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Sacred Heart Parish - National Fund For Sacred Places
2021 Cohort

Sacred Heart Parish

(Catholic)

El Paso, Texas

Located in the Segundo Barrio neighborhood of downtown El Paso, Texas, five blocks from the U.S.-Mexico border, Sacred Heart Parish is a landmark of Mexican American history and community.

Sacred Heart Parish courtesy Sacred Heart Parish
Sacred Heart Parish courtesy Sacred Heart Parish
2021 Cohort

Sacred Heart Parish

(Catholic)

El Paso, Texas

Located in the Segundo Barrio neighborhood of downtown El Paso, Texas, five blocks from the U.S.-Mexico border, Sacred Heart Parish is a landmark of Mexican American history and community.

The Jesuit Order formed the parish to serve the Spanish-speaking community in 1893, and Jesuits have continuously staffed the parish since. Prolific El Paso architect Ernest Krause built the original church that same year. Due to the influx of refugees fleeing violence during the Mexican Revolution, the church was enlarged in 1923. Architect George C. Burnett led this expansion, replacing most of the original sanctuary with an English Gothic-style building but leaving the school (1892) and rectory (1898) intact. Outreach has been a core tenet of Sacred Heart since its founding. The congregation allowed Italian Jesuits facing discrimination to use its rectory, provided food to those in need during the Great Depression, led peacemaking efforts during gang conflicts of the 1960s, and helped create a health clinic and social service agency.

Sacred Heart Parish remains “a beacon of hope and place of refuge” within an underserved, predominantly Latinx and immigrant neighborhood, according to the congregation. The original school building is used as the Centro Pastoral, housing numerous social and education ministries designed to uplift the community. These ministries include a food pantry, social service office, emergency rent and utilities assistance, employment training, and adult and child educational opportunities. Academic courses focus on citizenship, computer skills, English as a second language, GED preparation, and literacy, and certain courses are led in collaboration with the Mexican Consulate in El Paso.

A $250,000 National Fund grant with $500,000 in matching funds raised by the congregation will contribute to the restoration of the church. The exterior will be repaired, and interior spaces will be upgraded to meet code and accessibility standards. To improve functionality, new lighting, HVAC, electrical, and fire alarm systems will be installed. This project will allow additional community members to utilize the church building safely and comfortably.

Sacred Heart Parish by Brian Kanof

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