Pope Benedict XVI inaugurated the Year for Priests on the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, a day traditionally devoted to prayer for the sanctification of the clergy. In the first paragraph of his Proclamation Letter, the Holy Father quoted the saintly Curé d’Ars, the patron saint of parish clergy, who would often say, ‘The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus.’
The two art works of the sacred heart of Jesus portrayed in this issue of The Sower are both found at Maryvale Institute in Birmingham, England, where the first public shrine to the Sacred Heart in the United Kingdom was established in 1814 with an indult from Pope Pius VII. Bishop Milner, the vicar apostolic who lived at Maryvale at the time, made the request for this shrine in order to help rekindle a true following of Christ in his humanity as well as his divinity and assist in developing a renewed awareness of Christ’s great love for sinners. Bishop Milner regularly gathered his seminarians and newly-ordained priests at the chapel to lead them himself in prayers for peace, for the Pope’s intentions, and for prayers against heresy. Both Bishop Milner and the Curé d’Ars well understood that only by revealing such a loving heart could priests make God’s presence known to their own congregations.