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State Chaplain 2019 - 2020

Picture of Rev Kenney St. Hilaire

Rev Kenneth St. Hilaire
June 2019

Happy Easter! Yes, we still have a week of Easter left. Let’s not allow the wonder and joy of the Resurrection to fade from our minds and hearts.

Truly, the month of June is a time of much celebration in the Church. The Ascension of the Lord and Pentecost round out the Easter season, but Trinity Sunday and the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) keep the momentum of Easter going, in a sense.

At the end of June (Friday after Corpus Christi) comes the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. For many years--centuries, really--devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was strong in the Church. Did you know that the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) was one of the most ardent promoters of this devotion among the laity? They must have done a great job, because there’s a lot of evidence today that the Sacred Heart of Jesus was on the mind of many, many Catholics over the years.

For example, in my own diocese of Spokane, there are ten parishes (out of about 80) named for the Sacred Heart! Most of these were erected in the first half of the twentieth century.

I also think of my Dad, born in 1932, who loved the Sacred Heart of Jesus from his childhood and had an image of the Sacred Heart in just about every room of the house and in every vehicle he owned.

Now, I can’t say with absolute certainty that the popular devotion to the Sacred Heart decreased after Vatican II, but as one who grew up in the ‘80s and ‘90s and went to Catholic school through the eighth grade, I can testify that devotion to the Sacred Heart was given no emphasis (other than at home, from my Dad!).

However, I have definitely witnessed explosive growth in popular devotion to the Divine Mercy over the last couple of decades. Is the Divine Mercy devotion something new? If you think about it, this devotion is really the tried-and-true Sacred Heart devotion making a reappearance on the scene. Only this time, instead of choosing a French Visitation nun (St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, 1647-1690), the Lord chose a Polish Sister of Our Lady of Mercy (St. Faustina Kowalska, 1905-1938) to be the vehicle through which the Church might become more aware of the unfathomable mercy and love of God.

At the heart of the message is God’s love for every person He ever creates. In a world so radically starved for love--authentic love--the Sacred Heart of Jesus (aka the Divine Mercy) reveals the unconditional love and acceptance in the heart of God for us all, no matter what we’ve done and no matter how weak may be our love for Him. To know this love and to be grounded in it is the foundation for Christian life.

As the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus approaches, I encourage you, brother Knights, to plunge into the ocean of God’s mercy and love. Picture Jesus on the Cross, His pierced side opened so that we might enter in and dwell there! When we humbly come to Him, He welcomes us into intimate communion. It’s a place of great consolation and peace, safety and confidence, contentment and joy. May we remain there always.

Vivat Jesus!

 Fr. Kenneth St. Hilaire

State Chaplain