In the year 1836, the pastor of Detroit Most Holy Trinity Church, Fr. O’Kavanaugh, traveled the muddy Chicago Road to celebrate Mass in the homes of Irish Catholic pioneers in the community known as Dearbornville. This was the humble beginning of Sacred Heart Parish, Dearborn. An effort for a real church began in 1840. It took until 1848 but was finally completed, by the urging and encouragement of Fr. John Farnam. The flock named their new church on Mason Street St. John’s. The little country church was moved in 1874 to a nearby, more beautiful spot on a hill facing Mason street. Renovations were required on the d
ecaying structure, so many that only the original frame and steeple remained. In 1875 with the renovations complete, Fr. Matthew Schaeken, the pastor at that time, requested a name change. He considered it his duty to consecrate himself and his flock to the holy heart of the Savior. And thus with a visit from Bishop Borgess of Detroit, the church became rededicated and known from that day forward as Sacred Heart.
Time moved on, Chicago Road was renamed Michigan Avenue, and Dearborn became incorporated. As the new century saw Dearborn become an important part of the automobile industry, the population boomed. Bishop Foley perceived the need for Sacred Heart to accommodate a growing flock. Fr. Sharpe was assigned and became pastor in 1916. A gifted organizer, Fr. Sharpe began by establishing various church committees and saw to it that each had plenty of activity, lest they die soon after birth. With parish cooperation in place Fr. Sharpe moved with the help of advisors to acquire the corner of Michigan and Military. He then began a building project in 1917 that would span decades to come.
By 1918 there was a triumphal march from the old church to a new building, which would house the church, apartments and classrooms for IHM Sisters who would staff a new school for 180 children. In 1926 the people of Sacred Heart showed the Sisters their appreciation by building them a proper convent on Garrison Street. The church building was erected in 1929. During the Great Depression, the Sacred Heart family helped and supported each other trying to keep the school going and working toward completion of the new Church. The Church was dedicated on the Feast of Christ the King in 1937, appropriate timing to celebrate the 100th birthday of Sacred Heart as a parish. It took another two decades before the Church was completely finished including all of its beautiful stained glass windows.
As the years progressed, the need for a high school building became apparent. Once again the parish built and opened a grand new high school in 1954. Irish pride boasted in the name of their athletic teams, called the Shamrocks.
The 60’s ushered in an era of change in the greater church and our nation. By implementing the changes from Vatican II, convened in 1962, the Church saw liturgical and physical changes that were difficult for some of the parish to accept. Rising costs of education and the leveling off of students in the High School led to its sad closing in the mid 70’s. At that time the grade school was moved into the newer of the two school buildings. The Religious Education Program utilized the older building. Spirit led, by the mid 80’s, when Sacred Heart celebrated its 150th birthday as a parish, its strengths could be seen in its prayerful liturgical celebrations, a stable grade school enrollment, and its parish organizations.
Today Sacred Heart Parish remains a strong community. Worship is its main focus, supported by a strong music program. Compared to the heyday of the 50’s overall school population is less, but modern class sizes are limited! The Religious Education Program now provides catechesis for a large number of parish children. Teens are invited to participate in a variety of Youth Ministry activities. Adult Formation opportunities are available in the form of Scripture groups, occasional topical presentations and a strong RCIA process. The Pastoral Council provides the foundational organization from which spring the four Commissions and various sub groups which drive parish business and activities. Our campus, which recently expanded is changing to meet the needs of our parish.