This year, the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus coincided with the Tenth World Meeting of Families, celebrated in Rome and in homes around the world.
Taking the opportunity to emphasise the importance of family in the life of faith, staff, students and parents from Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School in Leigh on Sea gathered on the school field with Vicar General and Parish Priest Monsignor Kevin Hale, joined by Father Jean-Claude Selvini, to make an Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, through Mary.
In the weeks prior to the feast, students had undertaken a period of preparation in their classes, with senior leaders recording daily reflections which each class could use as a springboard for conversation and prayer. Parents were invited to read the reflections on the life of Our Lady at home with their children too.
Headteacher, Sally Nutman explained: “As Our Lady is our patron, the liturgies built upon and reminded the children what they already know about Our Lady and why she is so important to us and to the Church.”
Monsignor Hale spoke of the spiritual fruits of making an act of consecration, particularly for a school community. “This Act of Consecration is a moment of special grace,” he said. “By this, we mean that we are opening ourselves to receive something special which God is offering to us through the hands of His Blessed Mother. These kind of spiritual moments are not arbitrary, nor just a ritual, but they are moments when we allow God, through his Mother, to enter into our personal and family lives.”
Reflecting on the involvement of parents, Mrs Nutman said: “One of the impacts of the pandemic has been that children and families have had fewer opportunities to come together to worship, so this year we have made it one of our areas of development. These actions, attending Mass together on holydays, inviting parents to Stay and Pray, the crowning of Our Lady and this Consecration strengthen the faith in our school. They re-establish the Church’s tradition for our young children and families and this is really important given our recent history.”
The decision to include the families of the children was significant, Monsignor Hale agreed. “In the Church, we are never simply an individual. Of course, we relate to God as an individual soul, but the grace of sanctification and ultimately salvation comes to us through the family of the Church. We never act alone since we are all interconnected parts in the mystical Body of Christ, the Church. By making this Act of Consecration with the children and their families together, we are emphasising our interdependence as members of His Body. We are each parts of that organism which is the Body of Christ. By manifesting this in a public way we show that we all belong to Jesus, through Mary.”
The Diocese will continue to mark the end of the Year of the Family with the annual Mass for Marriage and Family Life in July. Prayer intentions are currently being collected, which will be placed at the foot of the altar as Bishop Alan celebrates this Mass at the Cathedral. If your family have a particular intention, please submit it via the Google Form linked below.