Our Story

The beginnings of the parish date from 1848 when St. John Neumann gave permission to erect a church near Colebrook to serve the needs of the Catholics there. The original church, of which only the foundation and a few tombstones remain, was dedicated in honor of St. Lawrence on July 12, 1853. The church was closed in 1862 after the closure of the Colebrook iron furnaces which caused most of the Catholics in the area to move away.

In 1886, Monsignor Adam Christ of St. Mary’s in Lebanon designed and supervised the construction of Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in North Cornwall. In 1889, Father Charles McMonigle was appointed first resident pastor. In 1900 the parish census recorded 335 members. In 1914, under the guidance of Father Edward O’Flynn, the church was dismanteled and transferred from it’s original site (an empty lot near the Bluebird Inn) to it’s former location in the center of Cornwall on land secured by Mr. Lloyd Wolfe.

On New Year’s Day 1916, Father Henry Strickland was named Pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus and did much to beautify the interior and exterior of the church and rectory. Father Strickland left Sacred Heart in 1918 for military service during WWI and endured a mustard gas attack. Father returned to Sacred Heart in 1919 after a brief time serving at St. Mary’s in Lebananon. His health forced him to leave in 1921. In 1934, he again was named Pastor and served here until his death on June 14 1944. Father Strickland is buried in the priest’s circle in Holy Savior Cementery.

In early 1920 the church was struck by lightning during 8 A. M. Sunday Mass being celebrated by pastor Father William Martin, which set the roof on fire and knocked the original steeple loose. A new steeple was erected.

In 1956, the Parish acquired 2.3 acres of land next to the church from Bethlehem Steel, thanks to the influence of Mr. Samuel Dickeroff. In 1978 under the direction of Father Stephen Jordan, the Parish Center was constructed to house classrooms, a kitchen, a social hall, and parish offices. In the 1990’s due to the growth of the Parish and the lack of space in the church, the 10:30 A.M. Sunday Mass and the Christmas Eve Children’s Mass began to be celebrated in the Parish Center. Beginning with advent 2003, the growth of the Parish necessitated the use of the Parish Center for Mass at additional times.

Over the years, the interior of the Church had been renovated and restored numerous times. In the fall of 1961, Father Matthias Siedlecki undertook a series of renovations. Following the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, Father Joseph Smith made changes necessary to accommodate the new liturgy. The last renovation was overseen by Father Andrew Marinak in 1997.

In 2009 Father Rodrigo Arrazola became Pastor of Sacred Heart and was given the task of looking into building a new church. On September 29, 2014 ground breaking was held for the new Sacred Heart of Jesus Church. However, in order to build a new church, amid much sadness and tears, the century plus old church, rich in history and sentiments, was torn down.