History of the Church of the Sacred Heart - Boone, Iowa

The Catholic community of Boone dates back to June 13, 1860, when Father John H. Marsh said the first Mass for two Catholic families in Boonesboro (West Boone).

A frame church dedicated to St. Joseph was built at 5th and Clay Streets in Boonesboro in 1865. Father Delany (1868-1872) was the parish's first permanent pastor. Following the acquisition of a parish cemetery to St. Patrick, the parish name was changed to St. Patrick in 1871.

Father John Concannon (1872-1875), Father T. J. Mackey (1875-1878), Father Patrick Smith (1878-1886) and Father B. C. Lenehan (1887-1903) served St. Patrick's/Sacred Heart into the 20th Century

Father Smith purchased the first portion of the current properties at 12th and Marshall Streets in Boone, thereby moving the congregation from Boonesboro to the more rapidly growing Boone. A new frame church, named Church of the Sacred Heart, was built in 1880. When the parsonage burned in March of 1881 it was quickly replaced with a new brick structure that summer. All of the parish records to date were lost in the fire.

Sacred Heart School was established under Father Lenehan. Sisters from the Community of Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) in Dubuque staffed the school. Since Father Lenehan vacated his residence to be used as the first school, a new parochial residence was built in 1890.

On June 1, 1894, the cornerstone was laid for the current Church of the Sacred Heart. The church was a massive Romanesque stone structure, embellished with beautiful fresco paintings and magnificent stained glass windows throughout. The total cost was $35,000.

The church was dedicated in gala style on Dec. 18, 1894. The old frame church was utilized as a parish social hall for many years, after which it was moved to Madrid to serve as the Catholic Church there until the 1960s.

Sacred Heart Church became part of the newly-formed Diocese of Sioux City on Jan. 15, 1902. That same year, interim pastor Father Stravens started the local Knights of Columbus Chapter, Leo Council 814.

Father Saunders (1903-1910), Father Barron (1910-1925), Father Edward Masterson (1925-1931), Msgr. John J. Ryan (1931-1964), Msgr. J. L. Bauer (1964-1974) and Father Thomas Nash (1974-1981) all served at Boone.

Father Barron is credited with purchasing a home for the teaching sisters, repainting the interior of the church and building a new brick rectory. In addition, he established St. Mary's Mission, eight miles northeast of Boone, to serve the Catholics in that area.

A new pipe organ was installed for $3,100 during Father Masterson's pastorate at Sacred Heart. Msgr. Ryan oversaw a major redecoration of the church, substituting the Transfiguration scene for the original Apparition scene.

The new Sacred Heart School was built in 1951 and a new brick convent in 1958. Msgr. Bauer had a goal of building a new high school, which was completed in 1967. It was named Ryan High School in honor of Msgr. Ryan. Due to increasing costs and declining numbers of teaching sisters, the high school graduated its last class in 1970. The church was redecorated in a simple, plain motif that year.

The church was refurbished in 1978 with new pews and carpeting. In addition, St. Mary's Mission was closed after 64 years as a mission of Boone.

Father LeRoy Seuntjens (1981-1983), Father James C. McAlpin (1983-1990), Father Thomas E. Geelan (1990-1996), Father Gerald Feierfeil (1996-1998), Father Clem W. Currans (1998-2005), Father Steven Brodersen (2005-2011), and Father Randy Schon (2011-present) have served at Boone over the years.

In 1989, the church regained some of its original grandeur when it was redecorated with gold leaf stenciling and color. On Oct. 9, 1994, the parish celebrated the 100th anniversary of the construction of the Church of the Sacred Heart.

Sacred Heart School continues to provide a strong Catholic education for students in preschool through 8th grade. In 116 years, Sacred Heart School has graduated 1,307 students. The school's enrollment is approximately 150.

Sacred Heart Parish currently has 2,100 parishioners, and is clustered with St. John's of Ogden and St. Malachy's of Madrid. There have been 11 men from the parish who have become priests, and 30 women who have become sisters.