June 24 vigil event at St. Gregory Parish includes Mass, Rosary, Adoration

By Joyce Coronel, The Catholic Sun

Yvette Reynoso-Barnes remembers the day she went out to her car and googled Sacred Heart images. She was 40 years old and pregnant with her seventh child. A day earlier, she and her husband and children had crowded into the doctor’s office to see the much-anticipated baby’s ultrasound image.

“All eight of us were all in the room together, and it took forever,” Reynoso-Barnes recalled. After a long wait, the nurse asked them to return to the lobby but stopped the husband and wife for a word in private.

“There’s something going on with baby’s heart. It’s not right — it’s pumping the opposite way that it should be pumping,” the nurse told them, explaining they needed to return the following day for another exam and to speak with the physician.

Reynoso-Barnes returned alone — her husband had the children at another appointment — and received the devastating confirmation that her unborn child had a genetic disorder that was not compatible with life. The physician counseled her to seek an abortion.

A woman of deep faith, Reynoso-Barnes still had hope. She sat in her car, praying and looking at the image of Jesus’ Sacred Heart, wounded with love for mankind. She decided to make the image her profile picture on Facebook.

Six years later, it’s still there.

“Knowing that God so loves us with his burning heart, I just knew that I needed to call upon Him to be able to live on and to handle the news that I had just gotten,” Reynoso-Barnes said. “Just looking at the image, knowing what He went through — I needed Him because I was in pain.”

At 37 weeks, Reynoso-Barnes gave birth. Mariam lived just 15 hours, and, in that short span, she was much loved. The family took refuge in the Sacred Heart.

On the sixth anniversary of the ultrasound that revealed her daughter wouldn’t survive, Reynoso-Barnes posted, “Today is the day six years ago! The day I found out that Mariam had heart issues and would not live long. The day I realized how badly I needed the consolation from His Sacred Heart! Without faith in God, I wouldn’t be able to live on.”

F. Raj pictured with a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Prescott, Ariz.

Fr. Irudayaraj John Britto, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Prescott and a native of India, can relate to the powerful devotion. Parishioners call him “Fr. Raj,” a shortening of his first name. What they might not know is that his full first name actually means Sacred Heart in his native tongue.

“I grew up in a very Catholic area,” Fr. Britto said. “I entered the seminary when I was 14. I was going to church every day.”

His great aunt, a religious sister, was the one who came up with his name. “She said my name should be Sacred Heart,” Fr. Britto said.

From the time he first came to Sacred Heart Parish in Prescott four years ago, Fr. Britto wanted to emphasize the Sacred Heart feast, which this year takes place on June 24. It’s a moveable feast because it falls on the Friday ending the octave of Corpus Christi.

The feast traces its origins to the private revelations given to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, a Visitation nun living in 17th century France.

“This feast comes from Heaven. Jesus himself told St. Margaret Mary as He spoke with her to promote this devotion,” Fr. Britto said.

“Jesus is calling us to experience His heart and to find comfort in His heart and soul.”

The weekend Masses prior to the feast, Fr. Britto preaches on the Sacred Heart devotion, which consists of two elements: consecration and reparation. Attending Mass and receiving Communion in a state of grace on the first Friday of the month is also pivotal.

Sr. Esther Pilar, a religious sister who belongs to the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary community, said it’s important to consecrate oneself to the Sacred Heart because God wants to have an intimate relationship with us.

“He’s looking for us because we have gone very, very far away from Him,” Sr. Esther Pilar said. “We need to know that God is love. We need to go to that fountain of mercy — it doesn’t matter how busy we are. The first one that needs to be in our life is the Lord. Everything will go accordingly after that if we put the Lord first.”

Ashley Kaschl of St. Bernadette Parish said she has been devoted to the Sacred Heart since she was a teenager. Her grandmother was one of 15 children.

“My great-grandparents consecrated all of the family to the Sacred Heart for protection during World War II. They had come from Hungary,” Kaschl said.

“I find great refuge in the Sacred Heart. Anything I have done in my past, the ways in which I have failed the Lord, there is great mercy in the Sacred Heart and through repentance and perseverance.”

Faithful in the Diocese of Phoenix will have an opportunity to celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart at a bilingual vigil in Honor of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary on June 24 at St. Gregory Parish, 3424 N. 18th Avenue, Phoenix. Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted will celebrate a 7:30 p.m. Mass followed by Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament with music and the Rosary until midnight. A midnight Mass for the Immaculate Heart of Mary follows.

Sacred Heart Parish in Prescott, 150 Fleury, will hold a 5:30 p.m. Mass and Sacred Heart celebration on June 24.

In His revelations to St. Margaret Mary, Jesus made twelve promises to those who would consecrate themselves and make reparation to His Sacred Heart for the sins and indifference of mankind.

The twelve promises are:

  • He will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.
  • He will establish peace in their homes.
  • He will comfort them in all their afflictions.
  • He will be their secure refuge during life, and above all, in death.
  • He will bestow abundant blessings upon all their undertakings.
  • Sinners will find in His Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
  • Lukewarm souls shall become fervent.
  • Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.
  • He will bless every place in which an image of His Heart is exposed and honored.
  • He will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
  • Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in His Heart.
  • In the excessive mercy of His Heart that His all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays in nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in His disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments. His divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.

The devotions attached to these promises are:

  • Receiving Communion frequently
  • First Fridays: going to Confession and receiving the Eucharist on the first Friday of each month for nine consecutive months. Many parishes will offer public First Friday devotions; if they do, you must perform First Fridays publicly. If it isn’t so offered in your parish, you can do this privately, going to Confession, receiving the Eucharist, and offering your prayers for the intention of the Holy Father.
  • Holy Hour: Eucharistic Adoration for one hour on Thursdays (“Could you not watch one hour with me?”). Holy Hour can be made alone or as part of a group with formal prayers.
  • Celebrating of the Feast of the Sacred Heart

Vigil in Honor of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary