In 1919, Msgr. James A. Bulfin became the new pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Vineland. He wanted to build a new, bigger church as the current one on South Eighth Street was too small to accommodate the growing Catholic population in Vineland. But Bishop Thomas J. Walsh said no: ”Church second…School first…for without religious training our youth and our schools and churches will soon be empty and then in a few years there will be no need for churches.”
A compromise was made and a church/school was built on Landis Avenue and Myrtle Street. The building was dedicated in May 1921 and the grammar school opened in September 1921 with an enrollment of 234 students staffed by the Sisters of Saint Joseph, who taught students for the next 71 years.
In 1927, the school expanded to include a Catholic high school. By 1954, the grammar school/high school reached a capacity of over 900 students. The parish then built a separate high school located on North East Avenue which opened in 1955.
In September 1959, Saint Mary’s School in East Vineland opened as well as Saint Francis of Assisi School on the West end of Vineland in 1963. In the mid 2000s, Saint Francis School merged with Sacred Heart Regional School to become Bishop Schad Regional School, named in honor of Auxiliary Bishop James L. Schad, a native of Vineland and a graduate of the grammar school and Sacred Heart High School in 1935.
The faculty at Bishop Schad Regional School now includes five nuns from the order of the Missionary Daughters of the Most Pure Virgin Mary with Sister Rosa serving as the new principal.
Josephine Jordan Walker is a graduate of Vineland’s Sacred Heart Grammar, 1944, and High School, 1948.