Sacred Heart Church
Located at 19589 Sacred Heart Ln, Bernard, Iowa, Sacred Heart Parish is part of the St Thomas Aquinas Pastorate along with St Matthias, Cascade; St Patrick, Garryowen; and St Peter, Temple Hill and is part of the Aquin School System.
Some Dubuque County residents say they are never out of sight of a church steeple. Sacred Heart Church on a high point near Fillmore helps to prove that claim.
Late in the 1800’s the parish was established in the midst of the fiver older parishes with churches in Cascade, Garryowen, New Melleray, and Placid. The first pastor arrived in November 1890. The following summer they built a frame church, which was dedicated on August 15, 1891. The small building could accommodate 25 persons, but additions were made as the parish grew in numbers.
In 1903, the parish built a convent and in 1905, invited the Cedar Rapids Sisters of Mercy to staff the district public school. There were three teaching sisters and one to manage the household duties. Eight years later the Mercy Sisters gave over the work to the Dubuque Franciscan Sisters.
Work on the new brick church began in the spring of 1911. The cornerstone was laid on June 18, and the building was completed on October 1 at a cost of $25,000. Two years later the parish built a two-story brick building housing four classrooms on the first floor and a large assembly hall on the second floor.
In 1919, the rectory was built. Later that year, the church interior was decorated in memory of James Clancy who had died in World War I. Later a replica of the Lourdes grotto was placed in the church.
In the late 1960s, the parish helped to form Aquin High School and the interparochial school system. In the spring of 1979, the Fillmore school was razed.
Twenty-one women entered religious communities and five men were ordained to the priesthood.
The parish celebrated its centennial on June 3, 1990. At that time, a history book of the parish was compiled and written. In preparation for the centennial, several changes were made to the church’s interior. The pews were refinished to a more natural hue. The silhouette of the famous artist Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper from the back altar was moved to the main altar. The statue of the Holy Family was repainted. A new sound system was added. Archbishop Kucera celebrated the Mass on this day, which was followed by a pork dinner, with numerous games and contests held afterwards. A large crowd attended, including former priests, sisters, and students of Sacred Heart School.
~Resource: Archdiocese of Dubuque 1837-2012, Jesus Alive Through 175 Years
In 2017, a major capital improvement project was completed that included a new roof and tuckpointing to the exterior of the church building.