Where God and education lead the way
By Phoebe Muthart
WARSAW — Out of the two Catholic churches located in Kosciusko County, one of those is Sacred Heart Parish in Warsaw. The church is led by pastor, Father Phil DeVolder.
Sacred Heart Church of Warsaw was first dedicated on the Feast of the Sacred Heart in June 1877. The location of the first church was on Market Street in downtown Warsaw. Sacred Heart Church moved to its present location on Harrison Street in 1947.
Sacred Heart School was started in 1957 with grades 1 through 3. Grades were added yearly until grade 6 was implemented. A new church was dedicated in May 1987 and the school added rooms to accommodate kindergarten and preschool.
In July 2008, the school and church were expanded again for more capacity. Four new classrooms were added to the current school in January 2009. The remodel and expansion of the church increased its capacity by 200-plus seats. The first Mass in the remodeled church was March 28, 2009.
The parish that began with 30 families now numbers over 800 families. Over 200 children attend the parish’s religious education program.
Sacred Heart offers several ministries to get involved in such as Christ Renews His Parish, which is a way to become spiritually refreshed and grow in faith.
The church also has a vocation committee, something only 20 percent of Catholic churches have, Father DeVolder said.
A free meal is offered the third Tuesday of each month. The parish also has mens and womens softball teams for fellowship.
In March 2014, a group of Sacred Heart parishioners began meeting to explore opportunities for forming a jail ministry to work with the Kosciusko County Jail inmates. Jody Burns leads the jail ministry. Committee members visit Catholics, who are incarcerated, and see that they receive Communion each week, if they so desire.
The parish also offers The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. RCIA is the process by which a person becomes a member of the Catholic Church through the sacraments; Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. It is also for those who want to learn more about the Catholic faith. At Sacred Heart, the RCIA participants meet Monday evenings from September through May.
Daily Mass is at 5:30 p.m. Monday and Thursday and at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. A Saturday vigil is at 5 p.m. and Mass is at 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sunday.
Sacred Heart’s chapel is located directly behind the main sanctuary. Mass is celebrated in this chapel daily.
Father Devolder presided over the church from 1988 to 1995 and then again from 2010 to the present. Doing a liturgy every week takes careful planning he said. “When you are a priest, you always have to create,” he said. “Children’s homilies can be difficult, and can be a challenge,” he smiled.
Sacred Heart School
Sacred Heart also has a school. James Faroh is the principal. This is his seventh year as principal of Sacred Heart School. It offers a Catholic education for children in kindergarten through sixth grade. Enrollment in the school has grown from 64 students to 208.
“It is my goal to use every resource available to me to develop and strengthen the educational program of this school. It is my mission to continue to carry out Sacred Heart’s motto: “Where God and Education Lead the Way,” said Faroh.
First and foremost, Sacred Heart School is a family of faith brought together by a common love of Jesus Christ.
In a statement found on the Sacred Heart School website, the school “Educates our students to the highest possible standards in a spiritually enlightened atmosphere. We provide an environment that challenges students to academic excellence as they grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ.”
Sacred Heart School offers a balanced curriculum encompassing the intellectual, physical, spiritual and artistic domains necessary for holistic development of the individual student. Art and music is offered once per week and is woven into the regular classroom curriculum. Physical education is offered twice per week.
The school has six sports in which students can participate. The school has 14 school board members.
For more information, visit www.sacredheart-warsaw.org. For information about the school, call 574-267-5874.
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