By Jennika Baines
Sun Associate Editor
Sacred Heart Basilica closed a year of celebration marking the 10th anniversary of its appointment as a minor basilica and the 100th anniversary of the building with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Robert Cunningham on Oct. 10.
The Mass was followed by a banquet where over 200 parishioners, family members and friends came together to bring to an end a year that featured concerts, a parish festival, a triduum to St. Jude Thaddeus, a Polish heritage wigilia supper and many other events.
Philip Felice, a trustee of the parish, said the year also celebrated the anniversary of the church building. “The current church building was 100 years old on June 5 of this year,” he said. “So it was a celebration both of our centenary and of becoming a basilica.”
Felice said that 11 priests who had once served at Sacred Heart were present at the Mass. The celebration also included performances by the four choirs of Sacred Heart: the Paderewski Choir, the Polonez Choir, the contemporary choir and the newly-formed girls youth choir.
“They were magnificent,” Felice said. “I’ve heard them sing the roof right off that church, and on Sunday they were just magnificent.”
Felice said that while the year held a number of memorable highlights, the parishioners also take great care to preserve traditions that have been a part of Sacred Heart’s history. The parish festival in August, for example, featured the same dedication that it has for many years. “There were three weeks’ worth of work and preparation: 1,000 galumpkis, 3,000 pierogies, hundreds of pounds of sauerkraut and kielbasa,” Felice said. “That’s the kind of thing that people in the parish do. That’s the glue that binds.”
This dedication to both the parish and its Polish tradition is what keeps Sacred Heart Parish so strong, Felice said.
“I’m totally amazed at the people who come out to work, and these are not youngsters …. These people will work 10, 12, 15 hours a day,” he said. “It’s a Polish parish and the Polish people are bound and determined that we are going to keep that parish going and keep the traditions and keep the heritage.”