Have you asked Christ for help? Billboard asks commuters to ponder relationship with God

Men of the Sacred Hearts Board of Director members Rich Herbert, Executive Director David Tay, Joe Bauer, Bob Renkola and Vice President Walter Grence stand before the groups billboard on Interstate 75. Tay said he wants the billboard to serve as a reminder for people to consider their prayer life this Advent. (Photos by Dan Meloy | Detroit Catholic)

HAZEL PARK — Motorists heading north on Interstate 75 are being asked a poignant question when they approach the 9 Mile Road exit.

“When you don’t ask Jesus for nothing, don’t be surprised by his response. The MenoftheSacredHearts.org

The black and white message comes courtesy the Men of the Sacred Hearts and its executive director, David Tay, who wants people to consider their prayer life this Advent.

“I had this saying on my mind for some time; it’s even on my personal email account,” Tay said. I was mediating on it a little bit and got this bug to put the message on a billboard and put it on I-75.”

Tay proposed the billboard to the Men of the Sacred Hearts executive committee, who saw the billboard as a great opportunity for people to think about God during their commute.

The black and white message is influenced by a Lansing-area billboard Tay saw that asked, “Did you invite God to the wedding?”

The Men of the Sacred Hearts billboard can be seen by motorists travelling north on Interstate 75 at exit 60 in Hazel Park.

“I thought: Wow, that is a simple message that stands out,” Tay said. “So for the message we had, I wanted simple design. We didn’t want to use a telephone number, so we just have our website. We’re thinking it would be a good way for more people to learn about us and what we do.”

The Men of the Sacred Hearts’ ministry revolves around enthroning peoples’ homes to Mary in order to promote families praying together. The “enthroning” involves the Men of the Sacred Hearts bringing in a three-foot tall statue of Our Lady of Fatima, teaching the family to pray the rosary together, and highlighting the power that prayer has in a family.

The statue stays in the home for a period of time as the family learns to set aside 15 to 20 minutes a day for prayer.

“People say having the statue is a very huge presence in their homes, like a guest in their homes and the kids are on their best behavior,” Tay said. “But even when we take the statue away, the presence of the Blessed Mother is still in the home.”

Tay reports that since the billboard went up in October, there has been a 43-percent increase in traffic to the group’s website. However, Tay added that he wants the billboard to serve less as an advertisement for Men of the Sacred Hearts and more as a reminder for people to reflect on their relationship with God. 

“I would very much like people to think about their own prayer life,” Tay said. “I would like them to think about tuning out [of the world] for a while and tune into Jesus and our Blessed Mother. For people to ask what they want from life and consider the need for peace in our hearts and peace in our life.”

He said families who enthrone their homes have been overwhelmed by the deep, meaningful impact the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary have had in their lives.  

“When we first teach families how to pray together, each offering their own intentions for every decade of the rosary, parents have no idea of the issues their children are dealing with,” Tay said. “We ask families to come together to pray the rosary – 15 to 20 minutes out of the day – and you’ll be surprised where praying together as a family will take you.”