Our History

 

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Our forefathers were settlers of Irish and German decent, joined by Italian immigrants, employed by the expanding steel companies. Their requests in 1920 prompted Fr. Baker our founder, to construct a simple wooden church near Lake Avenue, in the area referred to as “The Hill”. This Mission Chapel at Windom was also used as a school, housing 45 students and staffed by Brothers of the Holy Infancy.

On April 1, 1929 the mission church was completely demolished by a tornado. A new brick building, replacing it, was dedicated on October 12, 1929. For the ensuing thirty years, this building (presently our daily mass chapel and parish offices) was the center of worship. A succession of assistant priests from Our Lady of Victory traveled each week to minister and care for the spiritual needs of the people. In June of 1949, the church was raised from mission status to a parish, entitled Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.

Father John S. Doyle was assigned as the first pastor and the parish experienced rapid growth and expansion. A rectory was built in 1954; a school was completed in 1959, a convent near Willet Road was purchased in 1962 to house the Sisters of Mercy who taught in the parish school. A new church was erected in 1965. In 1967, a fire broke out in the sacristy of the new church, causing extensive damage but thankfully no injuries or complete destruction resulted. On January 3, 1977, parishioners were stunned to hear about the death of their beloved pastor. Through all the years, he had shared in their joys and sorrows while establishing a faith community commonly called” Fr. Doyle’s.”

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart parish continued to grow under the leadership of Monsignor Dino Lorenzetti, Fr. Doyle’s successor. Parishioners soon learned that the rectory door was always open to them and that this man of hospitality listened patiently. During this time, the parish witnessed a building up of new and existing organizations, the acquisition of West Seneca #5 school, the conversion of the old church into the convent and chapel. Monsignor Lorenzetti retired in July, 1996.

Our third pastor was Monsignor Paul Burkard. Fr. Paul led us into the Jubilee year and the new millennium. Under Fr. Paul’s direction the parish undertook a major renovation project which included the air condition of the church and updates to the school buildings and rectory. In 2006, Fr. Paul became pastor of Our Lady of Victory parish, President of Our Lady of Victory Institutions and vice-postulator for the canonization of the Venerable Nelson Baker, our founder.

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart remains a vibrant, faith-filled parish under the guidance of our current pastor, Fr. Adolph Kowalczyk. Fr. Adolph is a pastoral leader promoting the spiritual wellbeing of parishioners. Christ Renews His Parish and Teams of Our Lady are examples of new ministries active in our parish. Social activities continue to build a sense of community and fellowship.

Our history may be delineated by our leaders through time, but the essence of our history is found in the Faithful People of God. With their dedication, the parish continues to be a truly spiritual center offering ministries in many areas of service. God has utilized parishioners, deacons, religious sisters and priests to draw us together in love, worship and service of one another. Our history continues to be written by the people of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart parish today!