In 1891, God planted a seed of faith in our local community. The approximate 90 Catholic families first settled in Ladner forming a growing fishing and farming community and up until the late 1800’s , the closest church was almost 20 miles away in New Westminster. It was a long journey by boat or by horse & buggy. The Guichon Family home was opened to believers where Mass was celebrated once a month in the dining room until a church could be built at Port Guichon later that same year. Visiting priests would come to celebrate Mass by boat or horse drawn carriage and often stay overnight at the Guichon family home (which still stands today on River Road). Bishop Paul Durieu of New Westminster blessed the first Sacred Heart Church (Savoy & Church St) on November 15, 1891.
This church would be the place of worship for Catholics in our community for the next 70 years.
We Remember the Guichon Family and all of the early settlers who made God and the Catholic Faith a priority in their lives, forming the foundation of Sacred Heart Parish today.
We Celebrate with thanksgiving, the Centenary of the formal establishment of Sacred Heart Parish!
Here are some highlights of our 100 year history:
- 1917 – Sacred Heart Parish was canonically (formally) established as a Parish by the Archdiocese of Vancouver.
- 1929 – the McNeely Family bequeathed their “Jubilee Farm”, the property our parish campus occupies today, to the Archdiocese of Vancouver.
- 1931 – A New Junior Seminary Christ the King was established. On the recommendation of Archbishop Duke, the McNeely homestead was enlarged and remodelled to serve as a chapel and living quarters for priests serving the parish. New wings were added to provide accommodations to 50 young seminarians.
- 1939 – 1940 – the Benedictines of St Benedict’s Abbey, Mt Angel, Oregon, took over the education of the Seminarians.
- 1940 – the seminary was transferred to Deer Lake, Burnaby.
- 1943 – the Augustinians came to Ladner, taking over the diocesan seminary, which had been vacant since 1939.
- 1944 – Parish students were taught in rooms above the Chapel of the Monastery and this marked the beginning of Sacred Heart School.
- 1958 – Sacred Heart Elementary School (now called the Parish Centre), was constructed.
- 1962 – Sacred Heart Church @ Port Guichon was in such disrepair, it was torn down.
- 1962 – 1966 Mass was held in the old school gym.
- 1966 – The NEW Sacred Heart Parish church was built. This construction was largely through the voluntary labour of the parishioners and the active participation and guidance of the long-time pastor, Fr. Othmar Mussmacher, OSA.
- 1991 – as part of the Centennial Celebration of our local Catholic community, the church was refurbished and re-dedicated.
- 1992 – The Knights of Columbus formed a committee to build a state-of-the art Seniors Facility on the grounds south of the Monastery. Augustine House opened in August, 2003.
- 1994 – “The Three Amigos” (Gene Cyr, Mike Osborne & Ron Trepanier) formed a committee to build a new elementary school.
- 1999 – the new school was opened and stands proud as one of the top ranked Elementary School in the Province today.
It’s been a wonderful 100 years and we have so much to Celebrate! Year-Long Centenary Celebrations began on the Feast of the Sacred Heart, June 23, 2017, re-dedicating our Church to the service of the Catholic Community and others in Ladner, Tsawwassen, and Pt Roberts. Mass was celebrated by Bishop David Munroe, 12 priests and our Deacon, followed by a night to remember – Our Centenary Gala, hosting 800 members of our parish community to a wonderful evening of dinner, dancing and fireworks! Other Centenary events will be posted on the Centenary page throughout the year.
Today, Sacred Heart Parish, with approximately 1,500 families, is a well-established and vibrant faith community. It continues its tradition of very active participation and a strong sense of ownership by the parishioners.
As we venture into the future, we aim to be open to the changing needs of our people and respond creatively to them through our academic and religious education programs, our worship experiences, and our service and recreational activities. We Believe in the the Faith of the Church and trust in God’s perfect plan for Sacred Heart Parish. As we build on the Faith of those who have gone before us, we look to the next 100 years with great hope!