The Lord tells us: ‘The first task in life is this: prayer.’ But not the prayer of words, like a parrot; but the prayer of the heart: gazing on the Lord, hearing the Lord, asking the Lord.
— Pope Francis Homily Oct. 8, 2013

MEET MATT SIMMONS

Matt was born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska.  He grew up in a broken home, moving between the households of his mother with mental illness and his absent father, experiencing the loneliness and isolation which is so common today.  At age 12, Matt began using drugs, and after a number of years he was at the jumping off point, totally hopeless, alone, and suicidal.  Through the help of a friend he surrendered his life to God, who showed up in a profound way removing his suicidal thoughts and his desire for drugs.  
 

In 2007, while on a missionary trip in India, Matt and his wife Demetra volunteered with the Missionaries of Charity.  As Matt was holding a dying man, he experienced the Divine Love burning in him.  Matt nurtured this fire through daily prayer and at Easter 2008 he entered the Catholic Church.  Matt also opened Sacred Heart Tattoo and started evangelizing and sponsoring men into the Church, which gained the attention of a Focus Missionary.  In 2011, Matt joined the Focus mission leading bible studies and teaching students to pray and evangelize.  

In 2013, Matt left Focus and did the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola where he experienced the call not only to remain in intimacy with Jesus himself, but also to lead others into this intimacy.  Matt has begun Sacred Heart Ministries to fulfill this call, to teach Parishioners how to pray, so they can live from a place of intimacy with Jesus and transform the world according to His plan of love.  Matt still lives in Lincoln with his wife Demetra, and his children, Thaddeus and Penelope.



About Sacred Heart Ministries

Our Christian communities must become genuine “schools” of prayer, where the meeting with Christ is expressed not just in imploring help but also in thanksgiving, praise, adoration, contemplation, listening, and ardent devotion, until the heart truly “falls in love.” Intense prayer, yes, but it does not distract us from our commitment to history: by opening our heart to the love of God it also opens it to the love of our brothers and sisters, and makes us capable of shaping history according to God’s plan.
— St. John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte

 

 

THE VISION

We live in a spiritual desert with many mirages on the horizon.  People are drinking in secularism, relativism, materialism, drugs, pornography, and the occult.  Families are broken, divorce and abuse are becoming the norm, and the experience of being lonely and unwanted seems for many the only reality of life.  This spiritual desert is rapidly spreading, dehydrating people both outside and inside the Church. 

Parishioners must learn to pray in a way that will quench their thirst.  They must develop a deep intimacy with Jesus from which all decisions are made and actions are taken.  Parishioners must “fall in love” with Jesus through prayer if they are to grow in Holiness, have authentic relationships with family and friends, and be missionary disciples, shaping the world according to God’s plan of love.  


THE MISSION

Our mission is to teach Parishioners how to pray, so they can live from a place
of intimacy with Jesus and transform the world according to His plan of love.


Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for Him.
— Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2560


SPIRITUAL MENTORSHIP

Spiritual mentorship is the crux of our work.  A spiritual mentor is someone who teaches beginners how to pray and helps them take their first steps in the spiritual life.  They are a step ahead of the mentee, listening, asking questions, offering comments, and encouraging them.  Through regular meetings and radical availability, a spiritual mentor is a partner, helping the beginner to stay on track.    


 

RETREATS

Sacred Heart Ministries gives retreats to assist pastors who want their parishes to become “schools of prayer.”  The retreat provides an opportunity for parishioners to have a new experience of God in prayer, community, and with their teacher of prayer, their pastor.  The retreat talks teach the essential habits of prayer, and show how prayer is foundational to holiness, authentic relationships, and evangelization.  We provide ample time for adoration, prayer, confession, small group sharing, and one on one time with a pastor of the parish.