SALT LAKE CITY — “Thank you to all the parishioners who made this church a living symbol of love … for our diocese and for the world,” said Bishop Oscar A. Solis to the people gathered on June 25 at Sacred Heart Parish’s Mass of Thanksgiving in celebration of 100 years of faith.
The Mass began with Father Eleazar Galvan Silva, pastor, thanking the bishop and all those in attendance for helping to celebrate the parish’s history. Speaking in both English and Spanish in recognition of the parish’s diverse community, he said, “Dear brothers and sisters, 100 years ago the Lord decided to establish his home here in Sacred Heart Church.”
Throughout the past 100 years, the parishioners, priests and laypersons worked together to strengthen the church into a living testament to God’s dwelling among his people, he said.
When Bishop Solis took the lectern for his homily, he started by thanking Fr. Silva and all the other priests who gathered to assist him in the thanksgiving Mass. He also delivered his remarks in both English and Spanish.
“What a beautiful day to be gathered here today in order to celebrate … 100 years of this establishment,” Bishop Solis said. “I am delighted to be here with you today.”
When the parish was established in 1917, it was named Our Divine Savior Parish. However, when a new church was constructed in 1950 and dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the parish was renamed to Sacred Heart Parish.
The many years that have gone by have touched Sacred Heart Parish in a special way, Bishop Solis said. Every year changed the community slightly, until 100 years’ worth of change created a unique story that few other parishes could emulate, he said.
“This colorful and interesting story of the church of the Sacred Heart simply proves that love lasts, that love endures,” Bishop Solis said.
The love of God for his people is revealed indisputably through the parish’s success throughout the course of the past century, he said.
Despite the many years, “this church remains to be a place of worship and fellowship,” Bishop Solis said. “We are inspired by the faith of those who launched and established this church.”
At the end of his homily, Bishop Solis asked all the members of the parish to rise and be recognized for their part in carrying the parish’s legacy into a new century.
During the Preparation of the Gifts, different people from the parish approached the stage, carrying the bread and wine, flowers and other sacramental offerings. Among them were two young girls who recently had celebrated their quinceañeras. They brought flowers to the altar, while two newly confirmed young people carried up the wine. Also, a married couple offered their wedding cord at the table of the Lord.
Sacred Heart Parish’s 100-year anniversary celebration began with a concert on June 23. The “Windows of Faith” concert was named after the 16 stained glass windows that sparkle along the church’s east and west sides. Each of the 14 pieces performed at the concert was in honor of one or two of the holy men or women portrayed in the windows.
The concert also paid homage to the men and women who directly helped Sacred Heart Parish or spiritually inspired its parishioners over the past 100 years. The first performance piece, Cor árca légem cóntinens, is a plainchant hymn from the Liturgy of the Divine Office for the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. “Holy men and women of the Roman Catholic tradition have been singing this hymn on this feast day in some form for over a thousand years,” according to the concert material.
This Gregorian chant honored the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which is depicted on the first window of the west side of Sacred Heart Catholic Church. In Latin, the choir sang, “Oh Jesus, to thee be glory, who pourest grace from thy heart, with the Father and the loving spirit unto everlasting ages.”
Many different styles of music were used to honor the holy men and women depicted on the stained glass windows of the church, each song representing the holy figure in some way. The Irish folk song The Last Rose of Summer was paired with the Right Rev. Lawrence Scanlan, the first bishop of Salt Lake City, and with Mother Mary Augusta, a Holy Cross nun who went on to found St. Mary’s Academy and Holy Cross Hospital in Utah.
The Last Rose of Summer “appeared on a number of St. Patrick Day celebration programs in Salt Lake City when Bishop Scanlan was at the helm,” according to the concert material, adding that the song was chosen to represent Bishop Scanlan and Mother Mary Augusta because of their work ministering to mining camps in Utah and the Intermountain West, where many Irish immigrants worked.
In addition to the combined choirs of Sacred Heart Church, the concert’s choral music was performed by the Lux singers, a religious choral organization based in Utah with a mission “to sing great works from the masters of sacred music; … We believe that sacred choral music can change the lives of those who hear it,” according to their promotional material.
Many other musicians provided their talents to the concert as well, including Haruhito Miyagi, director of music and organist at Sacred Heart Catholic Church.