“It was an instant call,” Anne-Marie d’Abadie said about becoming a local coordinator of the Sacred Heart Enthronement Apostolate at Divine Mercy Parish in Kenner.
d’Abadie and her husband, Ray Barrilleaux, were attending an Enthronement to the Sacred Heart (of Jesus) Mission at Divine Mercy in March 2011, and she identified with what national Sacred Heart Apostolate president Gloria Anson was saying about being involved in a parish but seeking more.
“I knew that night that Ray and I would respond and become promoters of the Sacred Heart in the parish,” she said.
She approached Father David Dufour, Divine Mercy pastor, about coordinating the ministry, knowing he had established the ministry at his former parish, Our Lady of Divine Providence in Metairie.
d’Abadie then researched the Sacred Heart of Jesus devotion and learned it was not new, but was powerful in bringing families closer to Jesus. It wasn’t a well-known Catholic devotion until 1673 when Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary just as France was beginning to secularize. He asked her to be an apostle to the Sacred Heart and offered 12 promises – including necessary graces in life, peace in families, consolation in troubles, abundant blessings in homes where he is honored, and mercy for sinners.
In the 20th century, Sacred Heart Father Mateo Crawley-Boevey of Chile furthered the cause worldwide for 60 years as the founder of the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart. Anson has taken the helm in the United States, d’Abadie said.
What is enthronement?
d’Abadie said that through the apostolate, families invite Jesus into their homes by way of an enthronement ceremony, where a blessed picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is placed in a prominent place. The home becomes the “domestic” church, an extension of the parish church.
“You are inviting the Lord to be king and friend of your home, your heart and your life,” d’Abadie said. “You are making a covenant with Jesus.”
In preparation for the ceremony, families complete a nine-day novena that teaches them about Jesus’ life in Bethlehem, Nazareth and Bethany, d’Abadie said.
Once the Sacred Heart is enthroned in a home, families pray regularly – morning and evening prayers are encouraged – that Jesus becomes “one of the family, sharing their sorrows and joys,” attend Mass weekly and on holy days of obligation, just as they normally would.
Since her enthronement, d’Abadie said her life has become more focused on God. Jesus’ Sacred Heart image in her home is a daily reminder of his becoming man, dying for sins and having endless mercy and love that he asks us to imitate and love others.
“It’s the first thing we see when that light (over the fireplace) goes on in the morning, and the last thing before we go to bed,” Ray Barrilleaux said. “We are so blessed in everything we do.”
Since the ministry began at Divine Mercy last year, 65 homes have been enthroned. d’Abadie said the light of God will shine wherever Christians are praying.
“We believe that Jesus will work in hearts if you bring him in,” d’Abadie said “Evil cannot live alongside God. That’s why you see healing and miracles take place.”
Other parishes joining in
d’Abadie has helped form an inter-parish group of promoters from Our Lady of Divine Providence, Divine Mercy, Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Kenner and St. Rita in Harahan that meets quarterly to strengthen their commitment to the ministry.
Notre Dame Seminary was enthroned a year ago and recently renewed its consecration to the Sacred Heart at a daily Mass with seminarians and others. The picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was placed prominently in front of the altar, and Mass celebrant Father Joe Krafft spoke how the devotion to the Sacred Heart offers an important message for priests to incorporate into their ministry – the mercy of God’s love.
Seminarians have a Sacred Heart image in their rooms as a reminder “that they are formed in the Sacred Heart,” said seminarian Jerry Daigle Jr., who is studying to be a priest for the Diocese of Shreveport. He’s hoping that their hearts will be transformed into the likeness of Jesus so, as future priests, they can be “Christ to others.”
Divine Mercy Parish plans a special celebration of the Sacred Heart home enthronement program June 15 on the feast of the Sacred Heart at Nativity of Our Lord Church, 3325 Loyola Ave., Kenner. A contemporary eucharistic adoration will be at 6 p.m., followed by Mass at 7 p.m. Call 443-2204.
d’Abadie sees this devotion as a way to bring families closer to Jesus at a time when secular society seeks to destroy families. “This how we are going to change society,” she said. “It’s one family at a time, one home at a time. Jesus started with 12.”
“We are looking for this to spread,” d’Abadie said. “My vision from the beginning is that it can encompass the whole archdiocese and state of Louisiana.”
Christine Bordelon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.