Here is a brief guide to the feast of the Sacred Heart and its rich history.
The solemnity of the Sacred Heart is celebrated each year by the Catholic Church, honoring Jesus’ divine love for humanity.
However, the feast wasn’t always on the calendar and took many centuries before it was established and spread throughout the world.
1Jesus requested the feast in 1675
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque received private revelations from Jesus Christ.
Jesus spoke to her on June 16, 1675, and asked her specifically to promote a feast that honored his Sacred Heart.
2The feast is held the friday after corpus christi
Jesus specifically asked St. Margaret Mary Alacoque that “the Friday after the Octave of Corpus Christi be set apart for a special Feast to honor My Heart.”
3The first Sacred Heart feast was originally in October
According to the Congregation of Jesus and Mary, “The very first time that there was a liturgical feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was on October 20, 1672. St. John Eudes, the founder of our Congregation, composed the Mass himself and asked that it be celebrated in all 13 houses (seminaries) of the CJM.”
4Poland was the first country to institute the feast
The first country to institute a liturgical feast in honor of the Sacred Heart was, of all places, Poland. This is confirmed by Pope Pius XII in his encyclical, Haurietis aquas.
“The Sacred Congregation of Rites – by a decree of the 25th of January 1765, which was approved by Our predecessor, Clement XIII, on the 6th of February of the same year – granted the liturgical celebration of the feast to the Polish Bishops and to what was called the Archconfraternity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at Rome. The Apostolic See acted in this way so that the devotion then existing and flourishing might be extended, since its purpose was ‘by this symbol to renew the memory of that divine love’ by which Our Savior was moved to offer Himself as a victim atoning for the sins of men.”
5The feast became universal in 1856
In a decree from the Sacred Congregation of Rites on August 23, 1856, Pope Pius IX established the feast for the universal Church. It was a direct response to the request of French bishops, who wanted the feast to be celebrated in all parts of the world.