Sacred Heart Church
History Of Sacred Heart Church
Before there was a Catholic Church in Livermore, mass was said occasionally in various homes in the community. Some of the first masses were said as early as 1862 by Father Marsh traveling from Fort Dodge.
In 1881 a church was organized by Father James Zigrang of St. Joe, and in 1882, a frame building that cost about $2,000 was constructed. During those days mass was held on alternating Sundays as the priest lived at St Joe and had other missions to care for.
Father Michael McNerrey, the first resident pastor, was appointed in 1889. A few years later, January 1991, the church bought land about a mile south of town and started a parish cemetery, Mt Calvary. In 1895 Father McNerrey started construction of a new church, a beautiful building of pressed brick with stone trimming and a slate roof. It cost $10,000 and was considered the best building of its kind in Humboldt County. The church was dedicated December 10, 1896, at which time the name Sacred Heart was first applied. At this time there were about eighty families in the congregation.
Father Maurice J. Costello arrived in 1905. He built a new modern rectory and had stained glass windows installed in the church. On May 19, 1919 disaster struck! The beautiful Sacred Heart Church was completely destroyed by fire. Father Costello set about raising funds for a new church. In the fall of 1922 the new building was dedicated. Stations of the Cross were donated by Bishop Heelan, Statues of St Joseph and the Blessed Virgin by Father Costello and his brother, Father George, and the organ by various first communicants.
For the next forty years Sacred Heart flourished and made updates to the church. Many Dubuque Franciscans and Presentation Sisters taught at Sacred Heart, coming from Humboldt and St Joe.
Through the years, two members of Sacred Heart answered the call to vocations. Sister Mary Gerald Hastings, R.S.M. entered the novitiate of the Sisters of Mercy in Dubuque at Mt. St. Agnes, September 8, 1940, and Father Donald R. Smith was ordained into the priesthood on June 1, 1957, at the Cathedral of the Epiphany in Sioux City.
There would be no history without the dedication and wonderful people who make up this parish. The years have seen many groups of people working together and sharing their talents. Today we enjoy a “parish team” approach, the entire parish working to spread God’s message.