Cover image: Primatial Cathedral of Bogotá, Colombia, by Bernard Gagnon – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
The Bishops of Colombia will renew the country’s consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as an expression “of the fervent yearning of the Catholic Church for unity, peace, and reconciliation in Colombia.”
Cardinal Rubén Salazar, the Archbishop emeritus of Bogotá, will preside at a Solemn Mass for the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, with numerous prelates taking part, including the current Archbishop of Bogotá and Primate of Colombia; the Apostolic Nuncio; the president and vice-president of the Colombian Bishops’ Conference; and other archbishops and bishops from around the country. The assembled clerics will charged with consecrating Catholic homes, parishes, and the nation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, while praying this year especially for the end to the Covid-19 pandemic and the health of the Colombian people.
The consecration will take place in the Primatial Cathedral of Bogotá, and will be broadcast on television through an “alliance” of channels RCN, Caracol, Cristovisión, Teleamiga, and Televid, along with traditional and digital media of various Catholic organizations including dioceses, religious communities, apostolic movements and other ecclesial organisations.
The history of the consecration goes back to the Thousand Days War, which broke out at the end of 1899 and resulted in the deaths of over 100,000 people. During the conflict, the Archbishop of Bogotá, Bernardo Herrera Restrepo, called on the then head of state, President José Maneul Marroquín, to appeal to the Sacred Heart of Jesus to unite the country. Colombia was consecrated to the Sacred Heart on 22 June 1902, and on the same day, the corner stone of new church – the Church of the National Vow – was laid. The Basilica was completed some 16 years later, in 1918.
Five months after the initial consecration, on 21 November 1902, the Treaty of Wisconsin ended the Thousand Days war.
At times during the troubled history of Colombia, the annual consecration of the nation to the Sacred Heart, led by the head of state, was enshrined in law. In 1991, after decades of conflict, a new constitution was adopted, confirming the pluralistic character of the Colombian state; a subsequent Constitutional Court decision determined the legal norm ordering the consecration was unconstitutional.
Nonetheless, the Church in Colombia has continued the tradition, renewing the consecration of families and of the nation each year on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.