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Sacred Heart

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Teaching the Devotion to the Sacred Heart

Part IV

Sodality and the Sacred Heart Devotion

Editors: Thomas Diehl, S.J. and John Hardon, S. J.

Many schools have found that the Apostleship of Prayer prospers in the degree to which it cooperates with the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The cooperation takes on as many forms as circumstances allow. As an elite group, Sodalists often make the best promoters. They also need an outlet for their zeal, which the Apostleship in and around the school can easily furnish. Above all, joining the Sodality spirit with devotion to the Heart of Christ produces that balanced form of piety for which there is no real substitute.

Students find that their Sodality takes on depth and meaning when the slogan, “to Jesus through Mary,” is lived out in the school and almost personified in the two organizations to which they simultaneously belong.

While the samples here given are directed primarily to Sodalists, their application is by no means so restricted. The sets of interviews or examens of conscience, for example, may be used with profit for member so of the Apostleship of Prayer who are not Sodalists. A point to stress is that devotion to the Sacred Heart, whether through the Sodality or otherwise, seeks to cultivate Christian perfection, as the following methods illustrate.

Conferences on the Sacred Heart

United in Love for the Sacred Heart

Purpose: To explain what the Sacred Heart devotion is, to show its connection with the mystical body, and to discuss the relations between the Sacred Heart devotion, the mystical body, and the Apostleship of Prayer.

Brief of the Meeting: 1) Moderator’s talk: What is devotion to the Sacred Heart? 2) Sodalist’s talk: How were St. Margaret Mary and Blessed Claude de la Colombière connected with the devotion? 3) Discussion: What connection has the Sacred Heart devotion with the Apostleship of Prayer, and how can we foster the devotion? 4) Short mental prayer.

Moderator's Talk

What is Devotion to the Sacred Heart?

  1. When we think of the Sacred Heart devotion, we always think of the Heart as shown to St. Margaret Mary---wounded Heart and drops of blood, thorns around it, flames above it, and the cross. A symbol of the devotion---compare the relationship between flag and fatherland, dove and the Holy Spirit, death’s head and poison, and so forth.

    1. The thorns and wound signify sins of the entire world---hatred (communists), impurity (great number of sex crimes), pride (the rich), murder (of thousands of Catholics in Iron Curtain countries), and long lists of sins.

    2. Love of the Sacred Heart has been wounded by the lack of interest on the part of those consecrated to Him---“What hurts Me most deeply is that the very hearts which are consecrate to Me act thus.” Burning love is signified in the flames and the cross. Are we wounding His Heart? Ask this over and over.

    3. The center of the devotion to the Sacred Heart is “a return of love for the love of the Sacred Heart for men---a love often rejected.”
  1. The devotion to the Sacred Heart looks to His love in the fullest sense of the word.

    1. Not only to His love but also to His love which has been rejected. Therefore, it differs from Eucharistic devotion of love, five wounds, precious blood, and other devotions to Christ.

    2. The devotion looks to Christ’s total love for men and our total dedication to Him. The devotion contains everything we need forever for our life of perfection. It is like a double swinging door into heaven rather than just a narrow gate.
  1. We have this spirit in our Sodality way of life. Part of the more of the Sodality way of life is dedication to Christ. The Sacred Heart devotion merely makes this dedication more concrete.

  2. Connection between doctrine of the mystical body and the devotion to the Sacred Heart.

    1. Doctrine: The mystical body, Christ’s Church, was born from His side (His wounded Heart) on the cross. This birth is an expression of Christ’s love for men. He wants all men to be members of His mystical body, the Church, because He died for all men. Compare this relationship with that of the members of a human body to the whole body.

    2. Devotion: In each individual member of the mystical body the Sacred Heart wants strong, personal love for Himself, the Head of the mystical body, as well as love for all other members. Such devotion helps the whole body live in better harmony---a harmony of love---with the Head, Christ, and the other members of the mystical body in particular. In practicing this devotion we make ourselves healthy members and thus help maintain the health of the whole body. Thus, the Sacred Heart devotion is the heart of the mystical body doctrine. The devotion is living out the doctrine of the mystical body.

    3. Love, therefore, is the central point of the mystical body union. The Sacred Heart’s love made Him found the mystical body, head it, support it, and redeem it. Our mutual love for each other and return of love to the Sacred Heart is living out our mystical body life to the full. This is done best of all by consecration and reparation, which will be explained in the following meeting.

Sodalist's Talk

St. Margaret Mary and Blessed Claude

  1. The best way to handle this section of the meeting is to have a Sodalist read Margaret Yeo’s These Three Hearts, and then give brief summaries of the lives of St. Margaret Mary and Blessed Claude de la Colombière. Only events pertinent to the establishment of the devotion should be given.

  2. Since so much matter has to be covered in the moderator’s section of the meeting as well as in the discussion, the moderator may wish to drop this section of the meeting. In that event, he should at least mention the names of St. Margaret Mary and Blessed Claude in connection with the devotion somewhere during his talk.

The Most Excellent Means of Devotion to the Sacred Heart

--- the Apostleship of Prayer

  1. What is the link between the Apostleship of Prayer and the Sacred Heart devotion?

    1. Why is living out the practices of the Apostleship of Prayer the best practical way of living the Sacred Heart devotion today?

    2. What are the main practices of Apostleship, and how can a Sodalist best fulfill them?

    3. How do the practices of the Apostleship line up with the obligations which Sodalists have already taken upon themselves in their rules?
  1. How does the Apostleship of Prayer go about linking its members even more closely with other members of the mystical body?

    1. Does the morning offering help toward strengthening this union with Christ the Head and the other members of the mystical body?

    2. What of the Mass, prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father, communions of Reparation, and so forth, for greater union?
  1. What obligations do Sodalists have toward fostering the Sacred Heart devotion and Apostleship of Prayer by:

    1. Consecrating their own lives to the Sacred Heart?

    2. Trying to foster family, parish, and neighborhood consecration to the Sacred Heart?

Mental Prayer

  1. Imagine that you kneel beside St. Margaret Mary when Christ shows her His Heart.

  2. Feel the flame of love---like standing in front of the open door of a furnace---you automatically get warm and feel the heat. Ask the Sacred Heart to let you catch some of His fire so that you can give it to others, and thus “set the world on fire.”

  3. See the thorns pierce the Heart. You are causing that by sins and by the fact that you pay no attention to His love. Tell Him how sorry you are.

  4. See the cross above the Heart and consider what the Sacred Heart has done for all of us---He died on the cross and showed His love for all men. Thank Him for such love.

Conference Two

United Through Consecration to the Sacred Heart


To appreciate our need for consecration to the Sacred Heart; to understand what this consecration entails, and to motivate the Sodalist to make his consecration to the Sacred Heart.

Brief of the Meeting: 1. Moderator’s talk; The what, why, and how of consecration to the Sacred Heart. 2. Sodalist’s talk: Consecration is a duty of the Sodalist. 2. Discussion: The Promises of the Sacred Heart. 4. Short mental prayer on the Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart.

Moderator’s Talk

What, Why, and How of Consecration to the Sacred Heart

  1. Meaning of consecration

    1. We speak about the Act of Consecration that implies that the student will live out his life dedicated to the Sacred Heart. One does not formally consecrate himself without the intention of living that consecration forever.

    2. Negative approach---Consecration is not a vow for it does not bind under sin. It is not a mere prayer which is finished as soon as words are pronounced. It is a promise with definite obligations.

    3. Positive approach---Generic sense: a dedication of a person or thing to divine worship (chalice, bishop, church are set aside for God and the purposes of God); specific sense: a total gift of oneself and all one has to the Sacred Heart out of love in recognition of the kingship of Christ with the result that one is made holy or sacred to God.
  1. Qualities of consecration

    1. Generosity---One must be willing to make the total gift of himself and all that he has to the Sacred Heart.

    2. Self-surrender---Prefer the interests of the Sacred Heart to my own interests so that I trust the Sacred Heart completely.

    3. Examples---Communist completely dedicated, works overtime for the “cause” in spite of death and imprisonment if caught; Doctors bind themselves by Hippocratic Oath; husband and wife live for each other, share interests and confidence.
  1. Motives for consecration

    1. Christ wants it---We know this from His revelations to St. Margaret Mary: “It (the Heart of Christ) desires to be honored as much as it was outraged, despised, and humiliated in its Passion.” “If they render Me some return of love, I should esteem all that I have done for them a little, and would do, if it were possible, still more for them.” “Behold this Heart which has loved men so much, which has spared nothing even to being exhausted and consumed in order to testify to them its love. And the greater number of them make Me no return other than ingratitude by their coldness, indifference, and forgetfulness of Me in this sacrament of love.”

    2. It is a return demanded by justice---We owe God everything, since we belong to Him completely. Justice demands that we return to Him everything that belongs to Him. What if God sent us a bill every month as do our doctors, dentists, grocery stores?

    3. It is a return demanded by charity---Consider all that Christ does for us each day, has done for us throughout our lives; we naturally want to make a return of love for lover. Dwell on gifts as considered in Contemplatio ad amorem in the Spiritual Exercises.

    4. We want it. --We want to be holy; we want to save our souls; we want to be living members of the mystical body of Christ.
  1. Connection of consecration with mystical body. By the Act of Consecration and the necessary living out of that Consecration we prove our devotion to the cause of Christ. We unite in and with Christ’s great work of sanctification. My Consecration lived well has very definite effects throughout the Church. I strengthen myself and at the same time perfect my neighbor through edification, prayer, and the apostolate. I grow in likeness to Christ and in charity as well as in sanctifying grace, which is the binding element of the union with Christ and my neighbor.
  1. Results of consecration

    1. Greater union with and force in the mystical body.

    2. I have a constant source of spiritual treasures ever open to me in the Promises that the Sacred Heart has made.

    3. Pope Pius XI assures me that the devotion to the Sacred Heart will surely lead me to know Christ intimately and will cause my heart to love Him more tenderly and imitate Him more generously. (See Miserentissimus redemptor, 4).
  1. How is consecration to the Sacred Heart made?

    1. The Act of Consecration need not be long: “All for You, most Sacred Heart of Jesus” is sufficient. The morning offering is both an act of consecration and a renewal of consecration.

    2. Daily I will perform to the best of my ability the requisites of the Apostleship of Prayer.

    3. I will try to make reparation to the Sacred Heart for my sins and the sins of others.

    4. I become an apostle of the devotion by spreading it wherever I am able.

Sodalist's Talk

Consecration to the Sacred Heart a Duty of the Sodalist

  1. The Sodalist’s consecration to Mary and to the Sacred Heart implies no conflict.

    1. Mary is the perfect example of consecration; she returned love. She was completely dedicated to Christ.

    2. Mary is not the end of the Sodalist’s consecration but the means: Ad Jesum Per Mariam. Sodality consecration is a consecration to Christ. Mary is the patron, guide, and advocate.

    3. The Sodalist should use every means to come closer to Christ and increase in holiness.

    4. The Sodalist pleases as well as imitates Mary when he answers the Sacred Heart’s plea for a return of love for His love.

    5. Consecration to the Sacred Heart implies that we offer, in the words of the morning offering, “all our prayers, works, joys, and sufferings” of each day to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

  2. The wording of the rules of the Sodality implies that there should be such a consecration:

    1. Rule 1: “Sanctification of self”; The holy father tells us that this devotion will lead to an intimate knowledge, love, and imitation of Jesus Christ. “Sanctification of neighbor”: In the morning offering we pray for the “the intentions of all our associates.” “Defense of the Church”: In the morning offering we pray for the “intentions of the holy father” who knows where help is most needed. Thus the Sodalist concentrates on the very pressing needs of the mystical body of Christ.

    2. Rule 12: “Works of charity toward their neighbor: are shown by use of the Apostleship of Prayer, by praying for the needs of the Church and our neighbor, and by making reparation for the sick members of the mystical body of Christ.

    3. Rule 33: “Praising what she (the Church) praises…”: The Church has highly praised this life consecrated to the Sacred Heart. Christ, the Head of the mystical body has asked for it.

    4. Rule 34: “Offer Him their labors with the intention of gaining all the indulgences they can throughout the day”: This is what we do when we make the morning offering. “And recite the most holy rosary”: In the third practice at least one decade of the rosary is assigned for daily recitation.


The Promises of the Sacred Heart

  1. How do the Promises help me to become a better Sodalist? What help are they in personal sanctification? What help in the sanctification of my neighbor? In the defense of the Church?

  2. Do the Promises suggest any project for the Sodality apostolate? At home? Among my friends? In my school, parish?

  3. Should the motive for the Sodalist’s consecration to the Sacred Heart be the Promises, or should he have another motive?

Mental Prayer

  1. A short mental prayer to Mary, my patroness, for help.

  2. A paraphrase or repetition of the morning offering, or an Act of Consecration.

Personal Interviews

Interview One

The Sacred Heart---Perfect Friend

It is very important that the moderator discover at once any prejudices the Sodalist may have against the Sacred Heart devotion. Only after rectifying these prejudices should he proceed to testing the Sodalist’s knowledge of the Sacred Heart devotion and to instilling in him this devotion. Thus the following steps in the interview:

  1. The Spiritual Exercises and the Sacred Heart Devotion. Does the Sodalist consider deeds more important than words in showing friendship for a person? How would he describe friendship -- “sharing what one has with his friend”? Does he see this as connected with the “Contemplation To Gain Divine Love”? Is he aware of what Christ has shared with him -- His kingdom, His Sonship (by sanctifying grace), His humanity? Has he ever felt any repugnance to Sacred Heart devotion?

  2. What Is This Devotion? Can he describe the essential element, the central core, of the devotion in one sentence? How does this devotion differ from other devotions? Does this devotion strike him as better fitted for women than men? Why?

  3. And the Mystical Body. How is this devotion to Christ’s Heart linked with the mystical body? What do they have in common? Why could not the Sacred Heart devotion exist without the mystical body?

  4. The Apostleship of Prayer. What is it? What are its practices? How is it connected with devotion to the Sacred Heart? With the mystical body? Actually, do the Sacred Heart devotion, the Apostleship of Prayer practices, and living the life of the mystical body blend into one identical living?

Some important points of motivation in instilling the Sacred Heart devotion are the following:

  1. God, the Creator of the vast universe, came down from heaven and became a fellow man in order to be with us.

  2. All the sorrows, toils, and pains of human nature Christ took upon Himself out of sheer love for us.

  3. Though He could have saved us by suffering one pin pick, He preferred to undergo the scourging, thorns, and cross.

  4. Even when He ascended into heaven He contrived to stay with us, especially in the Holy Eucharist. Later He sent the Holy Spirit so that the Trinity might be with us while we eat, sleep, study, dance, work, pray.

  5. Christ’s single Heart’s desire: a return of love for His love shown in the above deeds.

My Love Shown in Deeds

  1. Daily Duties. Does the Sodalist watch with Christ for a full quarter hour of mental prayer each day? How faithful is he to daily Mass, Communion, and also rosary? Has he been doing spiritual reading so that his prayer does not run dry? Examens?

  2. Catholic College. Is the Sodalist intending to go to college? Why or why not? Has he narrowed down the possibilities to a few colleges? Which are they? Does this college offer the best training for that work which the Sodalist feels he is cut out to do? How has he selected his life’s work; that is, what principles did he use? Has he made this decision on his own or has someone influenced him? What reasons would he give to another student for choosing a Catholic college over a secular one? In his selection of a college, what steps did he take to arrive at a decision?

  3. Race Relations. What has he done personally to better race relations? What has he done working with the Sodality as a group?

  4. Other Apostolic Works. Check through his work for the missions, convert-making, special offering for the poor souls during November, his apostolate of “kindness and thoughtfulness” especially toward his own family, his Apostleship of Prayer practices, his interest in the liturgy.

  5. Most Important of All. Get the Sodalist to explain to you how devotion to the Sacred Heart, the practices of the Apostleship of Prayer, and living the life of the mystical body are all the same thing in practice.

Interview Two

Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Advent is a time of looking forward and preparing for Christ’s coming at midnight on Christmas Eve. God’s gift to us that first Christmas was a total gift, His all--His only-begotten Son. The love of the Sacred Heart of the Infant Christ as He was held for the first time by His Mother was a heartbeat of love for us. The senior Sodalist should be thoughtfully prepared to consider what gift he will give Christ this Christmas, his first Christmas as a mature young Catholic. What form will his return of love take? There can be only one answer. It must be a total gift of one’s self to the Sacred Heart, a consecration of one’s self to the Heart of Jesus. To put it in more specific terms, this consecration means:

  1. Selecting One’s Vocation according to Desires of the Sacred Heart. Is a Sodalist aware of this? What does it add to his already existing obligations? Why does he want to consecrate himself? How does he do it? What are the rewards (Twelve Promises)? Does he know how to select his vocation according to the desires of the Sacred Heart? Has he made use of the school-wide vocation helps (for example, special tests, counseling, vocation talks, and so forth)? Has he interested others in their use and in the correct way of selecting one’s vocation? Does he intend to get a summer job allied to his chosen vocation so that he will know better whether or not he is fitted for his vocation? Has he talked the matter over with his parents, school advisors, and persons already working in the vocation he has chosen?

  2. Working in One’s Chosen Vocation So As To Gain Souls for Christ’s Kingdom. Is the student Sodalist striving by his companionship, extracurriculars, studies, and after-school work, to bring those around him closer to Christ? Concretely, does he promote going to a Catholic college, daily Mass and Communion, the missions, helping the poor, convert work, better understanding between nationalities and races? The practices of the Apostleship of Prayer? Does he strive to give the best possible example (Rule 33) to Sodalist?

The Year in Review

This plan to have the senior Sodalist consecrate himself as a total gift to the Sacred Heart of Jesus must be a vital and realistic thing. A husband does not give his wife a bouquet of broken and wilted flowers, a box of stale and crushed candy. A boy does not offer his worn-out catcher’s mitt or his moth-eaten golf sweater as a birthday gift to a good friend. The senior Sodalist’s gift of self to the Sacred Heart must not be the gift of a slothful, careless, and indifferent Sodalist. This plan of a consecration to Christ plus the fact that the year is drawing to a close provides an excellent occasion of “examining the books” and seeing where each Sodalist stands. It will provide the Sodalist with an opportunity of knowing what he must work on during the closed Sodality retreat coming up next month.

  1. Daily Spiritual Duties: Where do I fail habitually? What is at the root of this failure, for example, lack of a definite time and place for mental prayer, carelessness about spiritual reading, sloth in making my examination of conscience each night, and so forth?

  2. Apostolate: In what group projects of the Sodality have I engaged during the past year? What have I done in the area of personal apostolate? What efforts---concrete and positive---am I making in my own family, my own circle of friends, and my neighborhood?

  3. Basic Convictions: What fundamental convictions have I come to in the past twelve months regarding my Sodality way of life? In what way is God leading me in prayer?

  4. For the Future: What must I work on especially in the year ahead? What particular examen should I adopt, what sacrifices and penances embrace, what devotions stress, what basic faults overcome, what virtues especially strive to acquire? In my own particular strata of life what areas of the apostolate must be stressed, for example, trying to combat impure language and immoderate drinking?

  5. Sorrow for Failures; Confidence in Christ: I must try to be truly sorry for being such a poor friend to Christ in the past. Yet in my very weakness I am strong. This realization, in all true humility, of my tremendous deficiencies can make me “invincible” if only I trust in our Lord. He who told me: “Without me you can do nothing,” also inspired St. Paul to cry out: “I can do all things in Him who strengthens me!”

Interview Three

The Ideal of Reparation

When we love someone very much, we suffer when that person experiences physical pain or is snubbed or slighted by a third party. Instinctively we want to make up for the injury. By some special gift or thoughtfulness we endeavor to make our friend forget the pain or unkindness. Now no one has suffered more from coldness, indifference, and ingratitude than the Sacred Heart---He who out of His boundless love redeemed each individual soul. Men and women, the young and the old, constantly thwart Christ’s desire to be loved; we His friends desire to make up for our own ingratitude and that of other men. This, in broad outline, is the ideal of reparation to the Sacred Heart. We should strive to have our senior Sodalists consider reparation as a living out of their Sacred Heart and Sodality consecration. Therefore, these points should be stressed:

  1. Sodalist’s Understanding of Reparation. Can Sodalist explain reparation in his own words? How does it fit into devotion to the Sacred Heart? Into the mystical body doctrine? Does he consider reparation an act more suited for women than men? Why? Does he think there is any special need for reparation at this present time? Why? Where? What is his reaction to reparation considered as making up to Christ for past injuries from his own sins and those of others? Reparation considered as rebuilding the injured mystical body, that is, bringing lost souls back to Christ and tepid souls closer to Christ? Which aspect appeals more to him? Does he see any difficulties with practicing reparation? How does it fit into consecration?

  2. Reparation Lived. What does he consider to be the finest act of reparation in his daily life? Spiritual duties? How does he explain the link between reparation and the apostolate--which would seem to be extremely important? How can he practice reparation in his daily family life? School life? Neighborhood and parish life? Has he ever considered the hard work of studies or the grind of daily practice in sports in the light of reparation? How does reparation fit into his life as a Sodalist? Especially with regard to the apostolate of the past five months? How are Mass and reparation connected?

The Spiritual Exercises

There is probably no event more important in a student’s whole high-school life than the closed retreat made in senior year. For the senior Sodalist this is doubly true. The whole spirituality of the Sodality will be found in the Spiritual Exercises; it is here in the silence of a closed retreat that the real foundation for Sodality living is laid by the Divine Giver of gifts. Every effort should be made to enable all the senior Sodalists to make a closed retreat of not less than five full days if this is at all possible. The difficulties that will have to be overcome to accomplish this feat will be more than rewarded by the wonderful fruits of such a retreat. The genuine Spiritual Exercises should be given by an experienced retreat master, one familiar with and zealous for the spread of virile Sodalities. The senior Sodalist should be prepared beforehand, so he can come to the retreat with the following convictions:

  1. Retreat = a Time of Exercising Spiritually: “I must exert myself and really make a genuine effort during this retreat. A closed retreat demands much prayer and thoughtful consideration on my part. I must be active and not merely a passive listener.”

  2. Regulating My Life: “The Spiritual Exercises are primarily to help me conquer any undue attachment to creatures. They are to enable me to put order into my life by serving God perfectly according to my state in life. As a high-school senior, I can count on special helps to determine my vocation in life or to confirm the vocation I have already chosen.”

  3. Solidifying My Sodality Vocation: By the perpetual Act of Consecration that I have made or will soon make, I have adopted the Sodality way of life for my entire life. Here in the Spiritual Exercises I will find the basic roots and foundations upon which my whole Sodality life must be built, for example, personal devotion to Christ my King, the place of Mary in my life, the call to signalize myself in spreading the kingdom, and so forth.”

  4. Need of Preparation: “I must make sure I prepare, by special carefulness at prayer, to be ready to receive the graces that will surely come to me if I correspond to God’s grace during this important time of my life--my senior Sodality retreat.”

  5. Planning the Next Step Forward: “In this retreat I must especially look ahead and plan the next step in my Sodality way of life. For example, will I choose a college where there is a genuine Sodality flourishing already; will I with some of the other senior Sodalist get a real Sodality going in my parish or college?”

Promotion of the Apostleship of Prayer


To deepen the Sodalist’s realization of what it means to be a member of Christ’s mystical body and to show that the Sacred Heart devotion through the membership in the Apostleship of Prayer is the most effective means toward active participation in the mystical body.

It is in the mystical body that God has ordained that men should work as one for the sanctification and salvation of the whole human brotherhood.


Since the Apostleship of Prayer is so important in helping us become active members in the mystical body, preparations for this project should begin during the summer months.

  1. During the latter part of July or the early part of August at an officer’s meeting, the moderator gives a brief talk on the purpose and importance of the Apostleship of Prayer. He should stress the Sacred Heart’s great love for men and the great privilege we, as members of Christ’s mystical body, have in sharing in His redemptive work. The moderator might also remind the officers that a Sodalist who is faithful to his Sodality way of life will automatically fulfill the practices of the Apostleship of Prayer. The point to be made here, of course, is that the Sodality way of life must be lived in union with the Sacred Heart. Note: It might be well to obtain the approval of the school director of the Apostleship of Prayer before undertaking this project.
  1. By the usual method, that is, the question-hint-suggestion, the moderator should try to get his officers to make the following resolutions:

    1. To devote an entire week in an all-out effort to make the entire student body active members of the Apostleship of Prayer. Perhaps the best week for this would be the week immediately preceding the Feast of Christ the King.

    2. Poster and public address announcements should advertise Sacred Heart Week a week in advance.

    3. Six senior Sodalists (good speakers) should be coached by the moderator or another father on the three practices of the Apostleship of Prayer. The six should be divided into pairs, and each pair should be prepared to explain thoroughly one of the three practices.

On Monday

  • Through the principal get permission to have the local Sacred Heart director give a chapel talk to the entire student body on the Apostleship of Prayer. This should be an introductory talk with much stress on motivation, that is, how much our Lord wants us to share in His redemptive work and how we, as future Catholic leaders, owe it to Him to cooperate; the Apostleship of Prayer is an excellent means to combat communism.

  • Perhaps English and speech teachers could be persuaded to assign for homework a composition or speech on “How To Sell the Apostleship of Prayer to a Lukewarm Catholic.” (It would be well if the assignment fell due on the last day of Sacred Heart Week so that the students could make use of all they learn during the course of the week.)

On Tuesday

  • Posters and other publicity should help to explain the first practice, the morning offering.

  • The two senior Sodalists who prepared the talk on the first practice should go to each classroom, explain the morning offering, answer questions, and distribute the Apostleship of Prayer leaflets.

  • A student in each class should be appointed to lead the class each morning at the beginning of first period in the recitation of the morning offering, distribute the Apostleship of Prayer leaflets each months, and change the intention sign each month.

  • Letters composed, addressed, and stamped by Sodalists should be sent out to parents asking them to attend a family Holy Hour on Sunday, the Feast of Christ the King.

On Wednesday

  • Posters and other publicity should help to explain the second practice, the Communion Day of Reparation.

  • The two Sodalists who have prepared their talk on this practice will go through the same procedure as the first pair did on Tuesday. Here motivation should be the keynote, for example, “In spite of our sins, insults, and ingratitude, Christ died for me. We who have been given so much by Christ; we who are to be Catholic leaders, have an obligation (which in reality a privilege) to do all we can to make up for our sins and the sins of others. He begs us to make Communions of Reparation. Will we let Him down?”

  • Friday should be announced as a Communion Day of Reparation at school during the Communion Mass.

  • Announce to the students that Friday during Benediction each student will be given a Communion pledge card. Ask the students to mark down the number of times they will try to get to Communion during the week. “Make every day a Communion Day of Reparation.”

  • A little Holy Hour (one-half hour) after school Thursday should be announced.

On Thursday

  • Publicity, posters, and so forth, should be changed again.

  • Third pair of senior Sodalists talks on third practice, the rosary.

  • Little Holy Hour announced again, also the Communion of Reparation on Friday.

  • During the little Holy Hour a short talk should be given by a father on “How We Can Share in Christ’s Redemptive Work.” The rosary can be led by the Sodalists and followed by a little Benediction.

On Friday

  • Publicity changed.

  • Communion of Reparation in the morning.

  • Benediction for all students with inspiring talk on the “Sacred Heart’s Love for Men” by one of the fathers.

  • The students should be reminded to bring their families to the Holy Hour on Sunday. (There should be brief reminders all week long by way of public address announcements and posters but especially on this the last school day of the week.)

On Sunday

  • A fitting climax to the Sacred Heart Week would seem to be a Holy Hour conducted, if possible, by a priest invited for the purpose because of his enthusiasm for the Sacred Heart and his speaking ability. Perhaps he could suggest in one of his talks how pleasing it would be to the Sacred Heart if those present could suggest to their pastors the idea of having Holy Hours in their individual parishes once a month.


Need: Have the moderator point out in a short talk how important and wonderful it is to be privileged to work with Christ in the work of His redemption of us. Few people have a clear idea of what the Apostleship of Prayer is all about. Perhaps from his own experience in dealing with souls, he can point out a few examples showing how people do not understand the Apostleship. Therefore, this project is needed.

Motivation: Let a Sodalist summarize the motives given by the moderator, and let him urge the other Sodalists to cooperate in putting over this project out of loyalty to Christ. “If we cannot prevent His suffering on Calvary, we can at least help Him by suffering and working with Him to redeem the world.”

Solution: Let the Sodalists put the plan into effect.

     Note. This plan calls for much publicity; posters, public-address announcements, talks, and a lot of prep talks in the ordinary conversations among the students. This should be done the week before the drive and during the week itself.

Follow Up

The results of the Apostleship of Prayer Week can be tabulated by means of the following:

  • By counting the attendance of the Communion Mass during the week and comparing it with normal attendance.

  • By counting the attendance at the little Holy Hour and the Sunday Holy Hour.

  • By checking the attendance at the Communion Mass every two weeks or so to see whether or not the number is still above what it was before the week.

  • By passing out forms, shortly before Christmas, to all the students to find out whether or not they are still fulfilling all the obligations of active members of the Apostleship of Prayer.

Another excellent project that could be used as a follow-up is the consecration of the school to the Sacred Heart.

Consecration of the School to the Sacred Heart


To serve as a follow-up after the Apostleship of Prayer project and to make the students aware of the fact that by consecrating their school hours to the Sacred Heart they can have a real share in Christ’s redemptive work.


At an officers’ meeting the moderator should suggest the idea of consecrating the school to the Sacred Heart. As motivation he could point out the following:

  • Christ requested that all be consecrated to His Sacred Heart--this was made clear in the apparitions to St. Margaret Mary.

  • An active member of Christ’s mystical body will do all he can to bring himself and others closer to Christ’s Sacred Heart--consecration is an excellent way.

Let the officers decide the following plan:

  • Some day within the next month should be decided upon for the consecration. (A First Friday might be a good day for this.)

  • Sacred Heart pictures should be ordered for every class in the school. (As part of this project give references to places where pictures can be purchased.)

  • A suitable Act of Consecration must be chosen. The national office of the Apostleship of Prayer offers a four page folder with a “Consecration of the School.”

  • During the final week before the day of consecration every effort should be made to impress the students that this consecration is the most important event of the school year. This can be done by:

    • Sermons by the local director of the Apostleship

    • Informal talks by the teachers

    • Well-prepared talks by some of the better speakers among the senior Sodalists. (They should be coached by the moderator or some other teacher well versed in devotion to the Sacred Heart.)

    • Posters and public-address announcements.
  • Since in devotion to the Sacred Heart consecration is not complete without reparation, it would be well to hold a volunteer Holy Hour of Reparation after school on the day before the consecration. At the end of the Holy Hour the Sacred Heart pictures could be blessed by the father conducting the Holy Hour.

  • On the day of consecration there should be a Communion of Reparation during the Communion Mass. This, of course, should be publicized several days in advance both by poster and public address announcements.

  • On the day of consecration, at specific time determined beforehand, the class president, each in his own classroom, should lead the Act of Consecration. At the end of the Sacred Heart picture should be hung in a conspicuous spot in the room. Beneath the picture there should be a scroll with the Act of Consecration printed on it and also the name of each student written in his own handwriting.

  • If possible, solemn Benediction should be had for the whole student body later in the day. During the Benediction the celebrant could read the consecration.


Need: Let an officer explain to the Sodalists how weak human nature has to be reminded of its obligations. The consecration of the school to the Sacred Heart with the enthroning of the Sacred Heart in each classroom as their King and Lord by means of His picture is an excellent way of renewing their promise to be active members of Christ’s mystical body. The Sacred Heart picture looking down at them during the day will be a frequent reminder.

Motivation: Same as above.

Solution: Let them put the plan above into effect.

Follow Up

  • A repetition of the consecration every First Friday, using perhaps a shorter formula.

  • Each year having a formal re-consecration with solemn Benediction and the replacement of the old scroll with another and the names of new students inscribed on it.

  • A project to consecrate to the Sacred Heart the homes and families of all the students.

Consecration of the Family to the Sacred Heart


To extend as far as possible beyond the limits of the school the scope of the Sodalists’ apostolic zeal for spreading devotion to the Sacred Heart.


At an officers’ meeting the moderator should suggest the idea of consecrating families to the Sacred Heart.

The officers should decide upon a plan such as the following:

Have the students determine ways and means of impressing upon their own parents and later upon the parents of other students the need of the “Consecration of the Family to the Sacred Heart”:

  • By passing on to their parents Sacred Heart literature that can be obtained from the national office of the Apostleship of Prayer.

  • By requesting the priest who gives the “Family Holy Hour” to preach on the importance of the “Consecration of the Family to the Sacred Heart.”

  • Let a student, well briefed and prepared beforehand by the moderator, talk to the PTA meeting (or to the Fathers’ and Mothers’ clubs) on “Consecration of the Family to the Sacred Heart.”

  • Let the students tactfully suggest to their pastors that in the First Friday devotions they urge their parishioners to consecrate their families to the Sacred Heart.

  • Let the students contact the chaplains or moderators of the First Friday Club, Knights of Columbus, and the Holy Name Society, and ask them to do what they can to promote the “Consecration of the Family to the Sacred Heart.” If possible, perhaps a student could speak to these groups.

  • Have a student speak to the classes over the public address system, urging the students to talk up the family consecration at home and to explain very carefully how the consecration is done, that is, by having the head of the family lead the consecration of the Sacred Heart with the family, by placing a picture of the Sacred Heart in a conspicuous place in the home, and by writing a scroll beneath the picture the name of each member of the family.


Need: In these days of divorce, broken homes, and juvenile delinquency Christ is needed in the home more than ever. A family that shows its devotion and love for Christ’s Sacred Heart by the family consecration is bound to be cared for by that same loving Sacred Heart.

Motivation: Christ requested that all be consecrated to His Sacred Heart—this was made clear in the apparitions to St. Margaret Mary. An active member of Christ’s mystical body will do all he can to bring himself and others to Christ’s Sacred Heart—consecration is an excellent way.


1. Ask each student to fill out a questionnaire stating:

  • If his family has been consecrated to the Sacred Heart.

  • Whether this consecration took place before or after the school began working on this project.

  • If the family is consecrated to the Sacred Heart, is anything done to remind the family throughout the year of its solemn consecration to the Sacred Heart, such as daily family prayers or rosary before the picture of the Sacred Heart?

2. Let the results of this questionnaire be tabulated and read to the entire student body over the public-address system.

Promoting the Sacred Heart Radio and Television Programs


To make the students realize that every available means can and should be employed to further the extension of Christ’s mystical body---the Sacred Heart radio and television programs can do much to make Christ better known and loved.


It is the moderator’s task to convince the officers of the tremendous potentialities of the Sacred Heart radio and television programs. This can be done by quoting statistics dealing with the number of listeners and viewers the programs reach each day and by showing the effect the programs have on them, for example, through the letters received by the Sacred Heart Program in St. Louis. These statistics and a few sample letters can be obtained from the Sacred Heart Program, 3900 Westminster Place, St. Louis 8, Missouri.

If the Sodalists have been motivated properly, they should come upon a plan such as the following:

  • The staff of the Sacred Heart Program in St. Louis should be contacted. Requests should be made of them for all available literature on the Sacred Heart radio and television programs and for suggestions on the promotion of these programs.

  • Let a week be set aside for an all-out drive to promote interest in the Sacred Heart programs.

    • Let there be colorful posters explaining briefly what the Sacred Heart radio and television programs are and pointing out the great influence the programs could have if properly promoted.

    • Let public address announcements be made urging the students to get their families to watch and listen to the programs and to write letters of gratitude to the stations for carrying them.

    • If possible invite a member of the Sacred Heart Program staff to speak to the students.

    • Send for one or two recordings and films of the Sacred Heart Program to demonstrate to the students what they are like.

    • Through a questionnaire, find out how many of the students had ever listened to or seen the Sacred Heart programs before this project was inaugurated.

    • At one of their meetings the Mothers and Fathers’ clubs could be made aware of the programs through a talk by a student.

    • A letter, composed and mimeographed by the students themselves, could be sent out to the parents. This letter, explaining the purpose and significance of the program, would urge the parents to watch and listen in and do all they can to promote the programs among their friends.


  1. Need: Christ’s loving Sacred Heart is still unknown to many people. Could a student be true to his apostolic graces unless he did as much as he could to make Him better known and loved?

  2. Motivation: Same as above.

  3. Solution: Put plan above into effect.

Follow up

  1. Through questionnaire find out how many students’ families now watch or listen to the Sacred Heart radio or television programs as a direct result of the student project.

  2. Ask the Sacred Heart Program staff to send a periodic report on the growth of the Sacred Heart radio and television programs, which report can be posted for the entire student body to read.

  3. Two or three months after this project find out again, through a questionnaire, how many families are faithful to the programs. If the number has fallen off, find out why. Then send results of this questionnaire to the Sacred Heart Program staff.

Copyright © 1999 Inter Mirifica

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