On April 30, 1952, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis purchased an 8 acre tract from John Roederer on East Eighth Street in Jeffersonville, Indiana for the purpose of establishing a new parish in the rapidly expanding eastern section of Jeffersonville, Indiana.
On March 10, 1953, the Rev. Robert J. Walpole was named as Assistant Pastor of St. Augustine's Church, in Jeffersonville, Indiana, while developing the building program of the new parish for which he was to become founding pastor, a pastorate he continued until his death in 1971. The new parish church and school, to be built at a cost of $240,000, was to be dedicated to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Ground was broken for the new church and school on August 7th of that year and the cornerstone was laid on October 4th with the Rev. Albert V. Deery of St. Augustine's parish officiating and Rev. Ignatius Hanley of St. Anthony's parish preaching the sermon.
The first Mass in the newly completed church was celebrated by Father Walpole on May 16, 1954. The following September, 285 students were enrolled in grades one through eight at Sacred Heart School, staffed by the Dominican Sisters of St. Catharine, Kentucky. Sister John Francis, O.P., was the first principal. Archbishop Paul C. Schulte formally dedicated the church and school on September 19th.
The parish was dedicated to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus as the "Font of Divine Love and Inexhaustible Source of All Graces". The name of Sacred Heart Church was chosen by Father Walpole because of his special love and devotion for the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Construction of a convent was completed by the opening of the 1955 school year. Two years later, school enrollment had increased so significantly that eight additional classrooms were added.
The original Crucifix, Stations of the Cross, Altar and the picture of the Sacred Heart over the Votive Candles were made by Father Donald Walpole. Father Donald was widely known for his talents as a sculptor and liturgical artist.
Originally our previous church space was designed to become a Gym with a church to be built on the front lawn near Eighth Street. As time went by, other necessities kept the church project in the background. The Archbishop suggested that if a new church were built it should be near Martha Avenue and Walpole Drive because of parking space. Later a Parish Poll was taken and it was decided to remodel and air-condition the present church and to construct a Community Building.
In 1974, Sacred Heart was renovated in keeping with the Vatican guidelines for liturgical celebration. A reconciliation room replaced the confessionals for the New Rite of Reconciliation. In 1977, plans were approved and construction started on a recreational building on the south grounds of the church. This building named in honor of Father Walpole and dedicated during a 25th anniversary celebration of the parish's founding.
Today, we have a new church building. This building project was funded by the sacrificial giving of many dedicated people through the Legacy of Hope campaign. The groundbreaking ceremony was on November 5, 2000. After Communion during the 11:00 a. m. Mass the congregation processed to the front lawn.
Following a hymn and reading, the plot dedicated to the new worship space was blessed, and all in attendance was invited to break ground together for our new worship space. Upon completion of construction a Mass of dedication was celebrated on December 16, 2001.
Archbishop Daniel Buechlein and eighteen diocesan and order priests, including our former pastor Father Raymond Schafer and all but one of the former pastors still living, concelebrated the Eucharistic liturgy for the Rite of Dedication of the new Sacred Heart of Jesus Church. More than 700 worshipers attended the celebration.