Saturday after second Sunday after Pentecost: Immaculate Heart of Mary

Catholic devotion to the Heart of Mary, symbolic of God's love made visible through her, goes back to St. Bernardine of Siena (1380-1444) and earlier. St. Bernardine's writings on the subject became part of the texts used in the festal liturgy established centuries later: "from her heart, as from a furnace of Divine Love, the Blessed Virgin spoke the words of the most ardent love." But the devotion's great proponent was St. John Eudes of France, who began celebrating a Feast of the Heart of Mary with his followers as early as 1643. Pope Pius VII (d. 1823) allowed other groups do so on request, but the feast was not extended to the whole Roman Catholic Church until World War II.  In 1927, the surviving Fatima visionary received a new message to make known some of the Virgin's requests kept "secret" since the apparitions of 1917. Gradually, in the 1930s and 1940s, the Fatima prophecy that Russia "will scatter her errors throughout the world" but "in the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph, the Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, Russia will be converted, and ... peace will be granted" began to spread in Europe. In 1942, the 25th anniversary of the 1917 apparitions in Portugal, Pope Pius XII consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and assigned the feast day to August 22, extending it to the Universal Church on May 4, 1944. After Vatican II (1969), the Feast of the Queenship of Mary moved to August 22 and that of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to the day following the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. 

O God, who prepared a fit dwelling place for the Holy Spirit
in the Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
graciously grant that through her intercession
we may be a worthy temple of your glory.

— collect prayer said near the beginning of the mass for this day
("Readings for the Feast of The Immaculate Heart of Mary," The Liturgy Archive, www.liturgies.net/saints/mary/immaculateheart/eucharist.htm)


19th-century popular image in an heirloom book, from en.wikipedia.org

 

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly