Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
"But one of the soldiers pierced his side ... and at once there came out Blood and Water" (Jn 19:34)
(Duccio - 1311)
The month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This is particularly so because the feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus is celebrated in this month on June 12th.
Many might ask why the Catholic Church has a month and a feast dedicated to an internal organ in the body of Our Lord. The answer is that the Church celebrates the Heart of Jesus both symbolically and physical.
First of all, the Sacred Heart of Jesus is symbolic. It is a sign of his great love and mercy for the human race, his divine love which moved him freely in his divinity to assume a human nature in order to redeem, or buy back (ransom) man’s fallen human nature. The heart has served as a sign of love in poetry and in culture since ancient times as when one “gives ones' heart to another,” and Jesus “wholeheartedly” gave his very self for us.
Next, the heart of Jesus is truly physical because it grew with the rest of his physical form in the womb of Mary and it sits firmly even now in his resurrected body in his thoracic cavity, beating and surging his most precious blood, maintaining its stream through his holy body just as it did on earth until the time had come when this Sacred Blood would spill and gush forth for the salvation of mankind.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus has a long tradition in the Church but this especially came to the forefront in 1675 when Jesus appeared to St. Mary Margaret Alacoque within the octave of Corpus Christi and told her to “behold this heart, which notwithstanding the burning love for men with which it is consumed and exhausted, meets with no other return from most Christians than sacrilege, contempt, indifference, and ingratitude, even in the sacrament of love” (the Holy Eucharist). In this blessed appearance (recognized by the Church as authentic) Jesus himself tells man to use his Sacred Heart as a focal point for a renewed devotion to his sacrificial love.
In keeping with this devotion, St. Francis Xavier Parish of Acushnet celebrates two Masses every First Friday of the month for parishioners and visitors because Jesus told St. Mary Margaret that those who would receive Holy Communion on nine consecutive First Fridays, having the intention of honoring the Sacred Heart of Jesus and of reaching final perseverance (while offering each Communion as an act of atonement for offenses against the Blessed Sacrament) would not die in the Lord’s disfavor and without having received the sacraments before death.
This promise of Jesus is not simply a free-pass into heaven for performing a good work. It is rather an act of faith and love, and therefore a good work, in honor of a grace gifted by Jesus himself. Nor is this an “easy-pass”, for the one who seeks the graces of this devotion must be a Catholic who makes a true effort to show love to Jesus and a sincere willingness of reparation for his or her sins. Further, the fact that the Catholic must make each Holy Communion as “an act of atonement,” indicates that this person should keep holy the Sabbath and attend Holy Mass each Sunday as the primary act of worship.
June is a glorious month of the Sacred Heart also because within it falls - the excellent Feast of Corpus Christi, (i.e. the Body of Christ). On Sunday, June 7th we celebrate the gift of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus given first at the Last Supper and then at every Holy Mass since then, going back to apostolic times. We honor the Real Presence of Jesus on that day in the Blessed Sacrament – the Holy Eucharist. Further, the connection between this Eucharist and the Sacred Heart has been established in the great Eucharistic miracles of the Church, when on the sacred altar the bread offered by priests was consecrated and then actually bled real blood upon the altar. These same Holy Eucaristic hosts, when later tested scientifically, were determined to be true heart tissue!
Finally, the Sacred Heart of Jesus is played out in June in the many feast days to his many martyrs: St. Justin, St. Charles Lwanga and companions, St. Boniface, St. Barnabas, Ss. Peter and Paul and Ss. John Fisher and Thomas More; all who shed their blood for the love of Christ.
You are invited to celebrate with us a month dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ!
Be in the Presence of Jesus: On Easter Day some of Jesus' disciples who knew of his suffering and death on the cross just two days prior, were walking and talking and probably lamenting over the horrific crucifixion of the person they thought was the Messiah, the Savior of the world. They were on their way to Emmaus, a town some seven miles distant from Jerusalem. The resurrected Jesus caught up with them, "but their eyes were kept from recognizing him." (Lk 24:16) They told Jesus of the great prophet who had been delivered up to death, and that even now his body was not in the tomb where his disciples had laid him. They did not undrstand.
Jesus therefore explained to them all the prophecies concerning the Messiah and how he was to suffer and all the mysteries that related to him and their hearts were "burning" inside them at his words and presence. Then Jesus, "took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight." (Lk 24:30-31).
The Eucharist is an eye-opener! It is in the Eucharist that Catholics most recognize Jesus here on earth. It is important to note that St. Luke in his gospel states that the disciples recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread and not in the "bread" itself. This is because the bread was no longer mere bread but the same Body of Christ that the Lord fed his Apostles at The Last Supper. This post-Easter encounter on the way to Emmaus was a training session in the Real Presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus the physical person vanished, however Jesus the Holy Eucharist remained! It is in the blessing and breaking - the consecration of the bread into the Body of Christ - that the Church was expected to recognize Jesus until his Second Coming.
It takes grace and faith to recognize Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. In the Eucharist, one's eyes are kept from recognizing him, however one's mind and heart and soul burns in recognition. Catholics must pray fervently for this grace and the grace of Adoration, and the best place to do this is before the Lord in the Holy Eucharist.
Come to the parish church of St. Francis Xavier of Acushnet and pray before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. It is only in doing so that you will come to greater understanding by being in the Real Presence of Jesus, just as the men on their way to Emmaus recognized Jesus, only after he vanished from their sight, in the Most Holy Eucharist.
Parish Rosary CD is available for $5.00.
Copies are available at the parish office.
It is also sold on iTunes.
You can click on image and play the Rosary from this site.
Got Evening Prayer? We do! Every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evening in the parish church beginning at 6:30pm & concluding before 7:00pm. Please look for more information about Evening Prayer under the above home page heading: Parish Life & Liturgy
The church is open for prayer every day. Please call the office at 508 - 995 - 7600 if you require use of our wheel-chair lift.
Sunday, August 2nd: we ask that all parisioners place this date on their calendar to remind them that it is the date of our Annual Parish Picnic at Cathedral camp in East Freetown, MA. We will have an area reserved from Noon to 4pm with access to the pond. Plenty of food, music and fellowship. This is a parishioner-only event. We hope to see many of you there!
Summer Hours: Our Office of Religious Education has changed its hours for the season. Our CCD classes are over and our Religious Ed Director, Janine Hammarquist, will be in the office on Monday, Tuesday and Friday from 8am to Noon (except for the 9am Mass). Please call the parish office if you have any questions about the next Religious Education season.
Parish Appeal: There are only a few days left in this year's appeal. Our parishoners are reminded to return their pledge/donation cards before the closing of the appeal on June 30th. If any person or business would like to make a donation to this appeal which raises much needed funds for local programs that serve the local poor, please call our parish office.
Interested: in having your home enthroned to the Sacred Heart of Jesus? Click here for more information on how to get started.
Recent Photo's & Events
May 04, 2014
St. Francis Xavier of Acushnet is a lively parish with many activities and opportunities for worship, prayer, and community. We extend to you an invitation to our parish family in hopes that you may join in our devotions and our reverent celebration of Holy Mass. Please contact us with any questions you have regarding our parish and living a life in the Catholic faith.
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