All over Ireland and in many parts of the UK, we have a network of several thousand dedicated Parish Promoters who promote and distribute The Sacred Heart Messenger. Some give out half a dozen copies, some give out over a hundred. Many have passed down the practice from generation to generation. Most of our promoters find it an enjoyable and sociable way to put into practice their Devotion to the Sacred Heart.
If you would like to know more about being a promoter. Please contact our Promoters Coordinator, Elizabeth Foley.
Here Elizabeth tells you more about the history of our promoters, and the work involved:
When Fr Cullen first started the Sacred Heart Messenger in 1888 he was inspired in the vehicle he chose to distribute the Messenger. During the early years Fr Cullen contacted nearly every convent in every parish in the country looking for a sister to promote and distribute the Sacred Heart Messenger. He did this for a number of reasons: first of all Fr Cullen was a practical man and he wanted the magazine to be available to everyone who wanted it at the lowest possible price. Secondly, he firmly believed that that aim of the Messenger was to evangelise, people needed to read about and understand their Faith and so he produced the Messenger in a way that was accessible to all. Thirdly, the Messenger was the means by which the Apostleship of Prayer was promoted and people encouraged to pray for the Pope and his intentions. In the early years the religious sisters through the Primary schools rapidly increased the number of people subscribing to the Messenger each month. With the closure of many convents and the massive decrease in the numbers of religious sisters, today distribution has moved more to a parish based network with many lay people having taken up the baton from the Sisters and now distributing the Messenger to their family, friends and neighbours.
You may ask what is involved in this work and why do it? There is no single answer as to why people become a promoter of the Sacred Heart Messenger, people distribute the Messenger for a variety of reasons, but the one reason that has come up over and over in my conversations with people is that they have a personal devotion to the Heart of Jesus and in thanksgiving for prayers answered or a grace received, they have committed to promoting the Messenger each month. Often it is as simple as that. I have lost count of the number of times that people have said to me; ’The Sacred Heart can do things nobody can! I can’t thank him enough for all he has done for me.’
Another reason people become a Promoter of the Messenger is because there is a tradition in their family, dating back to grandmother and great-grandmother, passed on from Mother to Daughter of promoting the Sacred Heart Messenger again possibly in thanksgiving for prayers answered or simply because they wish to share their faith in a real but discreet way. And many promoters find that distributing the Messenger it is a way to call on a neighbour who is alone or unwell, so there is a pastoral side to this work for the Sacred Heart. Some people become a promoter because someone else gets ill or dies and they agree to become the promoter for their area. We still have many teachers in Primary schools who distribute the Messenger and of course many Parish shops now sell the Messenger. But the Messenger has always thrived on the personal touch of the Promoter who distributes the Messenger to their neighbours and friends and who does this work out of love for the Sacred Heart rather them out of a duty or obligation.
You might ask what a promoter actually does. A promoter distributes the Messenger each month to the people on their list. They have as few as six people or as many as a hundred plus but they do it month after month and once a year usually around December or January they collect the subscription from each person for the coming year and send it to us at the Sacred Heart Messenger.
I have met people from all walks of life who are promoters of the Sacred Heart Messenger and I think Fr Cullen would be very pleased that the ‘Little’ Messenger is still holding its own today, 126 years later, and I think that he too would credit that success to the thousands of Promoters who, because of their love of the Sacred Heart, do this little work in His honour.