“I have a special thought for young people, old people and newlyweds,” said the pope in Italian at the end of the General Audience on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Saint Peter’s Square.
Then he added: “In the month of June, popular piety makes us pray with more fervor to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. May this merciful Heart teach you to love without asking for anything in return and to support you in the most difficult life choices.”
The Pope recommended the prayer to the Heart of Christ especially for his ministry and for all priests: “Pray for him also for me and for my ministry, but also for all the priests to strengthen their fidelity to the Lord’s call.”
Pope Francis invited to pray the Heart of Christ for priests at the beginning of the month, June 6, saying: “Friday, it will be the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I invite you, throughout the month of June, to pray to the Heart of Jesus and to support your priests by your closeness and your affection, so that they are the image of this Heart full of merciful love.”
Speaking to the young, sick, and newlyweds, the Pope added, “Draw the food and spiritual drink of your life from the heart of Jesus so that, nourished by Christ, you may be new, profoundly transformed people by this Divine Love.”
For Pope Francis, the Jesuit Pope, “the heart of Christ is the center of mercy.” The Holy Father reminded priests on the occasion of their Jubilee of Mercy on June 2, 2016, at Santa Maria Maggiore. He advised them to read Pius XII’s encyclical Haurietis Aquas on the Heart of Christ. The encyclical of Pius XII was published on May 15, 1956.
On June 11, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI concluded the Year of the Priest on the Feast of the Sacred Heart and proclaimed St. John Vianney as the patron saint of all priests (and not only priests).