The origin of this devotion had been slowly beginning throughout the middle ages until a series of visions, calling for the devotion, took place. The most significant source for the devotion to the Sacred Heart in the form it is known today was formed by Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, who claimed to have received visions of Jesus Christ. There is nothing to indicate that she had known the devotion prior to the revelations.
During the octave of Corpus Christi, 1675, probably on June 16, the vision known as the "great apparition" reportedly took place, where Jesus said, "Behold the Heart that has so loved men ... instead of gratitude I receive from the greater part (of mankind) only ingratitude ...", and asked Margaret Mary for a feast of reparation of the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi.
In the Roman Catholic tradition, the Sacred Heart has been closely associated with Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ. Acts of Reparations are prayers or devotions with the intent to repair the "sins of others." Such as, the repair of the sin of blasphemy, the sufferings of Jesus Christ or as Acts of Reparation to the Virgin Mary. These prayers do not usually involve a petition for a living or deceased person, but aim more to repair sins done in the past.
The Feast of the Sacred Heart has been a Solemnity in the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar since 1856, and is celebrated 19 days after Pentecost. As Pentecost is always celebrated on Sunday, the Feast of the Sacred Heart always falls on a Friday. In 2009, it will be celebrated on June 19.
What I didn't know though, is that starting yesterday, was the beginning of the Sacred Heart Novena until the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart on Friday. (I found this out from reading a post on Diane Korzeniewski's blog at Te Deum Laudamus.)
For Easter I got, "Novena Book of Prayers." So I'm going to start the novena tonight. A day late, but I have the Universal Church and all of her prayers to cover me. =D
Next Friday, the 19th, is Father's last day here at St. Charles Borromeo Parish. I think he is celebrating Mass at 9 o'clock before he leaves. Update: Father is having Mass on Friday the 19th at 9:00. At the Mass, our Flower Girls will be recieving their "Rosary Patches" that they've earned.