Saturday, Sept. 2, will mark the 90th anniversary of Sacred Heart Church located at Landis Avenue and Myrtle Street in Vineland.
It was officially opened and dedicated on Sept. 2, 1927 by Bishop Thomas J. Walsh. The celebration began with a parade down Landis Avenue with religious and civic dignitaries and people of all faiths participating.
The first Sacred Heart Church, built in 1874, is located on South Eighth Street. The new church was the dream of Sacred Heart pastor Msgr. James A. Bulfin. It replaced a church/school that opened in September 1921 at Landis Avenue and Myrtle Street which was used to provide more room for Masses and classrooms for children to receive a Catholic education. With services moved to the new church, more classrooms were added to accommodate both Sacred Heart Grammar School and the new Sacred Heart High School which opened on Sept. 9, 1927. The school, now Bishop Schad Regional School, is currently celebrating 95 years of Catholic education in the community.
Plans and blueprints for the new church began in 1926. The architect was Clyde S. Adams of Philadelphia. The contractor was John B. Hallahan of Philadelphia. The beautiful stained glass windows were designed and built by the Conrad Schmitt Studios, located in New Berlin, Wisconsin. The Rose window, installed over the church organ, was so impressive it was used in the company’s advertising in the 1930s.
Over the years, thousands of Vineland and area residents have attended Mass; been baptized, received holy Communion and confirmation; attended graduations, funerals and were married in this church. It has been the site of numerous ecumenical and civil services and for honoring the military and local citizens. It is open each day for Mass and to welcome those who are in need of solace, a place where they can come to pray, a place to meditate, a place to seek help, a place to heal and a place to ask for forgiveness. It is an integral part of the Catholic community of Christ the Good Shepherd Parish and remains an iconic historic worship site in the heart of the city.
Josephine Jordan Walker is a member of Christ the Good Shepherd Parish, Vineland.