Location *5* on Church Map of Oberlin
(Oberlin Historical and Improvement Organization)
Ninety-five years after the first Sacrament of Confirmation and dedication of the church, Sacred Heart parish can look back over a rich history. For a few years in the early 1860's a few Catholic families and the Catholic servant girls employed in the village households were attended by the resident pastor of nearby Grafton. Oberlin was attached to Elyria as a Station. After the first OFFICIAL Mass on June 1,1880 Mass was held in private homes for twenty-five years. Steady growth required additional clergy and added Masses; social and educational programs realized corresponding expansion.
A handsome red brick and stone Romanesque church was built on the corner of Pleasant and Groveland Streets. The Oberlin newspaper for Saturday, September 6, 1890 reports that "fully fifteen hundred people gathered to witness the ceremonies connected with the laying of the corner stone of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the new chapel which the adherents of the Catholic church are erecting... Trains from the east and west brought hundreds of people desirous to be present at the first services connected with the new chapel." For fifteen years the mission parish was serviced by priests from neighboring towns until January 1906 when the Rev. Father Peter E. Dietz was assigned. The "residence" or rectory which was built under Father Dietz's direction beside the church still stands today on the corner, even though the church is no longer there. It was sold with the stipulation that the church building which held so many memories and had resulted from so many sacrifices of parishioners would be torn down lest it ever be used for an ignoble purpose. In 1909 the first Social Service Institute in the United States under Catholic auspices was organized in Oberlin by Father Dietz, a pioneer in the field of Catholic Social Action. New industrial development in Lorain County increased the number of Catholic families; to keep up with the expansion, a ten-acre plot on West Lorain Street was purchased. Between 1959 and 1963 until the new multi-purpose building on West Lorain Street was completed church events took place at both locations. Sacred Heart has played an increasingly active role in the religious life of Oberlin; in November 1995 the sanctuary was the site for an all-community Thanksgiving Service during which a new pipe organ was dedicated. This one-manual organ is unusually designed so that the keyboard can be divided to bring two ranks of pipes into play.
The present priest is Father William Padavick. Music Director is John Metzger. Hymns with accompaniment are sung from Missalettes in the pews. Some favorite hymns are "Eagle's Wings"; "Gentle Woman"; and "Let there be peace on earth".
For more information, please visit http://www.oberlin.net/~sacredheart/.