Jesus enthroned as ‘King, Friend’ of archdiocese
by Jean M. Schildz, Review Staff Writer
The Archdiocese of St. Louis lies securely cradled in the heart of Jesus with the June 17 consecration of the local Church to his Most Sacred Heart.
Archbishop Raymond L. Burke led the enthronement, blessing and dedication of the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at the end of 5 p.m. Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.
The historic event included the unveiling of the cathedral basilica’s newest addition, the Shrine to the Most Sacred Heart.
The striking mosaic and marble free-standing shrine seemed aglow in the warm, golden rays of early evening sunshine streaming through the stained glass in the west transept.
A procession of priests, deacons and seminarians more than 50 strong came down from the main altar to form a crescent around the shrine. Men and women religious and a large crowd of faithful gathered around them.
Among those in attendance were several religious orders, including members of the Benedictines, Carmelite Religious of Trivandrum, India, Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus, Daughters of St. Paul, Franciscan Sisters of the Martyr St. George, Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, Missionaries of Charity, Oblates of Wisdom and the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart.
Archbishop Burke, arrayed in a vestment of gold brocade adorned with fleurs-de-lis, stood at the center before the shrine leading the prayer. Smoke from burning incense enveloped the sacred space. It slowly drifted up to the mosaic of the Pentecost high above the scene below.
“I now enthrone Jesus as King and Friend of the Archdiocese of St. Louis,” declared the archbishop at the blessing of the shrine’s image. With these words, the enthronement of the Sacred Heart in the cathedral basilica and the archdiocese was realized.
The act of consecration followed. Reciting parts of the prayer were several individuals. They represented families, priests and deacons, religious men and women and consecrated persons, the lay faithful and young people.
A personal act of consecration to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus was made by all present in one resounding voice. The prayer recited was written and used by St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. Christ appeared to her, confiding to her the mission to establish the devotion to the Most Sacred Heart.
The archbishop then entrusted the consecration of the Sacred Heart to the Immaculate Heart of Mary while a candle encased in blue glass was placed before an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe next to the shrine.
Archbishop Burke afterward thanked all who were involved with the memorable occasion. Among those he recognized were Duncan G. Stroik, the shrine’s designer, and Chad Meyer of Stone Renaissance.
Meyer, a member of Immacolata Parish, had installed the shrine and restored the original marble floor around it.
At the dedication’s end, Archbishop Burke asked the crowd, “Please continue to pray with me that the blessing of the Shrine to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the act of consecration of the Archdiocese of St. Louis to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus will bear abundant fruits in the daily lives of us all, the fruits of renewed faith, hope and love.”
The archbishop earlier in his homily on the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart (see page 4) said that the dedication of the archdiocese to the Sacred Heart would “be a lasting reminder of God’s unceasing love of us.” He added that the act of consecration would serve as the faithful’s response “to God’s immeasurable love with the pledge to love Him, in return, with all our being.”
He noted that loving Christ, expressed in the devotion to the Sacred Heart, “is not some static state or feeling.”
Rather, it is a relationship with Jesus in which the faithful take up Christ’s mission given by God so that all may be saved and the world may be prepared to welcome Jesus on the Last Day. By placing our hearts into Jesus’s heart, the faithful are “necessarily engaged” in Christ’s mission to serve others, especially those most in need.
He called on all to enthrone the image of the Sacred Heart in homes and places of work and other activities.
Archbishop Burke asked those who already have done so to renew the enthronement so Christ may “reign in every aspect” of their lives and “his kingdom of mercy and love be extended throughout” the world.
The archbishop added that the enthronement and act of consecration will lead the faithful to sources of new enthusiasm and energy needed for the New Evangelization, “for the teaching and living of our Catholic faith, which transforms our lives and our world.”