Sacred Heart Parish History

Fr. Joseph Feldman

Sacred Heart Parish was founded in 1900 by Reverend August Van Sever of Rudolph, Wisconsin.  Father Joseph Feldman was appointed pastor on July 28, 1901 for this parish of 80 families.  Construction of the first parochial school was completed on November 1, 1908; it was a four-room brick building.  Four sisters of St. Francis of Assisi were assigned as teachers for the eight grades.  By 1923 school enrollment was at 140 and there were 180 families enrolled as parish members.

Interior of the first church

Father Feldman died in 1927 and Father Theodore Fraling was appointed pastor.  At that time, planning for a new church began.  To keep costs at a minimum, Father Fraling acted as the supervisor of the entire project.  The new church cost $34,630.

By 1937, a new school building was needed.  Since the new facility was erected on the site of the old school, classes were conducted in the church basement during construction.  In 1940, Saint Alexander Parish was established in Port Edwards.

Sacred Heart Church has been renovated and updated several times since it was built.  In 1974 the interior was painted, pews and trim were refinished, and carpeting was installed in preparation for the parish’s 75th anniversary.  The present rectory was constructed in 1979.  In 2001 the interior of the church was painted and new flooring was installed.  In 2012 a gathering space, elevator, and covered drive-up were added to the south side of the church.

First school

The Sacred Heart Foundation was established in 1988 to receive gifts and bequests for the benefit of the parish.  By only spending interest – never principal – the foundation continues to grow and finance capital improvements in the parish.

Sacred Heart has been blessed with several vocations over the years.  They include: Father Justin Kizewski, Sister Sylvia Danno, O.S.F., Sister Theresa Wekwejt, O.S.F., Sister Mary Carlene Schenk, O.S.F., Father Carl Wohlmuth, Sister Ruth Ann Iwanski, O.S.F., Sister Helen Mertes, O.S.F., Sister Mary Philomena Poullie, O.S.F., Sister Irene Marie Poullie, O.S.F., and Sister Darlene Pienschke, O.S.F.

In 1996 the Pastorate of Sacred Heart was combined with that of Saint Alexander of Port Edwards and became part of WRACS (Wisconsin Rapids Area Catholic Schools), now called Assumption Catholic Schools.  In 2008, after 100 years of Catholic education at Sacred Heart, the school was closed and all Sacred Heart students were consolidated into WRACS.  Despite closing, the Sacred Heart school building has continued to serve as a vital part of the community.  Our own Religious Education programs are still held there.  In addition, several local groups have used the school throughout the years, including: the Nekoosa Boys and Girls Club, the Niikuusra Community Charter School, and the K-4 program for the public school system.

Our parish has seen several changes over the years and continues to thrive and be an active part of the community.  Members are involved in a wide range of lay ministries and our parish family prays for and supports one another as we look forward to a bright future.