Chariton's Sacred Heart Parish, organized as St. Mary's in 1869, turns 146 this year --- but there are other important milestones to observe. Two of those, the centennial of the 1915 church building and the 100th anniversary of the year that St. Mary's became Sacred Heart, will be observed during a late afternoon potluck supper and program on Sunday.
It's going to be a busy day at Sacred Heart. Mass will be celebrated as usual at 10:30 a.m. and the annual parish Corpus Christi procession will begin at the church at 3 p.m. The supper will follow in the Parish Hall at 5 p.m. All are welcome during the day's events. Just bring yourself to Mass or the procession, but a dish to share would be appreciated at the potluck supper. Meat, beverage and table service will be provided.
From Sacred Heart, the Corpus Christi procession --- on the Sunday after Trinity Sunday --- will proceed on foot after 3 p.m. to the homes of five parishioners within walking distance of the church where altars have been placed on the grounds. The procession will end at the church with the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. This will be a colorful procession, too, involving the Knights of Columbus in full regalia.
The supper and program will have an early 20th century theme, appropriate for the date of the church building. There also will be a soda fountain --- or do-it-yourself sundae bar --- and a program by a barbershop quartet for entertainment.
A part of the Sacred Heart story is told in the magnificent white rococo altar commissioned for the new church building and largely unchanged since (the base was detached and moved forward after Vatican II so that the officiant might face the congregation).
After its organization in 1869 and until 1915, the St. Mary's parish served people largely of Irish or German descent from a modest frame building deconsecrated in 1915 and hugely altered thereafter but still standing near the intersection of Orchard Avenue and North 7th Street.
In 1914, Herman Steinbach donated the current church location and ground was broken for the new building the following spring.
According to church tradition, parishioners of Irish descent purchased the statue of St. Patrick, to the right in the altar, and parishioners of German descent purchased the statue of St. Boniface, to the left --- united by the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, depicted above them.
I think it only fair to point out that my friend Kathy Willits decorates the altars and other areas of the church building for regular Mass and other occasions --- so she was at work when I took these photos Thursday morning and the flower arrangements you see are her handiwork. On Sunday, you'll be able to see, too, the white azaleas that hadn't turned up yet at the florist's.