Feast of the Sacred Heart

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Feast of the Sacred Heart
Sacred Heart 1770.jpg
Observed by Catholic Church
Date 19 days after Pentecost
2013 date June 7
2014 date June 27
2015 date June 12
2016 date June 3

The Feast of the Sacred Heart (properly the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus) is a solemnity in the liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church. It falls 19 days after Pentecost, on a Friday. The earliest possible date is 29 May, as in 1818 and 2285. The latest possible date is 2 July, as in 1943 and 2038.

Background[edit]

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus can be clearly traced back at least to the eleventh century. It marked the spirituality of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux in the twelfth century and of Saint Bonaventure and St. Gertrude the Great in the thirteenth. The beginnings of a devotion toward the love of God as symbolized by the heart of Jesus are found even in the fathers of the Church, including Origen, Saint Ambrose, Saint Jerome, Saint Augustine of Hippo, Saint Hippolytus of Rome, Saint Irenaeus, Saint Justin Martyr and Saint Cyprian, who used in this regard John 7:37-39 and John 19:33-37.[1]

History[edit]

But the first liturgical feast of the Sacred Heart was celebrated, with episcopal approval, on 31 August 1670, in the major seminary of Rennes, France, through the efforts of Saint John Eudes. [2] The Mass and Office composed by this saint were adopted elsewhere also, especially in connection with the spread of devotion to the Sacred Heart following on the revelations to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque and Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart Droste zu Vischering. A Mass of the Sacred Heart won papal approval for use in Poland and Portugal in 1765, and another was approved for Venice, Austria and Spain in 1788. Finally, in 1856, Pope Pius IX established the Feast of the Sacred Heart as obligatory for the whole Church, to be celebrated on the Friday after the Octave of Corpus Christi. Pope Pius XII raised the feast to the highest rank, Double of the First Class, and added an octave; the 1955 reforms of the general Roman calendar suppressed this octave and removed most other octaves.

The Mass prayers and readings approved on that occasion were replaced with new texts in 1929, and the Roman Missal published in 1970 provided three sets of prayers and readings, one for each year of the three-year liturgical cycle.

Priests may use this Mass, celebrated with white vestments, as a Votive Mass on other days also, especially on the first Friday of each month (unless falling on a day of higher rank).

Since 2002, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is also a special Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests.[3]

In 2009, the feast marked the beginning of a "Year for Priests".[4]

References[edit]

See also[edit]