Sacred Heart Catholic Church history
Timeline for Sacred Heart Church
The Roueche family, who came to the U.S. from France, seem to be the first Catholic family in Salisbury, around 1838. There was no church building until the writer Frances Christine Fisher, also known as Christian Reid, donated land for a church on the corner of North Fulton and Council streets. The wooden church was finished in 1882.
The first structure was dedicated on Nov. 19, 1882, by Bishop Northrup of Charleston, S.C.
From 1885 to 1941, the church was under the jurisdiction of Belmont Abbey and was served by the Benedictine order. In 1910, the Sisters of Mercy from Belmont bought land and built the school. The new school on Lumen Christi Lane opened last August.
In 1940, the granite church was built and dedicated by Bishop Eugene McGuiness of Raleigh. The old church was built of pink granite donated by Walter F. McCanless.
In 1941, the church came under the jurisdiction of the Raleigh diocese.
In 1942, Our Lady of Victories was established to serve the black community, but the congregations later merged.
Sacred Heart Catholic School became a parish school in 1942. Now served by the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Sienna, the schools includes classes for preschool through eighth grade. The Sisters of Mercy, from Belmont, served the school for many years.
The Rev. Cletus Helfrich was pastor 1942-1971.
The Rev. Edward Friel OSFS was pastor 1969-70.
The Rev. Francis Smith was pastor 1970-72.
In January 1972, the Charlotte diocese was formed. The late Bishop Michael J. Begley was the first bishop in Charlotte. The Rev. Thomas P. Clements was named pastor.
The Rev. Clement Porzio was administrator while Clements attended graduate school. Clements returned, serving until 1979.
The Rev. Anthony Kovacic became pastor in 1979, serving until 1982.
The Rev. Richard Allen came in 1982, and built a new entrance to the church, connecting it to the office and rectory.
In 1988, the Rev. (now Bishop) Peter Jugis was assigned parochial vicar. Clements returned as pastor.
In 1995, the church began a Hispanic ministry which has grown enough to offer Masses in Spanish.
The church as had two deacons, the late Rev. Mr. Pat Vallandingham and the Rev. James Mazur.
The Rev. John Putnam became pastor in 2000 and is vicar forane of the Salisbury vicariate and judicial vicar for the Diocese of Charlotte.
Sr. Mary Robert Williams, a Sister of Mercy, is pastoral associate, serving since 1983.
The church, which began with a handful of families, now has almost 1,000 registered families.