Saints and Feasts of the Month
A selection of lives of the saints and feast days for July 2020.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus
Statues or pictures of the Sacred Heart of Jesus are found in many homes and churches. It is an image that shows God’s boundless and passionate love for us. The feast of the Sacred Heart is kept on the Friday 19 days after Pentecost, but devotion to the Sacred Heart is something which can sustain us spiritually throughout the year.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart became popular in England in medieval times, as the faithful meditated on the wounds of Jesus brought about by His Passion and on the Heart of Jesus pierced by a lance. The writings of Julian of Norwich talk about Jesus showing her His side during her visions of Him, and Jesus talking of His love for us with the words “See how I love you”.
The devotion to the Sacred Heart in its more modern form was spread by St Margaret Mary Alacoque, who lived in the second half of the 17th century. She was a French nun in the town of Paray-le-Monial and had visions of Jesus, where Our Lord revealed to her His Sacred Heart. During these visions, He told her of His love for us and His desire for us to be devoted to His Sacred Heart.
The symbolism of the Sacred Heart shows a heart that is often surrounded by light, depicting the divine light which shines from the Heart of Jesus. There is a wound in the heart where the lance was thrust into the side of Jesus on the Cross. The Heart is surrounded by the crown of thorns, showing how His Heart is wounded by our sins, and is surmounted by a cross and flames of fire, symbolising the transformative power of God’s love for us.
In this booklet you will find a selection of prayers to use in your devotions to the Sacred Heart throughout the year. Perhaps you might wish to light a candle before a shrine to the Sacred Heart, either at home or in church, as you pray. Or perhaps you can refer to this booklet when you feel the need to be closer to God’s love after a difficult encounter of some sort. However you use this booklet, our prayer is that we may all grow closer to the Sacred Heart in our day-to-day lives and find an outpouring of God’s love in that way.
Saints and Feasts of the Month
A selection of lives of the saints and feast days for June 2020
Pentecost with The Bishop of Fulham
Novena: Thy Kingdom Come
The Ascension of the Lord marks a new moment in the life of the community of Christ’s followers. Jesus returns to the Father in order to send upon them the gift of the Holy Spirit, and so from earliest days, Christians have used the days following Ascension Day to wait in prayer for the renewing, reviving gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. This time of expectant waiting echoes the experience of the Apostles who gathered with the Blessed Virgin Mary in prayer before the Spirit came upon them.
This period of prayer is often referred to as a ‘novena’, which is an ancient practice of the Church to spend a series of consecutive days or weeks in prayer for a particular theme or intention. In praying this novena, we are uniting ourselves with the ancient tradition of the Church.
In the past few years this period has been given a particular focus through the ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ initiative; a global ecumenical movement that invites us to pray for strength in conviction as we live out our faith in our daily lives and as we strive to draw others into a lively relationship with God in Christ in the fellowship of his Church.
The circumstances of Covid-19 mean that we are unable to gather in our churches this year, but we provide these resources to encourage you to pray and act as part of ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ in your homes, asking ever more earnestly in these times for the Holy Spirit to come to renew the face of the earth.
In this booklet you will find a devotion for each day of the novena, based on the Prayer Intentions that have been identified by the organisers of ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ and which are shaping people’s prayers globally.
Church Union Resources
Here is a link to resources provided by the Church Union, one of the catholic societies of the C of E: https://www.churchunion.co.uk/coronavirusresources
The Rosary is a devotion that has shown its worth for eight centuries. This leaflet will help you start using it. You can buy a set of rosary beads from Amazon; there is a price to suit almost anyone. You can also use your fingers to count the Hail Marys. Once you’re used to it, you get caught up in the meditation and the prayers form a kind of backdrop — hence the beads or fingers to keep you on track with the minimum of distraction. You can buy books of rosary devotion or download helpful materials. There are versions for children, too and even rosary apps for tablets and smartphones.
Praying with Mary
Message from Rt Rev. Philip North amidst the coronavirus outbreak
Church of England Nationwide Guidance
Please follow these hyperlinks for further details nationwide:
There is a new phone resource called Daily Hope. When you phone it, you hear a message from the Archbishop, and can then opt to:
- listen to a well-known hymn and a talk about it (option 1);
- listen to hymns on a loop (option 2);
- Listen to prayers being read (option 3).
This could be helpful for people isolated at home and is completely free of charge.