By JOEY REISTROFFER
GAFFNEY — Folks from Sacred Heart flocked to Mass June 11 to celebrate the feast day of the church and learned quite a bit about God’s love for his people.
On this day, the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Father Gary Linsky taught his parish about the depth of God’s love for them. Then they went outside and showed their love as a parish family by inviting everyone to a barbecue picnic.
The focus of the evening, however, was Jesus. Not a suffering Jesus, but a Lord filled with love.
“The Lord set his heart on you and chose you,” Father Linsky told his parishioners. “We are sacred to the Lord. … He has lavished his love upon us,” which, the pastor added, comes straight from the core of his heart.
Why Jesus loves us so much and so unconditionally is a mystery — “There is no answer,” he said. “The Bible doesn’t tell us the answer to this deep, spiritual mystery. But it does tell us how we should act toward one another because we are held so close by the Lord. John says: ‘Let us love one another because God is love.’
“God is love, and he impels us to love,” said Father Linsky. “The Sacred Heart of Jesus is a powerful, beating love, pulsing … and exhorting us to action.”
And even though our love is fickle, the Lord’s love is constant, explained the pastor, and we must strive toward that.
“We gather here tonight in joy to celebrate because God loves us so much,” he said. “We must share that love. That is what it’s all about, to be a Christian.”
Those words hit home for the parishioners at Sacred Heart on the parish feast day.
Harold Davis was moved by the service. He said those words must go beyond the church walls and be applied in everyday life. “It’s great to give back to God,” he said.
And Thomas Scott, one of the original members of Sacred Heart, said he was proud that the parish chose Sacred Heart as the name of the church.
Scott said folks in Gaffney first started getting together in 1947, holding services in Vincent Caggiano’s basement. “Thirty-five people attended the first Mass,” Scott said.
With Caggiano as a driving force, the church was built in 1955, and it has grown since then as industry has sprouted in the area.
On Friday night, the church was packed. The picnic didn’t bring them in; it was God’s love that brought them to celebrate at Sacred Heart.