Friday, March 28, 2014

Sacred Heart Parish

Sacred Heart Parish, located just east of I-75 and south of Mack, was established in 1875 by a German-American congregation. Peter Dederichs was the architect of this church as well as Assumption Grotto, St. Charles Borromeo, and St. Bonaventure Monastery.

In the 1910's, African-American Catholics began to move into the area. Unfortunately, congregations were largely segregated at the time. A chapel at Old St. Mary's first served as their spiritual home. A former Episcopalian church, located 1/4 mile west of Sacred Heart, was purchased in 1914 and became St. Peter Claver Parish.

In the 1930s, the German congregation at Sacred Heart began to move away. The people of St. Peter Claver petitioned to move to Sacred Heart — seeking a larger church and parish schools. The congregation from St. Peter Claver moved in 1937, but kept the previous patronage, to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The former St. Peter Claver Church still stands, just south of Receiving Hospital, and houses a daycare.

The parish had elementary and high schools staffed by Felician Sisters and continued to grow until construction of I-75 forced parishioners to relocate. The high school closed in 1957 and the elementary school in 1965.

Fr. Norman Thomas has served as pastor since 1968 and remains one of the longest-tenured pastors in the archdiocese. Fr. Thomas has also been administrator of St. Elizabeth Parish since 2007.

Today, Sacred Heart hosts the largest African-American congregation in the archdiocese.

A gilded image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus adorns the apse.
The choir sits in front of the St. Joseph altar; Icons of the Blessed Mother stand at her altar.

Multiple depictions of St. Mary: with St. Anne as well as a colorized version of Pietà.

An image of St. Martin de Porres hangs near St. Anthony of Padua.

Sunday Mass is at 8:00am and 10:00am. Saturday Vigil Mass at 5:00pm and Tuesday Mass, in the parish hall chapel, is at 6:00pm.

More about the parish: parish website
More about the church building: Wikipedia

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