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The Full Story

Builts by faith and diverse in its expression, Sacred Heart Parish stands as a celebration of God's love and providence among His people, reflected in our church building, its surrounding, and most of all, its members. This is what gives Sacred Heart Parish the richness, the flavor, and its beauty.

Our beginning was in mid-1884 when 2 1/2 acres of land were donated to Bishop Moore of the Diocese of St. Augustine, by Captain Tole and Mary Ellen Fogarty, to be the site of a Catholic Church. Its location was at 1st Ave and 31st Street West, just two blocks from the water.

By Mid-1888, a 40x22 foot wooden chapel had been completed and dedicated to the Sacred Heart. On July 18th, 1888. Father Henry Peter Clavraul celebrated the first Mass with sixteen people present. Soon afterward, the Jesuit Father from Tampa began to care for the Mission.

With Bradenton's rapid growth, a second MIssion Chapel was built at 6th Avenue and 8th Street West on land donated by Mrs. Ada Hubbell. The Mission Church of St. Joseph celebrated its first Mass for fifteen families on Christmas Day, 1915.

From 1922-27, before Diocesan Priest was assigned to the Church of Bradenton, Father Charles Elslander visited churches in Manatee and Sarasota counties. In 1926, the St. Joseph Mission was moved to 12th Avenue and 15th Street West, a more central location and the present site of Sacred Heart Church. The two Missions, St. Joseph in Bradenton and St. Martha's in Sarasota became official parish churches on October 1st, 1927, with Fr. Elslander temporarily assigned to both the end of 1927, Fr. Patrick Halligan was assigned as the first resident pastor of St. Joseph in Bradenton, while Fr. Elslander remained at St. Martha's church in Sarasota.

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