Our congregation came into existence in 1897 when a group of German immigrants settled in Lunenburg County. Its beginnings were rather simple. Since there was no church building, the congregation would meet in their homes. The first Mass was celebrated by Father Welibard, a Benedictine priest from Richmond. Mass was celebrated every three months and Father would be there to hear confessions and perform whatever sacraments were needed at that time. His visit was always a time for great rejoicing and the congregation would make the day of it, preparing food for the social time to be enjoyed after Mass was celebrated.
In 1913, Mr. Fred Herzog, a non-Catholic, donated an acre of land to the congregation for a church to be erected. The members took an active part in raising the funds for the building. Bishop O'Connell graciously supplied the rest of the money needed. In the spring of 1914, a class of five made their first Holy Communion and in the fall of that year, Bishop confirmed a large group.
The priests that served this small community would travel to Lunenburg County via railroad and would be met by one of the members of the congregation. He would spend the night and in the morning celebrate Mass and later in the day the train would be flagged down via a lantern. Father would than board and return to Richmond. Eventually, the priest was able to travel by way of automobile and return the same day.
In 1939, Sacred Heart became a mission of St. John's Catholic Church in Crewe. It was at this time that the Precious Blood Fathers began their ministry which would last until 1978. It was during Father Fortman's time at Sacred Heart that the Mass schedule increased to twice a month. It was in 1948 that Mass was celebrated every Sunday and on Holy Days of obligation.
It was during Fr. McCarthy's pastorate that St. Theresa in Farmville and Immaculate Heart of Mary in Blackstone was built. The parish now consisted of Sacred Heart, St. Theresa, St. John and Immaculate Heart of Mary. Mass was also offered in Amelia and Victoria. During the war years (WWII), our priests served the soldiers at Fort Pickett.
The parish celebrated their 50th anniversary in 1963 with a special High Mass.
In 1965, the Parish was divided. St. Theresa and Sacred Heart making one parish. It was at this time that classroom trailer was added to our premises. It served not only as a classroom (which was much needed) but also as an assembly hall.
In 1979, the Cemetery Association was established. In 1980, the descendants of the original founders of Sacred Heart Church expressed concern regarding the future care of the Cemetery. It was in 1981, that the Sacred Heart Catholic Church Cemetery Perpetual Fund Association was established. By-laws were adopted and Trustees were appointed. All monies derived from the sale of plots have gone to the upkeep of the cemetery and which continues to thrive to this day. An additional two acres have been purchased to be used for future expansion.
In 1984, Sacred Heart was placed under the pastorate of St. John in Crewe. It was at this time that construction on the pavilion was begun. It contains a stage, picnic tables and restrooms.
In 1989, a Parish Finance Council was established as mandated by the Diocese of Richmond. This council is separate and distinct from the Parish Council.
Around 1988/89, Father Anthony Dinges became our Pastor. One of his many outreach ministries was visitation to the prison(s). He was ably assisted by Mrs. Therese Mansfield who was our Pastoral Coordinator for many years. Her responsibility was to oversee the running of the three parishes, Sacred Heart, St. John and Immaculate Heart of Mary. Among some of her other responsibilities was to visit the homebound, hospital visitation, and when needed to nursing homes and eventually took over the prison ministry.
It was in 2003 through the generosity of many parishioners that a new organ was purchased. And at the same time a device to record the music was purchased which was a blessing in disguise. Linda Shook Jenkins, our organist at the time, pre-recorded many of the hymns which we still use today. Linda passed away a few years later but her music continues to resonate in our Sunday liturgies.
Between the years 2005-2010, Sacred Heart Church experienced many changes. It was during this time that our parish was serviced by several retired priests. It was always interesting to come to Mass on Sunday and find out who would be our celebrant.
The parishioners have always been very generous to the needs of the Church and the buildings. The roof of the Church had been repaired and in recent years repainted. The roof of the pavilion has been replaced, financed through a grant from the diocese. The inside of the church and the community hall has been painted and upgraded where needed. In 2017, new tables and chairs were purchased for the Community Hall.
It was during Father Anthony Morris, CssR pastorate in 2013 that the parish celebrated the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Church. It was during his pastorate that we saw a new roof for the Community Hall and added closet space which was sorely needed.
Fr. Stefan Migac came in 2015 and has been instrumented in improving our Liturgical life. The tabernacle, which had been placed in the sacristy, was moved into the Church proper. An organist has been hired replacing the pre-recorded music. A new roof for the pavilion was added in 2016. And consideration for upgrading the kitchen which is very well used. Each year Sacred Heart hosts Brunswick stew events, barbecues, St. Patrick’s Day dinner, strawberry festival, spaghetti dinners, harvest luncheons and many breakfast events.
Our mission statement, “We, the parishioners of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, are called by Baptism to be faithful witnesses to the Good News of Jesus Christ, and are committed to building the Kingdom of God while serving the needs of others”, will continue to inspire us for generations to come.
List of Pastors and Service Dates
Fr. Welibard, OSB 1897-
Fr. Edward Bliss, 1921-1938
Fr. Fortman, 1939-
Fr. Carl Reikowsky, 1965-
Fr. McKinely Williams, 1984-
Fr.Anthony Dinges, 1988-2005
Fr. James Glass, OSB 2009-2010
Fr. Anthony Morris, CssR 2010-2015
Fr. Stefan Migac, 2015-present
Sacred Heart History
See Photo Gallery Below History