26 October 2009

When was the last time you heard of a college consecrating itself to the Sacred Heart?

This past week an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was enthroned in the crowded Chapel of the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts and the College was consecrated to the Sacred Heart.
“It was important that my first year as president begin with this clear display of devotion,” said Dr. William Fahey, President of Thomas More College....It seems natural that our College, which is so focused on the humanities, should have this as a central liturgical moment in its academic year.”

The Mass celebrated was that of the Sacred Heart. Professor John Zmirak noted that the celebration took place on the eve of the 16th—exactly between the current and traditional dates of the Feast of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque—perhaps the greatest proponent of the devotion. “That is consoling and interesting given the emphasis that is now being made by the Holy Father on finding links and points of continuity between the long Catholic tradition and the Church’s recent developments and changes,” said Zmirak.
Faculty, staff, and students joined first in praying the ancient “Litany of the Sacred Heart” and then in offering the traditional prayer, pledging to the Sacred Heart to strive in “person…life…actions…pains, and sufferings… to do all things for the love of Him, at the same time renouncing what is displeasing to Him.”
Through the late 19th and early 20th centuries, whole states consecrated themselves to the Sacred Heart, including Ireland, Poland, Spain, Portugal, and Ecuador. In the United States certain schools and colleges, religious communities, and families would enthrone the Sacred Heart and make the act of consecration.

In 1943, one day in Chicago alone, 125,000 people made the act of consecration. In 1953, the Catholic University of America enthroned the Sacred Heart and consecrated itself to it. A large painting of the Sacred Heart once faced all those who entered the University’s central building, McMahon Hall.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart has nearly disappeared among Catholic academic institutions and the images have largely been moved or taken down.
After Mass, the College retired to the dining hall and enjoyed a feast of seafood and wine.