Sacred Heart home enthronements bring Detroit families closer to Jesus, together

The Mona family of Bloomfield Hills listens as Avery Mona, the oldest of three children, offers intercessions during a home enthronement May 11 led by the Men of the Sacred Hearts, an apostolate that encourages devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary through family-led prayers of consecration. The Mona family heard about the apostolate through a friend and decided to have their home enthroned as a way to grow closer to God and to one another. (Photos by Daniel Meloy | Detroit Catholic)

Men of the Sacred Hearts promote devotion to the Sacred Heart 350 years after Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

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BLOOMFIELD HILLS — Saba Mona said it feels like there has been a special visitor in her home this past week.

Ever since the Men of the Sacred Hearts enthroned her family’s Bloomfield Hills home on May 11, the 3-foot statue of Our Lady of Fatima has been stationed in the middle of the family room.

The statue’s presence is a reminder that this home has been entrusted to the care of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and every day, they have Mary, the Mother of God, present to hear the family’s intercessory prayers.

“Yesterday, I caught my husband sitting in the family room, praying to her,” Mona told Detroit Catholic. “I haven’t spotted the kids praying to her yet — they are in and out of the house all the time — but they do see her. She is in the family room, so you walk in and see her. If you walk through the hallway, you see her. Her presence is all around us, and she is watching us.”

The Mona home was enthroned by the Men of the Sacred Hearts, a lay apostolate of men who travel throughout Metro Detroit spreading their devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary and encouraging families to consecrate their homes.

Saba and Anthony, along with two of their children, Eliana and Liam, pray the rosary together during the Sacred Heart enthronement May 11. It’s been 350 years since Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque of France, to whom he revealed his request for the world to be converted to his Sacred Heart. During home enthronements, a statue of Our Lady of Fatima is installed in a family's home for two weeks, encouraging intercessory prayer together.
Saba and Anthony, along with two of their children, Eliana and Liam, pray the rosary together during the Sacred Heart enthronement May 11. It’s been 350 years since Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque of France, to whom he revealed his request for the world to be converted to his Sacred Heart. During home enthronements, a statue of Our Lady of Fatima is installed in a family's home for two weeks, encouraging intercessory prayer together.

The Men of the Sacred Hearts came to the Mona home on May 11. With the family gathered around the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, volunteers began by explaining the consecration, leading intercessory prayer and encouraging family members to lift their prayers to God.

“It was a very special day for us,” Mona said. “I really felt for my kids, especially my oldest, when seeing his prayer intentions. I felt he was in tune, and it touched all three of them and the way they gave all of their intentions at each mystery (of the rosary). You could tell they did feel the impression of Mother Mary.”

This year marks the 350th anniversary of the apparitions of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque of France, which included Jesus' call to promote devotion to His Sacred Heart and to make acts of reparation or penance for the times people have not recognized Christ’s love.

The practice of having homes enthroned to the Sacred Heart was begun by Fr. Mateo Crawley-Boevey, SSCC, of Peru, who developed to a devotion to St. Margaret Mary and began enthroning homes in the early 1900s as a young boy in his hometown and in the early years of his priesthood.

David Tay, executive director of the Men of the Sacred Hearts, leads prayers of devotion and consecration May 11 at the Mona family home. Fr. Mateo Crawley-Boevey, SSCC, of Peru, was inspired to spread the devotion to the Sacred Heart and Sacred Heart home enthronements in the early 1900s after visiting the convent in France where St. Margaret Mary Alacoque of France lived.
David Tay, executive director of the Men of the Sacred Hearts, leads prayers of devotion and consecration May 11 at the Mona family home. Fr. Mateo Crawley-Boevey, SSCC, of Peru, was inspired to spread the devotion to the Sacred Heart and Sacred Heart home enthronements in the early 1900s after visiting the convent in France where St. Margaret Mary Alacoque of France lived.

Problems with tuberculosis caused Fr. Crawley-Boevey to leave Peru for a less dusty, higher-altitude climate, so he was sent to France, where he ventured to Paray-le-Monial, home to the convent of the Visitation Order where St. Margaret Mary was a cloistered nun.

As Fr. Crawley-Boevey was praying in the convent, he had a profound spiritual experience, explained David Tay, executive director for the Detroit-based Men of the Sacred Hearts.

“As he knelt down, praying in front of the very altar where Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary, a force came over him like a wind,” Tay told Detroit Catholic. “It almost knocked him to the ground. There is no wind in convents — the walls are three to four feet thick with stone. But it was the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gave Fr. Mateo two messages: First, you’re cured. Second, the Holy Spirit wanted Fr. Mateo to go to the Vatican and seek Pope Pius X and tell him he was enthroning homes, business and schools to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.”

Fr. Crawley-Boevey did meet the pope, who instructed him to spread the devotion to the Sacred Heart by enthroning homes. Fr. Crawley-Boevey did so, forming the Men of the Sacred Hearts to promote the devotion all over the world.

Fr. Crawley-Boevey's felt he wasn’t proficient enough in English, so he enlisted the help of a Montreal priest, Fr. Francis Larkin, to promote enthroning homes in North America.

St. Clair Shores businessman John LoVasco, who founded the Detroit chapter of the Men of the Sacred Hearts in 1964, was tasked by a Montreal priest, Fr. Francis Larkin, to find a statue of Our Lady of Fatima to stay in a family's home whenever a home was enthroned.
St. Clair Shores businessman John LoVasco, who founded the Detroit chapter of the Men of the Sacred Hearts in 1964, was tasked by a Montreal priest, Fr. Francis Larkin, to find a statue of Our Lady of Fatima to stay in a family's home whenever a home was enthroned.

In 1964, Fr. Larkin was in Chicago promoting enthronements when he came into contact with John LoVasco, a businessman from St. Clair Shores. Fr. Larkin gave LoVasco the materials necessary to start a Detroit chapter of the Men of the Sacred Hearts.

The devotion and home enthronements didn’t take off initially, until Fr. Larkin suggested LoVasco purchase a statue of Our Lady of Fatima to place in the homes the group enthrones, encouraging families to pray to Mary for her intercession.

“John bought the statue, and sure enough people flocked to the statue, and it went off like gangbusters,” Tay said.

The apostolate's heydey was in the 1970s and '80s, Tay said, when close to 170 men would travel all over the Archdiocese of Detroit, visiting homes by invitation and leading enthronements to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Since its founding, the Detroit chapter has continued the practice to this day, encouraging families to pray with and for each other, entrusting their homes to the protection of Jesus Christ and intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Volunteers with the Men of the Sacred Hearts lead prayers for the home enthronements, which are available to any family that wants one.
Volunteers with the Men of the Sacred Hearts lead prayers for the home enthronements, which are available to any family that wants one.

The consecration itself involves entrusting one's family to Jesus' protecting help, and trusting his Mother to intercede for the family's intentions.

“What it takes is you making the promise that Jesus is the head of your family, and in doing so, he is like the king of your family,” Tay said. “The image of the Sacred Hearts (featuring the exposed Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary) is put in a prominent place in your home. We encourage some daily prayer, a daily rosary or at least a decade of the rosary in order to perpetuate your prayer life and to get a deeper relationship with the Sacred Heart of Jesus.”

Anthony Fanelli joined the Men of the Sacred Hearts in 2009 at the urging of a friend after he disclosed his family was going through some challenges.

Fanelli worked in real estate, an industry that was suffering in the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis and subsequent recession of 2008. His daughter, a recent graduate from Loyola University, was having difficulties finding a job.

Fanelli invited the Men of the Sacred Hearts into the family's home for an enthronement, and he immediately discovered an inner peace.

“I discovered something I haven’t felt in a long time,” Fanelli said. “It was peaceful. We still had the same problems — we still were trying to get my daughter a job, still figuring out the financial challenges we were in — but when we had the Blessed Mother in the house, I was hooked."

Fanelli shortly after asked to join the Men of the Sacred Hearts, where he continued to volunteer leading home enthronements for other families.

Saba Mona holds an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary while reciting a prayer during the enthronement of her family's home. Mona said hearing the prayer intentions of her children and her husband, Anthony, was particularly powerful.
Saba Mona holds an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary while reciting a prayer during the enthronement of her family's home. Mona said hearing the prayer intentions of her children and her husband, Anthony, was particularly powerful.

Fanelli said it’s a powerful experience walking into a stranger's home and watching the same peace he experienced wash over a family, who might be apprehensive at first.

“Since we’ve been going to all these houses, the common denominator is that no matter what issues people face, be it financial issues, health issues or just a need for someone to pray with them, is people say having the Blessed Mother with them is so very peaceful,” Fanelli said.

“People begin sharing personal moments with you,” Fanelli added. “I always say we come in as strangers and leave as friends. After a couple of hours, we know more about them, and they know more about us. Some people aren’t sure what to expect when we come, but I often hear them talk about how this is really cool. And hopefully they spread the word.”

Saying the rosary out loud was a particularly powerful moment for the Mona family during their enthronement, especially when it was time to hear the prayer intentions of her three children and her husband, and having the chance to share her own intentions.

“My prayer intentions are always surrounding my family, especially for my three kids, for everyone to be happy and healthy, and I pray that the intentions of others are answered," Mona said. "My other intention was for the four men who delivered Mother Mary to us, that their intentions are answered.”

Saba Mona was particularly grateful her oldest son, Avery, was able to be with the family for the Sacred Heart enthronement after playing a college baseball game in Lansing the night prior.
Saba Mona was particularly grateful her oldest son, Avery, was able to be with the family for the Sacred Heart enthronement after playing a college baseball game in Lansing the night prior.

The Mona family, who attend St. Thomas Chaldean Church in West Bloomfield and Holy Cross Chaldean Church in Farmington Hills, placed flowers around the statue of Mary as she resides in their home for two weeks, a reminder of the profound spiritual moment they shared and the power they experienced through intercessory prayer.

The Men of the Sacred Hearts encourage every member of the family to be present during a home enthronement. It was especially meaningful for Mona to have all three of her children — two are students at Wayne State University and her youngest will be a freshman at Brother Rice High School this fall — together for the enthronement with her and her husband.

“I can’t tell you how much that meant to me,” Mona said. “Especially with my son, who plays baseball at Wayne State, Mother Mary knew I wanted him to be there, and if it worked out, it worked out. But she knew that we wanted him there. She had his coach find a bus to get him here after their game on Friday night, to be with us on Saturday morning."

Mona said her hope is that the family finds more time to pray during the two weeks the statue will be in her home, and “to have Jesus’ light shine on them and build in belief each and every day; that was my hope for this.”

The Men of the Sacred Hearts leave behind an envelope and contact information for families to give out to others who might be interested in having the Sacred Heart of Jesus enthroned in their homes.
The Men of the Sacred Hearts leave behind an envelope and contact information for families to give out to others who might be interested in having the Sacred Heart of Jesus enthroned in their homes.

The statue of Our Lady of Fatima, along with enthronement materials brought by the Men of the Sacred Hearts, will remain in the Mona home during that time as a reminder of their commitment to prayer, as well as an encouragement to invite friends and family to strengthen their own prayer lives, Tay said.

“Many times families invite friends and family to come over and pray, and they, too, have never experienced intercessory prayer and praying for one another out loud,” Tay said.

When that happens, it's not uncommon for the Men of the Sacred Hearts to get another call requesting a home enthronement, and the apostolate's work continues.

“The more people we have praying, the better,” Tay added.



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