Friday, 19 June 2009

The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus . . .

This feast appears as a liturgical feast in 1675 following the apparition of Our Lord to St Margaret Mary Alacoque.

During these revelations the Saint was given to know with special depth the need to make reparation for the passed sins of the whole world. Our Lord asked her to extend the practice of frequent Communion especially on the first Friday of each month. He asked for the first Friday after the Octave of the Blessed Sacrament (Corpus Christi) to be dedicated to a special feast to the glory of his Heart.

Pope Pius IX extended the feast to the Universal Church and in 1928 Pope Pius XI gave it the splendour it has today.

This year in March Pope Benedict, meeting with members of the Congregation for the Clergy, announced that the Church will celebrate a special Year for Priests beginning on 19th June – today. The year commemorates the 150th anniversary of St John Vianney, Curé of Ars.

In his address, the Pope explained the continuous struggle for moral perfection that dwells ‘in every true priestly heart.’ During the year Pope Benedict XVI will proclaim St John Marie Vianney as the patron of all the priests of the world.

The year will conclude on 19th June 2010 with the Holy Father presiding at a ‘World Meeting of Priests’ in St Peter’s Square.

Concluding his address, he warned of the ‘dilution’ of priestly ministry. He explained that 'without priests, there would be no Eucharist, no Mission’ or the Church.

Today we pray for all priests that we will model ourselves on Jesus Christ, Eternal Priest.

St John Marie Vianney, pray for us.


Flick Saunders said...

I was interested by the phrase 'diluted' priestly ministry. I understand the end of that statement that without priests there would be no sacramental ministry-but diluting and by whom? Does it just mean the lessening of numbers of priests? Can you enlighten me further Fr Miceal please.

St Anns has such a history of vocations to the priesthood and it was most fitting that one of the bidding prayers at Mass this morning was for Fr Sean and Fr Stephen. We need more priests and may there be many more vocations from St Anns. I believe at one time there was a parishioner who devoted his (her?) prayers
petitioning for just that.

Fr Míċeál Beatty said...


Thank you. The words are of course those of the Holy Father.

From my understanding 'diluted' priestly ministry refers to the fact that whilst the laity have a very important role in the Church and the parish, the priest is essential for the pastoral care of the parish which includes the adminstration of the Sacraments (Confession and Anointing of the Sick.

It is very important that the laity do take an active part in parish life thereby supporting the priest and enabling him to devote more time to his 'priestly' duties. That is why I am so very grateful for the countless ways in which so many people take an active part in the parish.