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About Us

Sacred Heart of Jesus statue
Sacred Heart of Jesus Church is a Roman Catholic Church located in the Pennsport neighborhood of Philadelphia, PA. All are welcome to come and worship our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ in our church.

Parish Boundaries

Our parish boundaries extend from the Delaware River to 7th Street and from the south side of Federal Street to the north side of McKean Street. All those living within these boundaries are welcome to register as parishioners.

Regional Catholic School

Sacred Heart of Jesus School graduated their last 8th Grade Class in June, 2012. Children in the parish attend Our Lady of Hope Regional Catholic School.

Parish History

Bishop James F. Wood, successor to the now sainted Bishop Neumann, gave the nod and his blessing for the formation of a new parish to be named after the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The rapid growth in the Catholic population that necessiated this decision was due to the great inpouring of people from other lands. It was the longing to paractice their faith that was responsible for the wave of church building during the nineteenth century. Many of those who settled in this section of South Philadelphia were fleeing the frightful throes of the Great Famine in their native Ireland. It was said that a true Irishman never feels at home without his church, even if he has to dig the cellar himself, a feat that was performed in our own church by these determined first parishioners. So it was only to be expected that before long a parish would rise up under the title to which Ireland itself is dedicated, The Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Rev. Thomas F. Hopkins, Rector of the old Preparatory Seminary in Glen Riddle, was appointed pastor. The newly designated pastor immediately began the erection of a temporary chapel on the southwest corner of Third Street. This building was a frame structure, measuring 75 by 50 feet which had seating for 500 people. W. W. Bozorth was its constructor.

The little chapel was dedicated to divine worship on Sunday, December 10, 1871. The Right Rev. Bishop James F. Wood officiated at the ceremony. This solemn occasion was attended by fifteen priests and was enhanced by the singing of Mercadante's Grand Mass for Male Voices performed by the Cathedral choir and heard for the first time in Philadelphia on that day. The following Sunday, December 17, marked the opening of Sunday School in the chapel and the organization of the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On the succeeding Sunday, December 24, the Rosary Society was inaugurated. Forty Hours Devotion was held for the first time in the new parish April 28 to 30, 1872. The closing exercises on Tuesday were conducted with great solemnity by Bishop Wood himself.

Early in 1872, ground was broken for the permanent church, the present structure, just south of the chapel building. Bishop Wood officiated on Pentecost Sunday, May 19, 1872 when the corner-stone of the new edifice was laid at the north-west coner of the building. Work on the new structure progressed so rapidly that by the end of the summerr of 1872 the foundations of both church and rectory were finished and the base course and floor joists laid. By the autumn of 1874 the roof was on and the masonary completed.

When the new church was completed in 1876, it was considered one of the most beautiful Gothic structures in the diocese. The stone used in the construction was granite for the foundations, serpentine for the walls, and Ohio limestone for the trimmings. The dedication ceremony for the new church was performed on Sunday, September 30, 1877. The main celebrant was the Most Rev. James F. Wood, who had become Archbishop of Philadelphia since he had laid the cornerstone. Twenty-two fellow priests joined in the Mass on this solemn occasion.

-From "One Hundred Twenty-Five Years of Ministry and Memories, Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, Philadelphia PA 1871-1996"