OGDEN — Members of the League of Promoters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, family and friends gathered to celebrate 100 years of service at a centennial Mass at Saint Joseph Parish, followed by a luncheon at the Marriott Hotel in Ogden July 1. The Mass was in memory of the 185 deceased members of the league. The most recently deceased league member was Kathryn Loffredo, who died June 1.
The Mass was concelebrated by Father Kenneth Vialpando, St. Joseph pastor and presider; Monsignor Colin F. Bircumshaw, vicar general of the Diocese of Salt Lake City and former pastor of St. Joseph; Father Jose Barrera, St. Joseph associate pastor; Father Gustavo Vidal, pastor of Saint Mary Parish, Ogden; and Father Erik Richtsteig, pastor of Saint James the Just Parish, Ogden. Deacons Tony Lopez and Keith Norrell assisted at the altar.
"Our membership began at St. Joseph Parish, but we have extended to St. Mary, St. James and Holy Family parishes," said Allie Lee Lawler, league president.
In his homily, Fr. Vialpondo said, "Promoters of the Sacred Heart, if these church walls could talk, what stories they could tell about you, your sisters, your mothers, and your grandmothers, who for the last 100 years never skipped a beat when it came to promoting the Sacred Heart of Jesus. They acted as the living, breathing, heartbeat of Christ by pumping new blood and new life into the body of the church.
"Today, as we honor all the good work that your league has accomplished during this last century, let us not forget to thank and pray for your 12 founding members, who received a calling to lead others to the Lord by following the 12 disciples of the Lord and the courageous female followers of Christ in the New Testament," Fr. Vialpondo said. "They planted seeds of faith, hope and love, perhaps not knowing how they would grow, but trusting in the providence of God to lead them."
Lawler said being a member of this league is a way of life. "The souls devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus receive the 12 promises Our Lord gave to Saint Margaret Mary, who was devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Some are the graces necessary to their state in life, comfort in all their afflictions and refuge in the Heart of Christ," said Lawler.
New members are accepted into the league during a ceremony on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Feast of Christ the King. They receive a pin and a packet of rules. The league daily prays the morning offering and the rosary and believes in the five Corporal Works of Mercy.
"We meet every month except July and August, and pray the Litany to the Sacred Heart and our promise," said Lawler. "We have a prayer chain to pray for those in need, attend adoration and assign women to attend funerals. When one of our members dies, we have an honor guard for her during the viewing and the rosary."
Holy Cross Sister Joseph Cecile Voelker, pastoral associate of St. Joseph, said the commitment to prayer is most significant to the league. They also take pride in representing parishes at funerals by praying the rosary during the vigil, welcoming deceased members at their last funeral Mass and placing the pall on the casket.
"I think the league became the Promoters of the Sacred Heart because in 1899, Pope Leo XIII consecrated the whole world to the Sacred Heart and Msgr. Patrick Michael Cushnahan, pastor of St. Joseph at the time, also had a great devotion," Sr. Joseph Cecile said. "The heart has always been the center, or essence, of a person."
Each member also does her own work of mercy such as collecting coats or socks for the poor. Lawler has been an historian and has created 17 scrapbooks with material of the league and St. Joseph Parish.