. John Paul II said on Divine Mercy Sunday in 2001.
“‘Jesus, I trust in you.’ This prayer, dear to so many of the devout, clearly expresses the attitude with which we too would like to abandon ourselves trustfully in your hands, O Lord, our only Savior,” he continued.
"A simple act of abandonment is enough to overcome the barriers of darkness and sorrow, of doubt and desperation. The rays of your divine mercy restore hope, in a special way, to those who feel overwhelmed by the burden of sin,” John Paul II said.
The Church of Santo Spirito in Sassia is located at 12 Via dei Penitenzieri in Rome, a five minute walk from St. Peter’s Basilica.