Sacred Heart, Milledgeville
The first Mass was celebrated at Milledgeville in April, 1845 at
the Hugh Treanor apartment in the Newell Hotel. Bishop Ignatius Reynolds of the
Diocese of Charleston, accompanied by Father J. F.
O'Neill, visited in 1847. In 1850 the parish was incorporated in the
Diocese of Savannah. The church structure was built
in 1874 and Father Robert Kennedy was the first resident pastor from 1889 -
In 1873 Bishop William Gross of Savannah visited Milledgeville,
which was then the state capital, and addressed more than 500 people on the
steps of the Statehouse. He went on to raise $4,000 to build the church on the
property that was the former location of the Lafayette Hotel.
The church was completed in April 1874 and contained handmade
pressed glass that had been in the Lafayette Hotel. Fifty-seven people were
listed as parishioners in 1878.
Father Robert Kennedy was the first pastor of the church from 1889
until 1894 and then the parish was administered by the Jesuit Fathers of Pio
Nono College, Macon until 1901.
A parish school was opened while Msgr. John Toomey was pastor in
1950 and staffed by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, but remained open
only six years.
The parish hall was also built during the tenure of Msgr. Toomey
from 1943-1956. In 1985 the hall was dedicated to its most famous parishioner,
the late Flannery O'Connor, renowned author, who started attending the parish
at age 12, left after college and returned a few years later, remaining in
Milledgeville until her death in 1964.
In 1956 Sacred Heart parish came under the jurisdiction of the
newly-established Diocese of Atlanta.
The church held a centennial celebration on Nov. 3, 1974 under
pastor Father Dennis Dullea, as Atlanta Archbishop Thomas Donnellan and
Savannah Bishop Raymond Lessard blessed and rededicated the building.
A new religious education building was dedicated on September 10,
1989 while Father Hugh Marren was pastor of Sacred Heart.