The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Jun 7, 2024

At a convent in Paray-le-Monial, Italy, Jesus appeared to a devout nun many times between the years of 1673 and 1675. He shared with her His burning desire for each person to be united to His heart. The Shrine of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque is now recognized as the source of the popular devotion to The Sacred Heart of Jesus. The call to holiness expressed by God in this way has inspired and consoled the world. At an Angelus on June 25, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI said, “The devotion is rooted in the mystery of the Incarnation; it is precisely through the Heart of Jesus that the Love of God for humanity is sublimely manifested. This is why authentic devotion to the Sacred Heart has retained all its effectiveness and especially attracts souls thirsting for God’s mercy who find in it the inexhaustible source from which to draw the water of Life that can irrigate the deserts of the soul and make hope flourish anew.”

On June 7, 2024 the Church celebrates The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart as well as the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests. Saint John Paul II united the celebrations in 2002. According to the USCCB, the day is marked for prayer for the holiness of priests. The vocation of the priesthood is tied to Christ’s Sacred Heart as Jesus’s presence in the Holy Eucharist enables the faithful to have intimate unity with Him.

The Seven Sisters Apostolate is active in the Archdiocese of Portland with the particular mission to pray for priests. Each year on this solemnity, a core group of seven women commit to a different day of the week to offer a holy hour for a particular priest. This private ministry of intercession is to pray for the priest and his intentions. There are currently 37 groups of the apostolate dedicated to prayer for priests in the Archdiocese.

Ordinations are common in May and June and many priests have an anniversary connected to the solemnities of these months. The renewal of vows is part of their Holy Week festivities at the Chrism Mass. This season is a significant opportunity for the Church to remember the value and first-love of the priesthood.

While ongoing formation is highlighted in the latest edition of the Program for Priestly Formation, the Clergy Personnel Manual has also maintained the importance of continuing education and retreats for many years. At the priest retreat this week, they enjoyed the reflections of Archbishop Peter Sartain on the theme Living the Beatitudes Eucharistically.

As they continue in their discipleship, let us pray for priests. Lord, may their priesthood be blessed with health and holiness. May their ministries of sacramental graces bear abundant fruit in their communities. May they image the Sacred Heart of Jesus with compassionate zeal for souls. Amen

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