Catholics turn again to Sacred Heart of Jesus


COLUMBUS — Couples who’ve seen their marriages repaired.

A woman whose cancer went into remission.

A son who acknowledged his drug use and sought treatment.

Jo Ann Wilson said she has seen countless miracles through her work helping people dedicate their homes to the Sacred Heart of Christ.

“This is not magic. This is faith,” Wilson said. “When you come with your hands open seeking bread, you’re not gonna get a snake. The Lord always comes with blessings.”

As part of the Sacred Heart Columbus ministry, Wilson and her husband, Chuck, are spending their retirement helping Roman Catholics in the Diocese of Columbus enthrone the Sacred Heart of Jesus in their homes. The devotion involves praying for nine days and placing a Sacred Heart image somewhere in the house.

The image depicts Jesus with his heart exposed, with the heart wrapped in a crown of thorns, surrounded by flames and topped by a cross.

There is a renewed sense of fervor and devotion around the process after Pope Francis asked families to prepare for his September visit to the U.S., in part by bringing the Sacred Heart into family life, said the Rev. Stash Dailey, who oversees Sacred Heart Columbus.

Bishop Frederick Campbell celebrated the pope’s call on a diocesan-wide scale with a Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral on Friday to reconsecrate the Diocese of Columbus to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The service renewed a consecration from the 1800s.

“The bishop is just bringing the Lord’s Sacred Heart back to the focus of all that is done in the name of Jesus Christ here in the diocese,” Dailey said.

Dailey, pastor of Holy Family Church in Franklinton, said the devotion was once universal, with the image found in Catholic homes of every ethnicity and in every nation.

“The devotion as a whole started to somewhat wane in the late ’60s and ’70s and through the ‘80s, but over the last 10 to 15 years it’s really started to reclaim its pride of place in Christian homes and households,” Dailey said.

Since 2009, Dailey has assisted in taking the Sacred Heart into more than 600 homes in the diocese. He said families can consecrate their homes to the Sacred Heart with a prayer, or they can go a step further, with the days-long process of enthronement.

“The Christian home and all of the struggles it faces, and those struggles are many and varied, many times they don’t have a point of orientation to remind themselves that the Lord is there, the Lord loves. If we’re blind to his presence and his love, then ultimately what are we able to give to others?”

Wilson said the enthronements allow people to carve out a place for Jesus, telling him, “Lord, you are the head of this home.”

“We’ve found today in many homes you don’t really have many Christian symbols,” Mrs. Wilson said. “That is changing, I think.

“There’s so much pain out there. … A lot of it is from our choice, and on the other hand, our Lord comes to heal and bind up and to forgive, and that’s the message. It’s very simple.”

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