Claire Kenney
Freelance Writer
May 2, 2017 // Perspective

Sacred Heart of Jesus: a ‘country parish’ with a servant heart

Claire Kenney
Freelance Writer

Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish serves the southern South Bend and Lakeville communities. It’s known to be a welcoming parish, or as one couple who are members of the parish describe it, Sacred Heart is filled with “just good folk.”

Father John Delaney, pastor, cherishes the communities that comprise Sacred Heart and St. Jude Parish, of which he is also pastor.

“…in both parishes, there are some very wonderful people. Both have a great ‘family’ orientation where the people are open and friendly,” Father Delaney said.

As for Sacred Heart Parish specifically, he said he believes that the fact that it’s a country parish makes it such a welcoming community.

Above the altar at the parish is a stained glass window depicting its name, the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Among the ways in which members of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in South Bend show their devotion to their namesake is by coming together joyously to donate their labor to parish activities and fundraising events.

“Though only at the edge of South Bend, and technically with a South Bend address, Sacred Heart has a wonderful rural feeling. People are very down-to-earth, no pun intended. They’re unpretentious, simple in their lifestyle and no one makes their importance felt — no matter what their income, education or successes. Everyone treats everyone else with appreciation, respect and as family.”

Father Delaney also commented on the tight-knit nature of Sacred Heart Parish.

“(The parishioners) pray together, work together, socialize together, and many have been connected to the parish for years — a number have been there since they were children and they are now well into their senior years,” he said.

Father Delaney believes that the parish’s supportive quality is especially palpable when members come together to organize a gathering. This is true no matter what the reason for the gathering, he noted. “One of the best examples is when they host an event, whether it be in the ministry of a funeral dinner for a bereaved family or one of their famous fish fry dinners during Lent — now also held in the fall, replacing the hog roast they used to do.”

Prior to 2010, and after much consideration, a decision was made by Bishop Emeritus John D’Arcy to combine several parishes in the southern St. Joseph County area — namely, St. Jude, Sacred Heart and St. Mary. A new church was to be built on Sacred Heart’s property.

The plan had not yet been fulfilled at the time of the transition to Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades in 2010, however. Bishop Rhoades reassessed the situation and decided to forego merging the parishes. He instead called for an overlap in leadership between St. Jude and Sacred Heart, and installed Father Delaney as pastor of both churches.

Father Delaney’s Sacred Heart Parish staff consists of four people: Parochial Vicar Father Julius Okojie, Music Director Del’Shawn Taylor, Administrative Assistant Mary Ann Padberg and Maintenance Director Steve Miller.

“Each of the staff enjoy one another very much, appreciate what each are doing for the good of the parish and ministry to the people, and share many good laughs as they do so well everything that is needed,” he said.

Sacred Heart of Jesus
63568 old U.S. 31 S.
South Bend, IN 46614


Mass Times:
Saturday vigil: 4:30 p.m.
Sunday: 9 a.m.
Weekday: T-F 7:30 a.m.

Saturday 3:45-4:15 p.m.

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