Foundation of Parish – From Sacred Heart Church Golden Jubilee program.
Five score scattered Catholic families petitioned the Cardinal Archbishop of New York to establish a parish with a resident priest in West Brighton. Like the Israelites of old they longed to have God in their midst, begging for the privilege of daily Mass and the Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Under the tit1e of St. Rose of Lima, the first saint of the continent of America, the parish was founded July, 1875, and Holy Mass read on the feast of St. James by Rev. William C. Poole, the appointed pastor.
Through the inspiration and energies of Father Poole, despite the smallness and poverty of the infant congregation, a substantial brick church and school were built the same year. The incident of the catholic woman who by her uncommon frugality managed to save a sum of money to put a roof on her house and instead turned over the whole amount to the Church Building Fund is recited to show the early spirit of faith and willingness to make sacrifices that obtained among the Catholic men and women of those days. For what will ardent faith not attempt, what sacrifices withhold, what labors grudge, to build the tabernacle denied to Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration? Poverty when yoked with lively faith never suffered defeat by a seemingly insurmountable barrier. The early struggles and difficulties of the church in this country to erect her institutions of worship and education and charity, bears glowing testimony to this fact.
With the gradual growth of the congregation a larger church and a more commodious school became imperative. In 1900 the present edifice was built and dedicated under the title of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. At the same time plans for a new school building were accepted and approved. It was most apt that in the holy year of 1900 the broad foundations of the present fine superstructure were laid and the new church dedicated to the Sacred Heart.
With the initiation of a new century another title seals another stage of spiritual progress and as a sequence or monument to the early faith, spirit and sacrifice of priest and people, the church of the Sacred Heart of West Brighton stands silent and tensely eloquent.