Friday, May 7, 2010

Archbishop Vigneron on First Friday Devotions

Te Deum archive photo:
Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament on August 15, 2009
- Assumption 2009 collection -

It's First Friday and that means there will be Exposition in the parish church all day today.  Please take some time out today and get to an adoration chapel or a church to sit before the Blessed Sacrament.  If you can't do that, set some time aside today for prayer at home.  Back in February of this year, Archbishop Vigneron made it know he wants to renew the practice of First Friday devotions in the Archdiocese of Detroit. 
First Friday devotions developed out of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In the 17th century, Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, promising to those people who practiced the First Fridays Devotions that “they will not die in my displeasure,” among other promises, as approved by the Church. A person honoring the devotion goes to Mass each first Friday for nine months and receives Communion.

And, here is Archbishop Vigneron speaking about the subject:

"I have in mind that we should consider working together for a renewal of our practice of devoting the First Fridays especially to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, with a particular emphasis on joining together – priests and people – to ask the Lord to give our archdiocese priests 'after his own heart,'" the archbishop said in a Feb. 12 letter to priests, in which he cited language from Jeremiah 3:15.

"I see this approach as a particularly effective way to pray for holy priests: for those of us already ordained; and for those whom God is calling to join us, both the men in our seminary and the men who are being invited to enter formation," he continued.

The archbishop said he would be consulting with the Presbyteral Council about how to advance the idea.

Archbishop Vigneron made known his intention regarding the First Friday devotions in addition to announcing his plan for an afternoon of recollection for all priests on the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus on June 11.

The Friday afternoon event will include "a Eucharistic Holy Hour, during which we can renew the consecration of our priesthood – our lives and our ministry – to Christ, our High Priest, according to whose Priestly Heart the Holy Spirit shapes our hearts," he said in his letter.

"I look forward to this opportunity for shared prayer and a time for fraternity," the archbishop added regarding what he said would become an annual event.

Archbishop Vigneron shared his thinking that led up to the proposals, reminiscing about his days at Sacred Heart Seminary High School in Detroit, and how the priests who taught their strove to instill concepts of priestly life and ministry into himself and his fellow students.

"In the years since First High, I have found myself returning again and again – sometimes more quickly and sometimes less; sometimes more deeply and sometimes not as profoundly as I would like – but, nonetheless, returning again and again to the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus as the model for my heart, for me to be the priest I have for all these years aspired to be," he said.

"In looking back on my life, I see that this high ideal of priestliness which the priests at the seminary high school taught us was inextricably bound up with saying, at the end of night prayer every evening, the aspiration: 'Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, model of the priestly heart, have mercy on us,'" the archbishop continued.

While acknowledging there were aspects of life at the high school seminary of which he none too fond, he said he loved the prayer life there. "I was introduced into new ways of communicating with God that were rich and bright with grace. It was like discovering new territory, just the sort of thing a high-schooler wants. This aspiration was part of that 'new territory.'

"I entered the seminary knowing about the Sacred Heart; I knew about making the First Fridays; but I learned there about the Priestly Heart of Jesus, about that being a Eucharistic Heart, and about His Heart being the model for my heart. And the blessing was that the seminary taught me this at the time when my heart was growing from being a child's heart into being the heart of a man," Archbishop Vigneron added.

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