Anne Costa leads Sacred Heart ministry devoted to families
By Tom Maguire
Gloria A. (Tupper) Anson’s dream was that somebody would succeed her at the global Sacred Heart Apostolate, based in Syracuse, and keep it going. Catholic author and speaker Anne Costa is making sure that happens.
The apostolate board named Costa president after Anson died Nov. 25, 2017. “She was larger than life,” Costa said last week at the headquarters at the rear of the Catholic Shop next to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse. “She will continue to be the flame behind the work that we do. You don’t replace her; you just carry on the best you can.”
“She said she likes to travel; she’ll get a lot of that,” Gloria’s widower, Jack Anson, said of Costa.
“I think she has the talents to hold down the job,” said Jack Wagner, treasurer of the Sacred Heart Apostolate.
The diocesan Directory says the apostolate is “committed to Christian renewal of families through the Heart of Jesus. A global movement for creating a civilization of love.”
Asked how there can be a civilization of love in a world filled with conflict, Costa said: “It starts in the home, and that’s why we want to consecrate and enthrone Jesus in our homes.”
The Sun’s archives note that devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus began in 1674 when Our Lord appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, a Visitation Sister, in France. Our Lord showed Sister Margaret Mary His Sacred Heart surrounded by flames with a crown of thorns and a cross above it and told her to promote devotion to His Most Sacred Heart.
In 1907, Father Mateo Crawley-Boevey, a Peruvian priest, experienced a miraculous healing in the same Visitation Chapel where Our Lord had appeared to Sister Margaret Mary. Until his death in 1960, Father Crawley-Boevey devoted his life to promoting the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in homes throughout the world.
Gloria and Jack had their home enthroned in 1974. For more than 20 years Gloria carried out enthronement missions with Father William Gaffney, CSsR, a Redemptorist missionary, and she was helped by the spiritual guidance of Monsignor John Esseff.
According to Costa’s fact sheet on enthronement, it is “a way of life that signifies that a family or individual has made a commitment to live the truths of the Gospel and to pattern their hearts after the Heart of Jesus. It is a means by which faith, love, hope, and healing are revitalized within the home in accordance with the promises that Jesus made to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque.”
The 12 promises that Jesus made to those who consecrate themselves to his Sacred Heart include the graces necessary for their state in life; peace in their families; consolation in all their difficulties; and abundant blessings upon their undertakings.
Costa called it a “family to family apostolate” with a three-day preparation, “and then a lifetime of relationship with Christ and his heart.”
Her fact sheet says it’s a good idea for a family to discuss its intention for enthronement with the parish priest. Then a promoter meets with the family. The family chooses a Sacred Heart image that will be displayed prominently in a place of honor in the home. The Catholic Shop has what Costa calls “Sacred Heart Row,” an impressive collection of images appropriate for enthronement.
The image is then blessed, and the family completes the three-day prayerful preparation. A priest or a deacon can conduct the brief enthronement ceremony, but their participation is not required. A small celebration usually follows. The home in effect becomes a domestic church, Costa said.
Does enthronement work? Costa and Gloria Anson published a booklet filled with stories about it: What Happens when Jesus Shows Up? Costa also has written six books; the latest is Healing Promises: The Essential Guide to the Sacred Heart. The book is available at Franciscanmedia.org, and all of her books are available at the Catholic Shop, 201 E. Laurel St., 315-475-9332. “My books are very down to earth, and they are very practical,” she said.
Pam Speach, owner of the Catholic Shop, said enthronements are important “for the remedy of families.” Costa told the story of a Syracuse man who had told Gloria that the world had won out with his kids: a 21-year-old in college and a 19-year-old who was upstairs all the time. The family held the final enthronement before Gloria became very ill. After the enthronement, the family’s dog died and the 19-year-old son spiraled out of control, ending up in the hospital.
It came out that the son was completely addicted to alcohol, and the parents never knew. The son came home from rehab, Costa said, and the first thing he wanted to do was go to church. “And so the kid is going back to church and the whole family is coming together again,” Costa said.
“Devotion grows within the [enthroned] home,” said Pasquale “Patsy” Leo, the apostolate’s vice president who is on leave because of family health conditions. “It’s a way of having Jesus come into the home in a different way. And we have our image of the Sacred Heart right above our fireplace on a mantel.” Included is a candle to signify the light of Jesus.
“So when you have a problem or something to ask for,” he said, “you come to the place of enthronement on a conscious basis and say a prayer — or however you react to Jesus: prayer, or talking to him. … It works. It works. … There’s always an answer given to you somewhere along the line by Jesus.”
Gloria would be happy that Costa has kept the apostolate going, said Jack Anson, who was married to Gloria for 64 years. When they got married, Jack was 22; Gloria, 19. “I miss her like you wouldn’t believe,” he said.
“She was all over the world — missions everywhere — and had quite a following,” Jack said.
Costa will be having enthronement-information sessions at 6:30 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month at the apostolate. Those interested can call 315-657-3657.
“Why would you not want it to go on?” Jack said of the apostolate. “It’s saved many families.”