Sacred Heart Church celebrates 125th anniversary with Week of Grace

| September 30, 2022

Father Tom Gardner said, “I have only been at Sacred Heart for a little over a year, but in that time, I have seen the passion and dedication of so many people at Sacred Heart. A parish is much more than just a building, but truly a family of families. I think we have survived for over 125 years because God has continued to work powerfully in the families of our parish over that time, inspiring them to serve the community in Coshocton, pray and worship together, educate their children at our school and in many other ways.”

Deacon Doug Mould shared the history of Sacred Heart Church. The first Mass recorded for the City of Coshocton was at the Universal Church in Roscoe offered by Father Frederick Bender in 1857. Throughout 1857 and 1858, three missions – St. Elizabeth at Killbuck, St. Nicholas at Franklin Township and St. Mary at Linton Township – were built by Father Bender.

In 1858, the first church building was purchased on the corner of Third and Sycamore streets and was dedicated to St. George. In 1869, Father John Mary Jacquet arrived in Coshocton and began a large growth in the faith and its practice.  Within five years, the number of parishioners was 360. In 1896, the lot at Eighth and Walnut street was purchased by Father Walter Ross. On Oct. 10, 1897, the cornerstone was laid by Father Ross and the new church was dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on July 17, 1898 by Bishop Watterson.

The Coshocton Council of the Knights of Columbus was chartered in 1905 and the school was started in 1907. The school is currently an elementary school for Kindergarten through seventh grade with a preschool. The Catholic Women’s Club was started in 1935 from the Daughters of Isabella (the ladies group from the Knights of Columbus). Property purchased by the church over a period of 50 years allowed for the expansion of the school, a convent for the sisters who taught at the school and play areas for the students.

In the 1960s, Father John Graf was among the first in the diocese to acclimate the church to the new concepts in liturgical celebrations which gave the church the layout used until 2020. He was active in outreach and helped in establishing Church Unity programs in Coshocton County.

Sacred Heart’s St. Vincent de Paul Society was started in 2005. This organization is the parish’s outreach to meet emergency needs, fulfilling the call to feed the hungry and care for God’s most precious ones, the poor. In 2011, Sacred Heart acquired the property next to the parish office on Main Street. This became the Parish Ministry Center which houses the Sacred Heart Youth Ministry, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Pregnancy Distress Center, Scouts and the Prayer Shawl Ministry Group.

During the COVID pandemic in the spring of 2020, Sacred Heart started a renovation of the sanctuary. Bishop Robert Brennan consecrated the new altar on May 16, 2021. Other statues, including a hanging crucifix, were installed in the spring of this year. New Stations of the Cross were installed in preparation of the anniversary celebration.

The Week of Grace celebration will begin on Sunday, Oct. 9 with a luncheon at Lake Park Pavilion at 1 p.m. A video of historic perspective will be presented by Ken Smailes and there will be special Diocesan guests. Tickets are $35 per person.

On Monday, Oct. 10, a special 125th Anniversary Mass will begin at 7 p.m. with light refreshments at 6:30 p.m. “The 125th Mass on Oct. 10 is open to all. We welcome our non-Catholic brothers and sisters to celebrate with us on this special occasion,” said Father Gardner.

Angel Fox will be the speaker on Tuesday, Oct. 11. Her topic is Finding Radical Forgiveness. She will be talking about how she found the strength to forgive those who brutally took her son’s life in 1999. Wednesday, Oct. 12, Rachel Muha will be speaking. Muha will be talking about her experience with God’s mercy. She has spread the message of God’s hope since she was healed from cancer. Embracing our Mission will be the topic of Dan De Matte’s presentation on Thursday, Oct. 13.  He will be encouraging everyone to take up the call to follow Jesus in our daily lives as His disciples.  For each of these presentations, fellowship will begin at 6:30 p.m. with the speaker beginning at 7 p.m.

“We are excited about the speakers coming for our 125th celebration. Each of them will tell powerful stories of how God has worked in their lives, including how He has brought them miracles, both physical and spiritual. We are confident that their witnesses will encourage people of all backgrounds to deeper faith, hope and love,” said Father Gardner.

The special Mass and speakers are free and open to the public. There are still tickets available for the luncheon and they can be purchased at the parish office or after Mass on the weekends. Tickets will not be sold at the door.

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