Learn about devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the graces that come from observing First Fridays
What’s so special about First Fridays?
Our parents grew up going to church every First Friday of the month and taking part in Sacred Heart devotions, but in recent decades the pious practice has fallen out of practice, and is dismissed by some as an “old-fashioned” anachronism.
A main reason for the decline in interest in this devotion is probably rooted in simple ignorance: people don’t know what First Fridays are all about; families and parishes may not have adequately passed down their importance to the next generation. Here are five things to know.
1. How did the First Friday Devotion begin?
While some saints referenced the Heart of Jesus in their writings even centuries earlier, in 1673, a French Visitandine (Visitation) nun named Margaret Mary Alacoque had visions of Jesus, wherein he asked the Church to honor His Most Sacred Heart. In particular, Jesus asked the faithful to “receive Communion on the First Fridays, for nine consecutive months.” The request was connected to a specific promise made to all who venerated and promoted devotion to the Sacred Heart. After Margaret Mary’s death, the First Friday practice steadily spread in the Church — endorsed by popes and promoted by saints — but it greatly increased in popularity when Margaret Mary was canonized a saint in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV.
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