Students gather in front of the Divine Mercy Mosaic at the St. John Paul II Newman Center in Omaha on Holy Thursday. COURTESY PHOTO


Divine Mercy mosaic encourages students and others to encounter Jesus

A radiant image of Jesus, depicting His Divine Mercy, greets everyone as they are about to enter the oratory at the St. John Paul II Newman Center in Omaha.

On Divine Mercy Sunday, a crowd flocked around the image as it was blessed following a 10:30 a.m. Mass.

In the mosaic, rays of gold and white light surround the Lord, while streams of red and white pour forth from His Sacred Heart, symbolizing the Blood and Water which was emptied out on the Cross.

“These two rays issued forth from the depths of My tender mercy when My agonized Heart was opened up by a lance on the Cross,” Jesus said in revelations to St. Faustina Kowalska.

The Polish nun had a series of visions of Christ that began in 1931 and included instructions to create a Divine Mercy image with the inscription “Jesus, I trust in You.”

The new mosaic is a re-creation of that original image. It invites students and others to encounter and receive God’s mercy inside the worship space, said Father Dan Andrews, pastor and director at the Newman Center.

The image also appears before the baptismal font, a source of mercy, where four men were baptized, and one was confirmed during the Easter Vigil.

As in other revelations to saints and the world, “God wants us to know that He is real,” Father Andrews said in his homily at the Mass.

He wants us to give Him everything, including our misery, Father Andrews said.

As nihilism, the belief that life has no meaning, is on the rise, young people are searching for their identity and a remedy for their misery, he said.

“God’s mercy is stronger than our misery,” St. Faustina said. And Jesus is the One Who gives us our true identity and peace, Father Andrews said. 

In January of 2023, the pastor had been thinking about what to do with the then-unfinished space near the oratory.

“I was looking at it and praying about it,” he said in an interview, “and kind of got this sense above all that if I was talking to John Paul II, he would say … ‘I don’t need any more pictures of me around here.’”

Artwork of the Divine Mercy was a natural choice because St. John Paul II made Divine Mercy a key part of his pontificate and was called “the Great Mercy Pope.”

A year ago, on Divine Mercy Sunday, Father Andrews preached on God’s Divine Mercy, and he talked about the art project he envisioned and a ballpark price tag. Soon after, a couple offered to pay almost half the cost, which totaled about $50,000. Two other couples paid for the rest of the project, designed by an artist in Italy and installed by a company from Ohio.

Archbishop Lucas had been scheduled to celebrate the April 7 Mass and bless the Divine Mercy mosaic, but he fell sick. In his absence, Father Andrews praised the archbishop for his support of the Newman Center and for his 15 years of serving the archdiocese.

After the blessing by Father Andrews, Polish food was served for guests, in honor of St. Faustina and St. John Paul II.

Father Dan Andrews, pastor and director of the St. John Paul II Newman Center in Omaha, celebrates Mass on Divine Mercy Sunday, assisted by Deacon Omar Gutiérrez. SUSAN SZALEWSKI



One of the younger members of those in attendance points out Jesus.

Guests are treated to Polish food.


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