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Someday, scripture promises, heaven will come down to Earth.
This weekend, Roman Catholics thanks to a rare convergence of the liturgical and secular calendars are urged to bring heavenly compassion, if not the prophetic New Jerusalem, to an ailing, polluted planet.
Catholics will combine Saturday's annual Earth Day with Divine Mercy Sunday, resulting in "Mercy2Earth Weekend," a creation of the Global Catholic Climate Movement.
According to the National Catholic Reporter, the international coalition is inviting the faithful worldwide to perform "500 acts of mercy for the Earth" this weekend. Those acts can be anything from simply turning off the lights, TV or other electrical devices and calculating one's "carbon footprint," to learning or educating others on the connections between faith and environmental stewardship.
Mercy2Earth Weekend follows up on Pope Francis' Sept. 1, 2016, World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation plea calling the faithful to "care for our common home"as both a spiritual and corporal work of mercy.
This is the third time since Pope John Paul II's April 2000 decree declaring the first Sunday after Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday that the observance coincided with Earth Day. Indeed, the first Divine Mercy Sunday fell on Earth Day 2001, and the two days fell back to back in 2006 and again this year something that won't happen again until 2028.
Divine Mercy Sunday traces back to St. Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun who in the 1930s maintained a diary of revelations focusing on humanity's need for God's mercy.
While no official Mercy2Earth Weekend events have been scheduled in Utah, parishes throughout the Diocese of Salt Lake City likely will touch upon environmental issues in Sunday services.
This year's Area Wide Divine Mercy Sunday commemoration, with Catholics and non-Catholics alike invited, will be held at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, 3015 E, Creek Road, in Sandy. A 3 p.m. Mass will be followed by a 4:30 p.m. dinner.