OGDEN -- Area Catholics on Friday acknowledged a century-long ministry dedicated to meeting the needs of others through embodying Christ's love.
Members of four area Catholic churches came together in celebrating Mass in honor of the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the 100-year anniversary of The League of The Promoters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
"You and the generations before you have acted as the living, breathing heart of Christ by providing new blood and new life into the Body of Christ," said St. Joseph Catholic Church Pastor Father Kenneth L. Vialpando in his sermon. "We've experienced God's love and powerful heartbeat through you."
Also speaking was Monsignor Colin Bircumshaw, a former priest at St. Joseph and vicar general for the Diocese of Salt Lake City.
Bircumshaw said the group would be around for generations to remind people what the church promotes.
"We promote God's love -- so simple, so simple," he said.
The Promoters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a spiritual group that meets regularly to inspire the members. Each member commits to pray daily and for others when asked through a prayer chain and to live by the corporal works of mercy, which concern themselves with the material needs of others.
They include feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned and burying the dead.
"We pray for anyone who asks for prayers," said group president Allie Lee Lawler. "When people are sick, we keep them on the prayer chain unless we hear that they have passed away or gotten better."
The members also have service responsibilities in the church, including draping the dead at Catholic funerals.
The group was formed at St. Joseph Catholic Church and as that church planted other Catholic churches in the Ogden area, members continued their involvement in the group.
Those who attended Mass spoke in interviews of the group's importance and how it has changed their lives.
"I pray more than I did when I was younger," said Jane Francis Blair, 76, of Ogden, who joined the group when she retired as a school teacher. "I'm closer to God. I wish I had prayed more when my kids were small."
"It's really a privilege to be a Promoter of the Sacred Heart," said Ernestine Martinez of Plain City. "It's a blessing."
"Our church is all about the Sacred Heart," said Linda Tramposh of Kaysville. "It's the heart of our church, the Sacred Heart of Jesus."
Members seek after promises Christ gave for souls devoted to His Sacred Heart. These include receiving peace in their homes, grace in their lives, abundant blessings and secure refuge.
At the service, Vialpando wished the blessings on the members.
"Thank you all for what you have done and may Christ grant you all the 12 promises he gave to St. Margaret Mary," he said.
Lawler said she was proud of the heritage early members have left the group with their kind service.
"We're excited that we've been able to keep in our hearts the people who formed this group 100 years ago," she said.