The Sacred Heart of Jesus is the "greatest human expression of divine love," according to Pope Francis. Speaking to an audience at St. Peter's in Rome last year, Pope Francis said that the Sacred Heart is the ultimate symbol of God's mercy (to read the complete Angelus address, go to the Vatican website). Every year on the Friday following the feast of Corpus Christi, the Church celebrates this powerful symbol of God's love and mercy, often through devotionals, special Masses, or times of adoration.
In the city of Lincoln, many parishes are following this tradition of honoring the Sacred Heart. No parish has a right to celebrate as much as Sacred Heart Church by 33rd and Vine Street. Founded in 1919, Sacred Heart Parish has served the people of Lincoln as a church and school dedicated to the devotion begun by St. Margaret Mary Alacoque for almost a hundred years. The parish mission, as found on their website, is to live the words of Jesus in his revelations to St. Margaret Mary and to "speak to the world of his love as it is manifested in his heart that was pierced with a lance for love of us." In celebration of this charism and their patronal feast today, Sacred Heart Church is taking part in the 40 hours devotion. This is a time for members of the parish to take part in 40 hours of continuous adoration, which began on Wednesday and will conclude tonight at 7:00 pm. Traditionally, a priest from a different church or religious order comes to the parish and gives talks, hears confession, and says Mass for the people. This year, Sacred Heart welcomed Father Louis Guardiola from the Fathers of Mercy. In addition to the special 3 days of adoration, Fr. Guardiola will also preach the homily at the Masses this weekend at Sacred Heart.
While Sacred Heart Parish celebrates their parish connection with the Sacred Heart, Bishop James Conley is also encouraging everyone to remember that Jesus' Heart can transform our own hearts, our families, and the world. In his most recent article for the Southern Nebraska Register, the Bishop urged people of the diocese to "offer our lives in sacrifice as we love the Sacred Heart of Jesus." As we gaze upon an image of Christ's heart burning with love for his people, let us place our hopes, joys, and fears into the Heart of him who died and was pierced that we might be saved.