First Friday at Belmont Abbey College: Being fed at Sacred Heart devotions
Pictured: "That's a really big holy card!" exclaimed 7-year-old Patrick Gallagher when he saw the four-foot image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus displayed prominently at the First Friday devotion now being held at Belmont Abbey College. All are welcome to attend the devotion, which includes Mass at the Abbey Basilica and supper. (Mary B. Worthington, Catholic News Herald)
BELMONT — "Whatever our vocation or task within the Church, and whatever our personal preferences are for practicing specific devotions, devotion to the Sacred Heart encompasses them all, since the love of His Heart is at the center of them all."
With this motivation, Mary Thierfelder has organized devotion to the Sacred Heart at Belmont Abbey College, where her husband Bill is the president.
First Friday devotions held during the academic year at Belmont Abbey College are about more than just the novena of Masses. They are also a chance to gather for dinner and fellowship.
At these "short and sweet" gatherings, families can "come without preparing a covered dish. We also encourage families of young children to leave when they must without being concerned about helping with clean up," Thierfelder explained. Donations are accepted to cover food costs, and volunteers help to prepare and transport the meal.
After a successful novena last academic year attended primarily by professors' families, Thierfelder received the blessing of Bishop Peter Jugis to open up the event to the whole diocese. Since then, families have traveled from as far as St. Matthew Church in Charlotte, she said. Each of the first two First Fridays so far this year had more than 150 participants.
Concurrent with the First Friday at the Abbey, Thierfelder organizes First Saturday Mass and fellowship at St. Michael Church in Gastonia.
"The particular goal of this devotion is to console the Heart of Jesus by our attentiveness and affection for Him in the Blessed Sacrament, responding specifically to His request – in a private revelation to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in the 17th century – to receive Him in Holy Communions of reparation on nine consecutive First Fridays of the month," Thierfelder explained.
"I don't know how many times I've been to Mass on a First Friday without realizing the intention we can have for reparation," said participant Michelle Rahilly, a member of St. Patrick Cathedral in Charlotte. "We have the most beautiful and rich faith, and all we have to do is listen and have loving obedience."
— Mary B. Worthington, correspondent
FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. John Eckert at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy