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Sacred Heart of Jesus

"Come to me,
all you who labour and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me;
for I am gentle and lowly in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls."
Matthew 11:28-29

Following the month of May in which we honour our Mother Mary, the month of June is dedicated to our strong devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Of all devotions, this particular devotion to the Sacred Heart has historically been, and continues to be, one of the most popular and widespread devotions here in the Archdiocese of Toronto, and for all Catholics worldwide.

Accoording to Vatican News: "The Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus – also the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests – is celebrated on the Friday after the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. This suggests to us that the Eucharist (Corpus Christi) is none other than the Heart of Jesus himself, of the One who “takes care of us” with his “heart”.

On 20 October 1672, Father Giovanni Eudes, a priest from Normandy, celebrated this feast for the first time. But there had already been several German mystics that had begun cultivating devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Middle Ages: Mechtild of Magdeburg (1212-1283), Mechtilde of Hackeborn (1240/1-1298) and Gertrude of Helfta (1256-1302) – and the Dominican, Blessed Henry Suso (1295 – 1366). But to popularize the devotion, the revelations of our Lord to the Visitation nun of the convent of Paray-le-Monial, Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690), contributed greatly. Margaret Mary had entered the French convent in Saône-et-Loire in 1671. She already had the reputation of being a mystic when on 27 December 1673 she received the first vision of Jesus who invited her to take John’s place, the only apostle who physically rested his head on Jesus’s chest, among those present at the Last Supper. “My Divine Heart is so passionately in love with humanity that it can no longer contain within itself the flames of its ardent love. It must pour them out. I have chosen you for this great plan,” Jesus told her. The following year, Margaret had two other visions. In the first, Jesus’s heart was on a throne enveloped in flames brighter than the sun and more transparent than crystal, surrounded by a crown of thorns. In the other, she saw Christ shining in glory. Flames of fire were coming out of every part of his chest to the point that it looked like a furnace. Jesus spoke to her and asked her to receive Communion every first Friday for nine consecutive months and to prostrate herself on the ground for an hour the night between Thursday and Friday. This is how the practice of the nine first Fridays originated and the Holy Hour of Adoration. Then in a fourth vision, Christ asked for the institution of a feast to honour his Heart and to make reparation through prayer for offenses received.

Pope Pius IX made it an obligatory feast throughout the universal Church in 1856. In 1995, Saint John Paul II instituted the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests on this same day so that the priesthood might be protected in the hands of Jesus, rather in his heart, so it could be open to everyone."

(Click here to read the entire Vatican News article on the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.)

This site was created to aid the faithful in deepening their devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus throughout the month of June, and all year long. Here you will fiind a number of prayers, resources, reflections, and both text and video of the pastoral letter issued by Cardinal Collins in April of 2021. Jesus gentle and humble of heart, touch our hearts and make them like your own.