The 100th anniversary of the consecration – a challenge in 2000
The first article announcing the renewal of the 1900 consecration, on the tenth anniversary was in Glasnik Srca Isusova written with these words: ” If this first tenth anniversary is celebrated solemnly, then every further one, especially the fifth, which some young people will still experience, and the tenth, i.e. the hundredth anniversary of the first consecration, will surely be celebrated, in the year 2000, which, God willing, we will watch from heaven. In this way, the tree, which was planted by Croatian youth in 1900, will re-flourish and bear the fruit of life. And under by his centuries-old canopy, the Croatian youth will still sing to the Heart of Jesus: Dušom tijelom vijek sam tvoj, za krst časni bijuć boj (Glasnik Srca Isusova no 3 1910, p57)
The 100th anniversary of the consecration in 2000, which the organisers of the tenth anniversary have foreseen and announced, 2000 is coming to a close. Given the many positive fruits that the consecration has left in the hearts of young people, the question arises: whether to commemorate this event with articles in the press, or it could be a pastoral challenge to the Church to organise something similar for today’s generation of Croatian youth not only from one century to another, but from one millennium to another. One might notice, after 100 years the mentality of the modern man, especially the young, and his expression of faith has changed. That’s partly true. But the Sacred Heart of Jesus has not changed! Let us remember the motto of the Great Jubilee 2000 “Christ yesterday, today, and always!”
In addition, when analysing the content of the consecration from 100 years ago, it is clearly observed that the consecration was, in fact, a wonderful profession of the Christian faith of an entire generation of Croatian Catholic youth that they left us at the dawn of this century. It was their sincere testimony of their belonging to Jesus Christ, the Church and the Christ’s Vicar, from which remained a memorial until these days through the hymn of consecration – “Do nebesa”.
Previous initiatives to mark the 100th anniversary of the consecration
The Youth of the Eucharistic Movement (MEP) from Osijek, as in previous years, welcomed the New Year in 2000, in prayer and gathering before the Most Blessed Sacrament in the Shrine of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The reception of this last year of the second millennium was specially marked by the memory of the Croatian youth’s consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus from 100 years ago. Immediately, in the first minutes of the two thousandth year after Christ, present in the Eucharist, the youth jointly recited a special prayer composed in the spirit of consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. At the end of this prayer at the New Year’s vigil in a sign of communion with young Croats from 100 years ago who had performed their consecration, and in a sign of love and fidelity to Christ, they all sang the hymn – “Do nebesa” – whose 100th anniversary was that year. With this they wished to mark the beginning of 2000 jubilee year within the first minutes with this 100th anniversary.
Since the consecration of the youth in its external expression was closely tied to Rome and the Pope, as described above, the commemoration of this consecration in February 2000 was held in the eternal city of Rome. Two Croatian sculptor artists, Ernestinovačke sculptors, Mate Tijardović and Ivan Forjan, created in Slavonian oak a great relief of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and gifted it to the house of Croatian Pilgrims in Rome. The relief was solemnly placed and blessed on April 25, 2000 in memory of the 100th anniversary of the consecration of Croatian youth to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. (Glas Slavonije, 4.III.2000, p11)
The youth of the Eucharistic Movement (MEP), which in its spirituality cherishes in a special way the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, 30 June 2000 performed a similar consecration by following the example of those young Croats who did the same 100 years ago. This best marks the 100th anniversary of this wonderful testimony of Croatian youth from the beginning of this century till the end. The young MEP hoped that other young people from Croatia would join them, especially Catholic associations.
Although it is too late for this year to organise something on a broader scale in terms of renewing the consecration, one might still think that something similar is being organised next, in 2001 ie: in the first year of the new millennium. It would be nice if the current generation of Croatian youth, who entered the third millennium would leave some similar witness of their faith, to future generations that they received from their fathers and passed across the borders of two millennia of Christianity.
Pope John Paul II encourages
It is well known that Popes of this century, especially Pope John Paul II, often spoke of the value of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and recommended this devotion. In particular, Pope John Paul II, on numerous occasions, especially placed emphasis on the heart, that this piety be preserved in the Church. His message to the world on 11 September 11 2001, for the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the anniversary of the consecration of the human race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus by Pope Leo XIII, is just the latest in a series of documents in which he speaks again and confirms how much he cares to preserve, promote and perfect devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to find new ways and methods that will present this piety to today’s man. In that message, Pope John Paul II among other things says:
“I want to express my approval and my encouragement to all in the Church who continue to nurture, deepen, and promote the veneration of the Sacred Heart of Christ, with language and forms that are appropriate to our time, in a way that may be passed on to future generations in the spirit it has always been led. Even today, it is working to encourage believers to focus on the mystery of Christ, the God-man, in order to become husbands and wives of inner life, persons who feel and live the call to a new life, to holiness, to offering, which means apostolic participation in the salvation of the world. People preparing for a new evangelization, recognising the Heart of Christ as the heart of the Church, should be aware of the urgency and the modern world understands that Christianity is the religion of love.” (Glas Koncila, No. 29, 18.VII.1990 p.10).
Pod Barjakom Presvetog Srca Isusova Series
- English text translated from original Croatian article at http://mep.putksuncu.hr/07-srce_isusovo/srce5.htm