About Our Parish

Mission Statement

We, the members of Sacred Heart Parish,

through the gifts of the Holy Spirit,

are continuing our ministry of Jesus Christ.

We are committed to forming ourselves

into a caring and active Christian Community,

to promote the values of our religion

and

to fulfill the universal mission of our ministry. 

 

Sacred Heart Parish History

The history of Sacred Heart Parish begins in 1850, but for many years the Catholics who lived in the Shawano area had to go to Keshena to attend Mass. The present church site was obtained from Joseph Maurer in the year 1863, when he deeded a strip of land 120' x 240', for one dollar.  A church was finally erected in 1867 with both Catholics and non-Catholics contributing toward the erection of this building - the first edifice dedicated to the honor of God to be erected in the city of Shawano.  This first church was small and crudely built with planks extending over blocks of wood serving as pews.  In 1877 a priests house was built and an organ purchased.  A two acre cemetery was purchased at the cost of $35.00.

From 1880 on, Mass was said in Shawano on the second and fourth Sunday of each month.  In 1881, a school was built for $550-00, and the Sisters of St. Joseph came on October 25 of this year to take over the school. 

The first permanent pastor, Fr. F.X. Steinbrecher, arrived on July 19, 1888.  In April 1889, work had begun for a new church building (this was the building destroyed by fire in 1951). In 1937 Cecil was added as a mission to Shawano and Sacred Heart also received its first assistant pastor. 

During the next 13 years there was a growing interest and discussion of a new church.  In 1950, it was seen that the building should not be put off any longer. The church was moved and construction began in July 1951.  The plans were to have it under roof before cold weather came.  As a result of delay in shipping the  steel for the church, the building was not enclosed by winter and that meant the slow, tedious job of laying brick in freezing weather, having to heat all the materials. 

On November 27, 1951, at approximately 9:15 PM, fire was discovered in the old church.  At the time of discovery, flames were shooting out from under the gables of the roof above the sanctuary.  In the matter of a very few minutes the fire had raced through the old structure so rapidly that it was impossible to control it. The spread of the fire was so rapid that it was not even possible to save the Blessed Sacrament or any of the furnishings.

When it became evident that the church could not be saved, the firemen concentrated all their efforts on saving the school, which stood only a few feet away.  Firemen remained on the scene until 4:30 the next afternoon.  

The parish suddenly found itself without a church. The mayor of Shawano immediately stepped forward and offered the services of the Community Hall for as long as it might be needed. Mass was held here on Sundays and Holy days from the first Sunday in December, 1951 until the first Sunday in May, 1952 when the basement of the new church was sufficiently advanced to allow the congregation to move back into its own building. The first Mass in the body of the new church was held on Friday, August 15, 1952, the Feast of the Assumption.  

 In the late 1960's, St. Wenceslaus Parish in the Town of Waukechon became a mission of Sacred Heart. The history of St. Wenceslaus Church dates back to the early 1880's and the church stands on a acre of land donated by William & Josephine Nemetz in 1882. The present church was built in 1913. From 1977 until 1990 St. Wenceslaus Church was no longer used for weekend masses. The building remained available for weddings and funerals until the Diocese of Green Bay issued a Decree of Closure on April 3, 1990. At that time the parish of community of St. Wenceslaus officially joined with the Sacred Heart Community. 

Sacred Heart Church stands as a living memorial of our faith in and love for God.  By the grace of God, may it stand many years as the beautiful place of Divine Worship and from its altar may sacrifice continue to rise for the glory of God and the salvation of the souls of those who helped to build it and the souls of parishioners in years to  come who will worship their Almighty God within its walls.

 

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