Sacred Heart Apostolate relocates to Diocese of Knoxville

Cathedral parishioner Lisa Morris to lead international enthronement organization  

By Bill Brewer

The  Diocese of Knoxville is now home to the Sacred Heart Apostolate, a global movement for promoting the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus as a way to renew communities by centering families on the love of God incarnated in the sacred heart of Christ.

The apostolate, which has been located in Syracuse, N.Y., relocated to Knoxville June 1 with the appointment of Lisa Morris as president of the Catholic Church-endorsed apostolate. Mrs. Morris, a parishioner of the Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, is succeeding Gloria Anson, the apostolate’s founder who died last year in Syracuse following an illness. She was 82.

Mrs. Morris developed a close relationship with Mrs. Anson after the apostolate held a Sacred Heart Enthronement mission at the cathedral parish in October 2003. The three-day mission attracted many parishioners and laid a foundation for Mrs. Morris’ continued involvement, including the enthronement at Sacred Heart Cathedral School in November 2003.

“From there I started getting involved doing enthronements in homes with Father [Peter] Iorio and Monsignor [Al] Humbrecht. In December 2003, shortly after the mission here had taken place, Father [William] Oruko arrived from Kenya. He also began helping families with the enthronement ceremony. Father William said the people in Kenya have such a love for the Sacred Heart of Jesus, but they have never heard of the enthronement. He said maybe someday we can take this there,” Mrs. Morris said. “By the grace of God, that became a reality in 2008 and we traveled to Kenya to his home parish to bring the message of the enthronement. It was a beautiful four days of immersion in God’s grace, culminating with the enthronement of Jesus as King of the parish, and 18 other institutions, including the orphanage, the medical center, and several schools. This led to more [enthronement] missions in Africa following that, which has truly been such a blessing in so many ways.”

Following the Sacred Heart Parish enthronement mission, Mrs. Morris said Father John Dowling had the apostolate give the enthronement mission at St. John Neumann Parish, and enthronement missions have been held at Our Lady of Fatima, St. Mary in Athens, Holy Family, Holy Ghost, and St. Dominic parishes, among others, as well as schools doing the enthronement ceremony including Knoxville Catholic and Notre Dame high schools.

Since 2003, Mrs. Morris’ role within the Sacred Heart Apostolate has grown. She assisted Mrs. Anson on Enthronement missions across the country, and when Mrs. Anson’s health began to decline, she asked Mrs. Morris to take on more of a leadership role.

Following Mrs. Anson’s death on Nov. 25, the eve of the feast of Christ the King, Sacred Heart Apostolate leaders approached Mrs. Morris about succeeding Mrs. Anson. Mrs. Morris accepted and the leadership agreed that, with Bishop Richard F. Stika’s approval, the apostolate would relocate to East Tennessee.

Mrs. Morris met with Bishop Stika and said he couldn’t have been more supportive and accommodating, “It was a wonderful meeting and I can’t thank him enough for his approval and encouragement to move forward, an answer to prayer for sure.”

The Sacred Heart Apostolate’s office is now at 813 S. Northshore Drive, Suite 201D, in Knoxville, 37919, near the Chancery and the Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. The organization’s web address is sacredheartapostolate.com.

The Sacred Heart Apostolate still will be advised by Father William Gaffney, CSsR. Father Gaffney is a Redemptorist Missionary serving in the New York area. The apostolate also is governed by a board of directors and U.S. and international advisers.

Mrs. Morris described her mission now as continuing Gloria Anson’s ministry in spreading the message of the enthronement.

“For her to pass away on the eve of the feast of Christ the King, as sad as it was, it was also such a gift and so beautiful.” Mrs. Morris said. “She spent half her life spreading the message of Jesus as King. It was never about her. It was always about Him. She made her impact one heart at a time. And that is our mission, changing the world for Christ, one heart at a time.”

Mrs. Morris plans to resume the gathering of Sacred Heart Apostolate leaders on an annual basis, something that was suspended during Mrs. Anson’s illness. The leaders will gather in Knoxville July 27-28 to discuss moving forward while taking part in Mass and adoration.

The Christian renewal of families through the Sacred Heart will continue to be the focus.

She explained that an enthronement ceremony is a one-time event that can be renewed. She noted there have been many enthronements in the diocese, whether in homes, schools, businesses, or organizations.

Enthronements are led by either a priest, deacon, or an apostolate representative.

“You are making the family the domestic Church,” she said. “The enthronement is taking the love you already have for Jesus in your heart, and in one step furthering your faith journey, you make a statement that you make Jesus king of your home, your school, your business. And the graces just flow in when you say yes.”

In the 17th century, Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and promised eternal salvation to those who will receive Holy Communion on nine consecutive First Fridays in honor of His Sacred Heart. Jesus revealed that wherever the image of His Sacred Heart was exposed and given special honor, great blessings and graces would abound.

This revelation inspired formal enthronement of the Sacred Heart as a way to expose Jesus in the home. Then, in 1907, Father Mateo Crawley-Boevey, SSCC, began the worldwide Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus apostolate to carry on the work of spreading the Sacred Heart devotion that began in France with St. Margaret Mary Alocoque. Father Mateo believed that the evangelization of souls for Christ and the building of a civilization of love starts with the evangelization of the family. The enthronement is for all families, whether married with children, single, widowed, or divorced. It is for everyone and all are welcome.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus enthronement ceremony was approved by Pope St. Pius X in 1908 and since then has spread throughout the world. Enthronement recently was featured as a way for families to prepare for and respond to the spiritual initiatives of the 2015 World Meeting of Families that was attended by Pope Francis.

Prior to the actual enthronement ceremony, a representative of the apostolate provides the preparation materials. Participants go over what the enthronement is, how it came to be, and the many blessing that flow from it. The family is also given a pilgrim statue of Mary, and the promoter explains that Mary will always lead us to her son. The statue will stay with the family until the enthronement ceremony and then she will go on to the next family…thus the pilgrim statue.

Mrs. Morris said she is humbled by the appointment and believes the relocation of the apostolate at this time is divinely inspired since June 8 is the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

“I am very excited, honored, and grateful. I see the blessings of the families, and it is amazing what God can do when you say yes to this. It really spills out into the wider communities. God brings his love and his mercy out into the marketplace. It’s no longer just within the walls of the church or home. And that’s what we are called to do,” she said. “It really is a simple message with such a powerful impact. I make You King of my family.”

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