ARLINGTON, Va. (EWTN News)—Bishop Paul Loverde consecrated Virginia’s Arlington Diocese to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, calling the devotion “both a sign and an invitation” for members of the faith.

Christ, through his Sacred Heart, reveals his desire “to show us the depth of his divine love,” Bishop Loverde said in a pastoral letter announcing the Nov. 20 consecration.

In recent weeks, Arlington Catholics have had the opportunity to venerate the relics of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, which have stopped in several parishes in the diocese as part of a relic tour.

According to Church history, Jesus revealed his Sacred Heart to cloistered nun St. Margaret Mary in a series of apparitions beginning in December 1673, telling her of his great love for mankind.

Bishop Loverde’s October pastoral letter, titled “Fountain of Life, Fire of Love,” explained the importance of devotion to Christ’s Sacred Heart and recalled his own visit several years ago to the French convent where St. Margaret Mary lived.

After the homily during Mass on Nov. 20, the feast of Christ the King, the bishop joined with the congregation at the local Cathedral of St. Thomas More to pray an Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

He asked all parishes in the diocese to pray the same prayer of consecration at Masses throughout the weekend.

Images of the Sacred Heart and an Act of Consecration prayer were provided for Mass attendants to take with them to consecrate their homes and families.

In his pastoral letter, Bishop Loverde called the diocesan consecration “a communal acknowledgment” that the people of the diocese were offering themselves to Jesus, just as he offered himself for their salvation.

The bishop invited families to consecrate themselves to the Sacred Heart, underscoring that Christ should be the center of the family. Through acts of consecration, we ask Christ “to rule in our hearts every day,” he said.

He noted that the heart represents the deepest part of a person and that Christ’s “compassion of heart” is not merely a sentiment, but an “active” love that heals us when we are open to it. While God does not remove our suffering, he invites us “to unite our hearts with his own.”

Bishop Loverde emphasized that the love of Christ’s Sacred Heart is always faithful, redemptive and merciful. We can trust in this love, he added, knowing that God always seeks us out and “calls us to a vital communion with him.”