Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The First Insert: First Friday Devotions

The idea behind these bulletin inserts is to fire a highly concentrated block of catechetical information right into the homes of my parishioners. So, the emphasis here is brevity. The first insert is about First Friday Devotions, which we will begin to observe starting next week. Savor the tasty catechesis!

Where did the First Friday Devotion come from?
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus can be traced back to as early as the 13th century through the writings of St. Bonaventure. Commenting on the Passion as found in St. John’s Gospel, he noted that the blood and water flowing from the Heart of Jesus after it is pierced with a lance shows that Christ holds nothing back from
us in order to redeem us. Other saints, like St. John Eudes, help to promote and
develop this devotion to the Sacred Heart. However, it was the singular
experience of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque that cemented this devotion into the
general life of the Church. In 1675, St. Margaret Mary received a vision of the
Lord who promised to bestow special graces, the grace of perseverance in the
Faith through the whole of their life, who observed the First Fridays as a

Why practice the First Friday Devotion?
Imagine if you had a good friend who was knocked down by some inconsiderate person rushing off down the street. What would your reaction be? You would go to the friend, pick him up, brush him off, and take him to get something to calm his nerves. In short, you would find some way to repay the unkindness handed to him by the stranger with a kindness of your own. This is the same principle behind the First Friday Devotion.

No matter how observant a Catholic we think ourselves to be, we all fall short of the respect and love that God deserves. Add in the abuses our Lord must suffer at the hands of unbelievers and the ignorant and it becomes readily apparent how much disgrace our Lord is subjected to.

Knowing this situation calls all of us to make reparation for the insults that we or others have given to our Lord. The First Friday Devotion is a time set apart for us to sincerely ask Jesus’s forgiveness and to make amends for all the faults and sins of the world as an act of reparation.

How does one observe the First Friday?
The First Friday devotion is observed in the following fashion: 1. Receive
Holy Communion worthily on nine consecutive Fridays, 2. Have the intention of
honoring the Sacred Heart of Jesus and of reaching final perseverance, 3. Offer
each holy Communion as an act of atonement for offenses against the Blessed
Sacrament3. It is also fitting on First Fridays, therefore, to go to Confession
and to spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament as an act of reparation for

Here at Sacred Heart Parish, on First Fridays, the Holy Mass will
be celebrated at 6:00 p.m. with Exposition to follow. At 7:00 p.m., the Litany of the Sacred Heart will be recited. Confessions will be heard from the conclusion of the Litany until 8:45 p.m. The extended period of adoration will continue with night prayer and Benediction. Also, because the Blessed Sacrament cannot be exposed and left unattended, a sign up sheet will be provided so that a sufficient number of adorers are available.

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