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Sacred Heart of Jesus-Highlandtown

The material and photos were provided by John H. Foertschbeck, Sr.  We are very grateful.
 

Sacred Heart of Jesus, Highlandtown (Heilige Herz Jesu)

Sacred Heart of Jesus, also known as Highlandtown’s Cathedral, began as a mission of St. Michael’s, Wolfe Street.  In 1870 the growing number of Canton’s German Catholics petitioned Archbishop James Roosevelt Bayley for a church in their neighborhood.  The Archbishop requested, Rev. Peter Zimmer, the pastor of nearby St. Michael’s, Wolfe Street, to assess the request.  Fr. Zimmer charged Fr. Joseph Mueller with this task.  Fr. Mueller began visiting Canton’s Catholic families and seeking financial support for a church.  By 1872 Fr. Mueller had collected sufficient funds to select and acquire property for a church.  He proposed acquiring the abandoned Civil War Fort Marshall, also known as “Snake Hill”.

In the spring of 1873 a meeting was held at St. Bridget’s and the assembled group voted unanimously to acquire the Fort Marshal property.  The property included two city blocks measuring 450’ X 300’ (ca. three acres) at a cost of $17,000.  The property was bounded by Canton Ave. (Fleet St.) on the north, First St. (Highland Ave.) on the west, Aliceanna St. (Foster Ave.) on the south, and Third St. (Conkling St.) on the east.  Second St. (Baylis St.) was not cut through at that time.  Ground breaking occurred on September 7, 1873 with Archbishop Bayley laying the cornerstone.  More than 40 priests and many others representing German Societies from other parishes witnessed the event.  The new church would rise to a three stories cruciform building measuring 50’ X 112’ with a steeple 25’ to 30’ above the roof.  The first story was dedicated to a school and the second and third stories to the church.

The first school at Sacred Heart opened in 1874 with 116 pupils enrolled.  Miss Caroline Paschelhofer taught the girls and Mr. Nicholas Clossert, sacristan and organist, taught the boys.  The original four classrooms were later expanded to nine.

April 2, 1876 two School Sisters of Notre Dame, Sr. M. Prosper and Sr. M. Gottharda, began teaching at Sacred Heart.  They walked the approximate one and a half miles from St. Michael’s to Sacred Heart.  The first convent at Sacred Heart was completed on August 30, 1876 and was immediately occupied by Sisters Prosper, Gottharda and house sister Audacta.  It was a three story brick structure 20’ X 40’ which cost approximately $3,500.

October 13, 1878 Sacred Heart became an independent parish with Rev. Francis van Emstede as the first pastor.  The parish boundaries were set – WEST: east side of Patterson Park Ave. and Gwinn St., EAST: Back River, the whole section of North Point Road and Old Trapp Road, NORTH: beginning at Patterson Park Ave. the south side of Philadelphia Road to the City limits or to Loney’s Lane and from Loney’s Lane the whole section along Philadelphia Road to Five Miles Point or Rosedale, SOUTH: along the bay and Patapsco River beginning at Gwinn St.  This included the neighborhoods of Canton, Highlandtown, Dundalk, Middle River, Rosedale and Sparrows Point.

At this time the German parishes all had a “Knights” Society that were created to:  foster religion, preserve good order, confer sick and death benefits on members and their families, serve as honor guards at church events and aid the church financially.  In May 1885, the Knights of St. Francis (St. Franz Ritter) was founded at Sacred Heart to fill this role.  The Knights of St. Francis were disbanded in May 1918 as a result of the U.S. entering WW I.

On August 15, 1884 a new rectory on Aliceanna St. (Foster Ave.), a two story brick building 40’ X 48’ containing 12 rooms, was annexed to the church and blessed.

On August 15, 1888 a new hall on First St. (Highland Ave.) was blessed.  Mayor Ferdinand Latrobe was guest of honor at the accompanying grand parish fair and bazaar.

German was taught at the school and church services until 1908.  At that time English sermons were preached at the 7 a.m. Mass on the Third Sunday and the High Mass on the fourth Sunday of the month.  The German language slowly was slowly replaced with English.  German speaking priests remained at Sacred Heart and heard confessions and ministered to the remaining German immigrants into the early 1960’s.

The parish continued to grow and in 1908 ground was broken for a new church and rectory on Foster Ave. and Conkling St.  The cornerstone was laid on October 4, 1908 by the Right Rev. Owen B. Corrigan, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.  The new church included a basement or lower church which was completed and blessed by Cardinal Gibbons on October 31, 1909.  Furnishing for the church came from St. Michael’s, St. James and the old Sacred Heart churches.  Parishioner Fr. Bernard Niehaus celebrated the last Solemn High Mass in the old First St. (Highland Ave.) church on January 31, 1910.  Parishioner Fr. Otto Bauer, ordained at the Josephinium College, celebrated his first Solemn High Mass in the new lower church on June 18, 1911.

The First Street (Highland Ave.) Church was converted into classrooms in 1912.  School opened that year with new Kindergarten with 62 children taught by Sr. M. Liguori.  Total school enrollment was 725 students in 1911, 833 in 1912 and over 1,000 in 1916.  In May of 1922, ground was broken for a new school on Highland Ave. and Fleet St.  School enrollment was 1,340.  The new school building was a two story brick structure, 11’ X 66’ X 40’ high, which included 12 classrooms and a full basement with a bowling alley.

The new upper, present day, church was not completed until 1922.  Fr. Edward Weigel, former Rector and builder of the church, blessed the church.

On October 9, 1932 the Archbishop Curley laid the cornerstone for a new school and auditorium.  The old church was razed and the new school built on Highland Ave. and Foster Ave.  The new school complex includes 14 classrooms, a hall basement, kitchen and Administration Building that houses the principal’s office, nurse’s room, library and meeting room.  The auditorium seats approximately 800 and includes a stage equipped for plays and showing movies.

Sacred Heart remains a vibrant parish in the twenty-first century.  The German emphasis diminished with WW I partly as a result of the anti-German feelings and partly because of natural assimilation.  Parishioners of Polish, Italian, Irish and other ethnic groups readily mixed with the old German families.  In 2011 Sacred Heart became a center for Southeast Baltimore Hispanics under the name Sagrado Corazon de Jesu.

John H. Foertschbeck, Sr.

March 17, 2013

Sources: 

Diamond Jubilee Book, Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, 1873 – 1948, Parish History compiled by Rev. Eugene Helldorfer, C.Ss.R.

Parish Annals at the Redemporist Archives, Brooklyn, NY.

Additional Photos-Courtesy of John H. Foertschbeck, Sr.

Redemptorist Rectors of Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, 1873-2012

Peter Zimmer                                       1872-1877

Joseph Helmpraecht                            1877-1878

Francis van Emstede                            1878-1882

Francis Eberhardt                                 1882-1887

Henry Urben                                        1887-1893

Henry Dressmann                                1893-1898

John Klang                                          1898-1904

John Hausser                                       1904-1907

Edward Weigel                                    1907-1915

Francis Dauenhauer                             1915-1921

Henry Otterbein                                    1921-1927

Francis Parr                                          1927-1930

John Beierschmidt                               1930-1936

Michael Will                                        1936-1942

Francis Dotzler                                     1942-1947

Paul Stroh                                            1947-1953

Charles Fleckenstein                            1953-1959

John Flick                                            1959-1961

Carl Langhirt                                        1961-1967

James Donlan                                      1967-1972

Arthur Mahoney                                  1972-1978

James King                                          1978-1985

Sylvester Feeley                                   1985-1988

Richard Poetzl *                                  1988-1993

Dennis Foley                                       1993-1996

Thomas Loftus                                     1996-2001

Gerard Szymkowiak                            2001-2007

Gerard Knapp                                      2007-2010

Robert Wojtek                                     2010-

Father Poetzl became the first native parishioner to become pastor.

SSND Superiors at Sacred Heart of Jesus Community

Sr.  M. Beda                                         1876-1877

Sr.  M. Elizabeth                                  1877-1878

Sr. M. Landelina                                  1878-1881

Sr. M. Damascene                                1881-1894

Sr. M. Vincens                                     1894-1910

Sr. M. Cortona                                     1910-1913

Sr. M. Flavia                                        1913-1915

Sr. M. Ambrose                                    1915-1921

Sr. M. Petra                                          1921-1927

Sr. M. Flavia                                        1927-1933

Sr. M. Constantia                                 1933-1936

Sr. M. Sylvia                                        1936-1941

Sr. M. Joanne                                       1941-1948

Sr. M. Aloise                                        1948-

PRIESTLY AND RELIGIOUS VOCATIONS FROM SACRED HEART PARISH

REDEMPTORIST PRIESTS

Rev. Charles Guttenberger

Rev. John Tribull

Rev. John Wise

Rev. Elgius Rainer

Rev. Bernard Rainer

Rev. Gerard Ellinghaus

Rev. John Guntner

Rev. Joseph Fisher

Rev. James May

Rev. John Kresslein

Rev. George Guntner

Rev. Mathias Zeiler

Rev. John Bauer

Rev. Richard Poetzl

REDEMPTORIST CLERICAL STUDENTS

Fr. August Bocklage

Fr. Bernard Dorn

Fr. John Schiminsky

Fr. Gerard Kurek

Fr. Joseph Gorney

JESUIT PRIESTS

Rev. Bernard Lochboehler

Rev. Albert Grau

HOLY GHOSTS FATHERS

Rev. Joseph Noppinger

Rev. Louis Schenning

DIOCESAN PRIESTS

Rev. John Mattes

Rev. Balthasar Mattes

Rev. Frank Mattes

Rev. Bernard Huebschmann

Rev. Otto Bauer

Rev. Clement Nuedling

Rev. Conrad Heimbach

SEMINARIANS

Rev. John Reinsfelder

Mr. Carroll Bender

BROTHERS OF MARY

Bro. Charles F. Eckhardt

SSND

Gerarda Schneider

Kilian Hock

Michaela Elbel

Stylitta Drescher

Alphonsus Ligouri Batz

Alverus (Anna) Riehl

Annaclete Drescher

Blanco Pasco

Calasanctia Haverkamp

Clotildis Sammet

Domitilla Wunder

Eustelle Hess

Hubertina Zinkand

Irenea (Josephine) Jaeger

Irmina (Philomena= Kief

Paohnutia Koenigbauer

Regula Woytowitz

Rose Leikam

Ruth Merling

Serphica (Anna) Feldmann

Sienna Siebenhaar

Sybilla Heil

Viatora Haverkamp

Vincent Ferrer Mattes

Herman Joseph (Agnes) Noppinger

Pacifica (Marz) Kern

Thomasella (Anna) Roberts

Blanche (Marie) Andrewscovitz

Ambrosia (Eliyabeth) Vasold

Karola (Louise) Kern

Joan of Arc (Catherine) Schumann

Seraphia (Margaret) Dorn

Marlene (Gertrude) Mueller

Generosa (Catherine) Sibiski

Dorinda (Clara) Ellinghaus

Angelia (Edna) Reif

Alexandra (Mary) Linz

Leonelle (Frances) Zeller

Xavier (Marie) Linz

Paulanna (Mary) Tribull

Conrada (Clara) Linz

Le Clere (Catherine) Zeller

Jonata (Anna) Eckes

Francis Joseph (Lucille) Mehring

Marie Charles (Margaret) Grauer

Emmanuella (Wilhemina) Rainer

THIRD OF ST. FRANCIS

Sisters Mary

Donata (Amelia) Busch

Deodigna (Mary) Huebschmann

Stephanie (Agatha) Busch

Clarissima (Margaret) Dietz

Clare Joseph (Anna) Kroenung

Saint Raphael (Anna) Voosen

Magdalen (Margaret) Friedel

Anne Jerome (Dorthy) Epple

SISTERS OF MERCY

Sisters Mary

Charitina (Margaret) Reiss

Damaris (Ada) Twigg

SISTERS OF ST. JOSEPH

Sister Aelred Joseph (Anna) Sojak

MISSION HELPERS OF THE SACRED HEART

Sister M. Clare (Marian) Pohlner

DOMINCAN SISTERS

Sister Mary of Jesus (Marie) Eckhardt

CARMELITE SISTERS

Sister John of Jesus and Mary (Dorothy) Wise

URSULINE SISTERS

Sister Mary Alphonsus (Mary) Busch

DAUGHTERS OF CHARITY

Sisters Mary

Beata (Anna) Siebenhaar

Valeria Dorn

Barbara Smith

GOOD SHEPHERD NUNS

Sister Magdalen of St. Gerard (Christina) Dietz

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