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From the Pastor 06/17/18

Another successful festival has come and gone. A big THANK YOU to Cathy Egan and her other Blue Shirt Festival Chairs who give so generously of their time to the festival. Thank you to so many who responded to our plea for volunteers. The festival is dependent on 100’s of volunteers, and I am grateful for your generosity. Thanks to so many who worked and gathered items for the Auction Tent. And of course thanks to so many who came to the festival as well. We are very dependent on the festival to balance our budget each year. Will there be a time when we no longer depend on the festival for our budget? That depends on how generous our parishioners give to the weekly collection. As I write this column we are already in a deficit of $30,287 from anticipated weekly collections. We need to keep on target with the collection in order to pay our bills. Until we can run our collection in the black and start to see numbers that reflect what comes in from the festival each year, we will still be very dependent on this source of income for our parish.

I would like to personally thank John Feighery for his over 30 years of service as Head Usher for the 9:30am Sunday Mass. John has just recently lost his dear wife Kay, and now has some difficulty walking. Although it was difficult for John to make this decision to step down from ushering, he will continue to be with us at the 9:30am Sunday Mass that is celebrated as the Coventual Mass with the Dominican Community. Thank you John for all that you have done for us over these many years. Let us pray for John’s continued health. I am also happy to announce that Fred Bowling, who also recently lost his wife, Debbie, has accepted the responsibility of being the Head Usher at this Mass. Let us also keep John and Fred, and their recently deceased wives, Kay and Debbie, in our prayers.

JUNE IS THE MONTH DEDICATED TO THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS

Devotion to the heart pierced on Calvary is nearly as old as Christianity. Patristic writers saw in the blood and water issuing from the crucified Lord’s side the fulfillment of his promise to give living water, the fountain from which the Spirit flows upon the Church. St. Augustine saw in this image of the crucified side of Christ the fundamental Christian sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist. Ancient paintings of the crucifixion show these two streams flowing from Jesus’ side: one filling a baptismal font and the other filling a chalice.

Medieval piety placed less emphasis on Jesus’ heart as the source of grace and moved towards a more personal and sentimental devotion. In the eleventh and twelfth centuries we find the first indications of this sort of personal or sentimental devotion within the Benedictine or Cistercian monasteries.

Of course this feast is very special to our parish because St. Gertrude the Great, the first woman doctor of the Church, and our patroness, of the 13th Century, was the first woman mystic to promote this devotion. Saint Gertrude states that on the feast of Saint John the Evangelist she was given the great grace to lay her head near the wound in the Savior’s side and hear the beating of the Divine Heart. She asked St. John if he had felt these pulsations on the night of the Last Supper and why he had never spoken of this experience. John replied that this revelation had been reserved for subsequent ages when the world, having grown cold, would have need of it to rekindle its love.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus soon spread to other dioceses and the devotion was adopted in various religious communities from the Middle Ages onward.

Centuries later, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque of the 17th Century would be chosen as the great servant to spread this devotion. She was a Visitation nun of the monastery at Paray-le Monial, France. She was chosen by Christ to reveal the desires of his heart and to confide the task of inspiring new life to the devotion.

Revelations to Margaret Mary were numerous. The apparition which occurred on the feast of St. John, as it had to St. Gertrude, on December 27, 1673, was especially remarkable: Jesus permitted Margaret Mary, as He had allowed Saint Gertrude, to rest her head upon his heart, and then disclosed to her the wonders of his love, telling her that he desired to make them known to all mankind and to diffuse the treasures of his goodness, and that he had chosen her for this work. He requested to be honored under the figure of his heart of flesh; that, when he appeared radiant with love he asked for a devotion of expiatory love, specifically requesting frequent communions, Communion on the First Friday of each month, and Holy Hours be observed, all in reparation for human ingratitude, especially indifference to the Blessed Sacrament. In addition Jesus asked her for a feast of reparation to his Sacred Heart be done on the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi.

In 1726 it was deemed advisable to request of Rome a feast with a Mass and Office of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, but Rome refused. However, in 1765, upon the request of the Queen of France, Rome finally yielded and a Feast of the Sacred Heart was granted for France. In 1856 Pope Pius IX extended the feast to the universal Church.

The acts of consecration and of reparation to the Sacred Heart of Christ were introduced throughout the Catholic world. Since about 1850 groups, congregations, and States have consecrated themselves to the Sacred Heart. In 1875 this consecration was made throughout the Catholic world.

Finally on June 11, 1899 by order of Pope Leo XIII all mankind was solemnly consecrated to the Sacred Heart. Pope Leo XIII called this consecration of all mankind to the Sacred Heart of Jesus “the great act” of his pontificate.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus has suffered “cardiac arrest” in recent decades. This decline of devotion is all the more striking because of its pre-eminence in the first half of the 20th century, when so many Catholic families had a picture of Jesus and his Sacred Heart displayed in their homes, and when Thursday night holy hours and first Fridays proliferated in parishes.

More on the Sacred Heart of Jesus next week.

A blessed week to all,

Rev. André-Joseph LaCasse, O.P., Pastor