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World Congress to Renew Sacred Heart Devotion

Interview With Organizer, Father William Petrie

By Genevieve Pollock

PARAY-LE-MONIAL, France, FEB. 24, 2011 ( A first-time world congress is inviting people to the birthplace of Sacred Heart devotion to reflect on God’s love and promote a civilization of love in their families and societies.

ZENIT interviewed Father William Petrie, provincial superior of the U.S. East Province of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, one of the congress organizers and speakers, about this event.

The Oct. 6-11 congress in Paray-le-Monial will feature speakers such as Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Apostolic Signature; Cardinal Justin Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia; Jesuit Father Mitch Pacwa, EWTN host and author; Timothy O’Donnell, president of Christendom College; and Danny Abramowitz, former NFL player.

The congress aims to renew the sense of hope worldwide in the knowledge of God’s unconditional love for humanity, through the promotion of personal relationships with Jesus, Christ-centered families, and a worldwide mission to bring this message to all people.

Travel packages — including options of visiting Paris, Lourdes, Lyon, Ars and Cluny — are already being offered online to facilitate the participation of many people in this event.

Father Petrie explained more about the importance of devotion to the Sacred Heart at this moment in history.

ZENIT: What is the purpose of this World Congress on the Sacred Heart?

Father Petrie: Father Mateo Crawley-Boevey was miraculously cured of his illness at the Chapel of Apparitions in Paray-le-Monial, France. At that time an inspiration was received to promote the enthronement of the Sacred Heart in the home throughout the world. In 1907, St. Pius X commanded Father Mateo to promote the enthronement throughout the world. 

Having celebrated the centenary of the beginning of the enthronement movement, in 2007 a plan was developed to continue Father Mateo’s mission by reaching out to the five continents of the world over the next ten years, renewing the enthronement movement. The first world congress is being held in Paray-le-Monial, where the inspiration was first received and where training will be given to promoters who would be available to share this information in their dioceses and parishes.

ZENIT: What message of the Sacred Heart of Jesus do you hope to emphasize at this world congress?

Father Petrie: “God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son.”

The image of Jesus with the exposed Sacred Heart conveys the unconditional love and mercy of God. Enthroning the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the home becomes an official commitment to have Christ as the head of

the home.

ZENIT: Why do you think the emphasis on the Sacred Heart and God’s love for humanity is so important at this time?

Father Petrie: The history of the world has always been one of division, war, and loss of life because of hatred. The Sacred Heart of Jesus is an ongoing reminder of living by the great law of love of God and love of neighbor. This personal relationship begins in the home. It is the “domestic Church.” 

It is within the family that we can grow in the love of God and neighbor. Many who have had the enthronement in their homes speak about the transforming graces received upon the family that brings positive changes and conversion back to the Church.

ZENIT: The congress activities include “training on creating a civilization of love.” What does this entail?

Father Petrie: In preparation for enthroning the Sacred Heart, there is a catechesis that gives the rationale for having the enthronement in the home. It helps in creating a Christocentric spirituality of living by God’s love based on the Eucharist, prayer, and a spirit of reparation. It is simply creating a civilization of love, one family at a time.

ZENIT: What are you hoping for as a result of this congress?

Father Petrie: Those attending the congress will hear speakers who will deepen our understanding of God’s love. The congress creates an atmosphere for motivating future promoters who will be involved in enthroning the Sacred Heart in the home.

For the participants, it can be an opportunity for being messengers of God’s love as symbolized in the Pierced Heart of Jesus

and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This first global congress of the Sacred Heart is a preparation for implementing the mission of going to all continents with the message of God’s love in the home.

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