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100 years of faith
Sacred Heart Catholic Church celebrates centennial anniversary
Sacred Heart pic2
Students at Sacred Heart School wait in line to take communion during Mass at Sacred Heart Church on Friday. - photo by MAEGAN MARTENS / The Journal

Through four churches, two locations and now a growth of over 2,000 parishioners, Sacred Heart Catholic Church has spread the word of God for over 100 years.

“We are thanking God for 100 years of service to God’s people in this town,” said Father Mark Wagner. “We are celebrating 100 years of growth.”

The church will celebrate their 100 years of service on Sunday with a Mass and concert starting at 11 a.m., welcoming all those who wish to attend.

The celebration will start with a tri-lingual outdoor Mass in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Mass will then be followed by a free barbecue and concert featuring the world-famous Tony Melendez, who was born without arms and plays the guitar with his feet.

Sacred Heart is happy Melendez will share his musical talents with them to help celebrate the church’s 100 year celebration on Sunday.

“Tony can teach us a lot about how to be grateful to God,” Wagner said. “He was born with a terrible handicap, but he still thanks God and praises him with his music.”

Sacred Heart will also have another celebration in November with a Mass for all the people who have passed away in the past 100 years, followed by a dinner and dance.

The original church was founded in 1888 and was located off of South Broadway and A streets, but was considered a mission church that was served by St. Stanislaus Church in Modesto. The 100 year celebration is in recognition of the 1910 date of when the first priest was sent to Sacred Heart Catholic Church to serve the people and they were considered a Parish.

The first church was built in 1888 by a group of Irish immigrants who had a strong devotion to Sacred Heart in Ireland at the time. The church was constructed of wood and cost $2,500 to build.

The church was then moved to its current location off of Lyons Avenue and Rose Street in 1912 and was expanded to meet the needs of a growing congregation.

The new church had a seating capacity of 400. Then in 1928 a fire burned down the second church. It was rebuilt a year later with the same design for $30,000.

The fourth and current church was built in 1972 for a total cost of $819,454 with a total capacity of 1,000 people.

In the 100 years of service, Sacred Heart has continued to grow in size and continued to strive for a unity of all parishioners from all cultures.

Sacred Heart is the only church in Turlock that offers tri-lingual masses, Wagner said. Currently they offer 11 Sunday Masses with a majority of those Masses filled.

“We are a welcoming parish of every culture trying to serve them according to their needs,” he said. “We have open hearts for whoever wishes to come. We want to continue to work at fostering unity among thee parishioners of different cultures.”

To celebrate Sacred Heart’s 100 years of service on Sunday, attend Mass and the concert at 11 a.m. at the Sacred Heart School playground located on 1225 Cooper Ave.

To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.