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RANCHO CUCAMONGA—“Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, truly present in the Holy Eucharist, I place my trust in you.” The refrain of Michael John Poirier’s “Sacred Heart Song,” which he composed for the people of the parish of the same name, was a compelling communion reflection as they celebrated their Feast Day on June 11.

With some parishioners attending in person and some watching via livestream, the parish came together to again joyfully celebrate their Feast Day, an experience which was lost last year because of the pandemic restrictions. The liturgy gave the parish an opportunity to celebrate the lives of those who have died during the year, as each of their names were included in the remembrance of the Eucharistic Prayer.

The Gospel reading, which proclaimed that both water and blood flowed from the pierced side of Jesus upon the cross, prompted Sacred Heart Pastor, Father Benedict Nwachukwu-Uduku, VF, to speak in his homily on the covenant that God made with his people through the blood of circumcision and the water of Baptism.

Fr. Benedict emphasized the covenant’s call to the faithful to bring the mercy of Jesus to the world, adding that with the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus they could do anything. To demonstrate that call of mercy, Fr. Benedict asked how people were feeling. Some parishioners answered that they felt anxious and uncertain, but they added they were also hopeful and ready to move forward.

At the end of Mass, the parish recited the Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, committing to unite themselves with Jesus and to be the presence of his mercy to all they meet, working for peace and order.

Additionally, several people were recognized and honored, including all 2021 graduates, those who had received Diocesan Awards this year (Magaly Marin, Aileen Arrezola, Chito Peralta and Nelly Peralta) and 60 parishioners who received recognition from Bishop Alberto Rojas for their exemplary effort and assistance during the most challenging times of the pandemic. Two parishioners, Diane Macer and Amalia Munoz, received the Sacred Heart Award and were blessed by Fr. Benedict and the concelebrating priests, Father Julian Okoroanyanwu and Father Edward Molumby, ST.

After the liturgy, the community gathered in the school courtyard for refreshments and a raffle. Parishioners were able to win many donated items, including icons of the Most Sacred Heart and of St. Joseph and the child Jesus (in honor of the Year of St. Joseph).

The Act of Consecration and honoring of 2021 grads continued during the weekend Masses, making the Feast Day a weekend celebration of the parish, to proclaim, as the Act of Consecration says, “Praise to the Divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to It be glory and honor forever.”