Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

There is evidence of devotion to Jesus’ heart as early as the 7th century, but through the 16th century it remained nonofficial and often tied to the Five Wounds of Jesus. The Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was first celebrated on August 31, 1670, in Rennes, France, through the efforts of Fr. Jean Eudes (1602-1680). From Rennes, celebration of the feast spread, but it took the visions of St. Marguerite Marie Alacoque (1647-1690) for it to become universal. Devotion to the Sacred Heart became increasingly popular after St. Marguerite Marie’s death, but, because the Church initially doubted the validity of her visions, it wasn’t until 1765 that the feast was celebrated officially in France. Almost 100 years later, in 1856, Pope Pius IX, at the urging of French bishops, extended the feast to the entire Church.

Like many Christian feasts, the date each year of the Feast of the Sacred Heart is moveable and is finally determined by on what date Easter Sunday falls.

According to St. Marguerite Marie, in her great apparition of June 16, 1675, Jesus requested that the Feast of the Sacred Heart be celebrated on the Friday after the octave (or eighth day) of the Feast of Corpus Christi.

The Feast of Corpus Christi is celebrated on the Thursday following Trinity Sunday.

Trinity Sunday is celebrated a week after Pentecost Sunday.

Pentecost Sunday is celebrated fifty days from Easter Sunday.

Technically Easter is to be observed on the first Sunday after the Paschal full moon, which is not an astronomical event but the 14th day of a Metonic lunar month, part of a complicated calculation devised by the Greek astronomer Meton of Athens (5th century B.C.) to correlate the solar year with the lunar months.

By convention, however, Easter is the first Sunday after the first astronomical full moon on or after the vernal equinox, which can fall on March 20 or 21, though by ecclesiastical convention is set on March 21.

For 2009 the calculation to fix the date of the Feast of the Sacred Heart is as follows:

The first full moon of 2009 following the vernal equinox, set at March 21, is April 9. The first Sunday following April 9 is April 12, Easter Sunday.

Fifty days following Easter Sunday is May 31, Pentecost Sunday.

A week later, June 7, is Trinity Sunday.

The Feast of Corpus Christi is celebrated on the following Thursday, June 11.

The Friday after the octave of the Feast of Corpus Christi is June 19, the occasion of the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus for year 2009.

In succeeding years the Feast of the Sacred Heart is celebrated on these Fridays:

2010 June 11
2011 July 1
2012 June 15
2013 June 7
2014 June 27
2015 June 12
2016 June 3
2017 June 23
2018 June 8
2019 June 28
2020 June 19