The entire month of June in the Catholic Church is traditionally dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus falls on the Friday after the second Sunday after Pentecost in the Church’s calendar.
Many Catholics prepare for this feast by beginning a novena to the Sacred Heart on the feast of Corpus Christi, the week prior.
Devotion to Christ’s Sacred Heart became popularized when St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690), a Visitation nun, had a personal revelation involving a series of visions of Christ as she prayed before the Blessed Sacrament.
During her visions, St. Margaret Mary learned ways to venerate the Sacred Heart of Christ.
These devotions include the concept of a holy hour on Thursdays, the creation of the feast of the Sacred Heart after Corpus Christi, and the reception of the Eucharist on the first Friday of every month.
Alacoque wrote: "He disclosed to me the marvels of his Love and the inexplicable secrets of his Sacred Heart."
Pope Leo XIII promulgated the encyclical Annum sacrum, which consecrated the entire world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in 1899. He called the encyclical and the subsequent consecration the “great act” of his papacy.
Courtney Mares is a Rome Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. A graduate of Harvard University, she has reported from news bureaus on three continents and was awarded the Gardner Fellowship for her work with North Korean refugees.
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