Sacred Heart parish was founded in 1882.
Prior to 1882, all Catholics in and around Springfield attended the “old” Immaculate Conception Church on North Campbell. An unclear source of dissatisfaction on the part of the northern residents of the parish prompted the people to write Bishop John Hogan in Kansas City requesting their own parish, although it was no more than 10 blocks to Immaculate Conception.
It took two separate petitions to sway Bishop Hogan to grant the request in 1882. The new church was named St. Mary, spelled “St. Marie.” It was destroyed by a tornado on Nov. 5, 1883. The German and Irish parishioners rebuilt the church and renamed it Sacred Heart. Just before 1892, the Germans of the parish petitioned Bishop Hogan both for their own priest–one who could speak German–and for their own church. Their request was granted in the form of St. Joseph Church in Springfield.
Claretian Missionary Fathers accepted the pastoral responsibilities for Sacred Heart Parish in 1981. Today Sacred Heart welcomes a growing Hispanic population by scheduling Sunday Masses in Spanish and church events familiar to the Latino newcomers.
A collaborative ministry is the norm for this parish. The pastor, deacon, religious, and laity work well together to help the parish live its mission statement, which reads in part “… our purpose as a parish is to portray in our lives the teaching of Jesus Christ by giving compassion and reconciling love to all through our prayer and action.” The sincere and friendly atmosphere, coupled with an entire renovation of the interior of the church, caused national recognition in the recently published book, Excellent Catholic Parishes: the Guide to Best Places and Practices (Paulist Press). Today only a few families live within walking distance of the church, but that does not inhibit the gathering of people from diverse backgrounds to worship together as proud parishioners of Sacred Heart Parish in Springfield, MO.
See a list of priests who served at Sacred Heart on the diocese website.