The North Bend Eagle


 

Sacred Heart windows
This picture shows the before (back) and after (front) of the cleaning process. The Czech words were hardly visible before the refurbishment. In fact, many parishioners were surprised to see them there after the cleaning.

Sacred Heart church, windows brighter after 134 years

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 12/24/14

Sacred Heart Catholic Church at Cedar Hill was suppose to be the center of a town, but when the railroad didn’t come as close as originally thought, the town blacksmith, post office and general mercantile store eventually closed.
But the church hung on.

Sacred Heart window

James H. Noteware was the man pushing for a town. Not a Catholic himself, he gave 15 acres to the Catholics of the area to build a church three miles southwest of Morse Bluff. The church was built in 1879 and 1880, with cut glass windows in a stylized design added later in 1880. Glass windows depicting biblical pictures were a lot more expensive, so 12 large windows with different geometric shapes were built with two smaller ones added later along, one symbolizing the sacred heart.

“The design has no meaning,” Sacred Heart parishioner Cec Hall said. “It was what they could afford at the time so they went with it.”

A entry way with steeple and an extended high alter was added in 1924 with windows moved to new places.

The church aged well under the loving care of parishioners. When Rev. Brian Kane was serving the congregation a few years ago, the statues were repainted. Many of the statues are from older churches that have closed, and the new paint job was needed.

As the 135th anniversary of the church approached, the congregation decided the church needed more than just cleaning. It was time to revitalize and repair the windows. The present pastor, the Rev. Jeremy Hazuka, had brought the need up to the church’s trustees in 2010. The money was raised from parishioners past and present, from all over the Midwest, as well as fund raisers the congregation held.

Architectural Glass Art of Lincoln was contracted to do the work. Last April they took out the windows on the north side of the church. They soaked them in Dawn detergent – seriously – to get the grime off. Most of the glass was put back into place with new lead.

The windows in the balcony were done next. They were held back to use for “spare parts” in case any glass could not be found to replace broken areas. The first group of windows were replaced mid-August. The other side was taken then and returned Oct. 8. A small arch window was taken down from the front entry. When it was cleaned it was found that words had been on the glass at one time. After cleaning the windows, the words “The Most Sacred Heart of the Lord Jesus” in Czech were repainted.

When each window was put back in place, a protective clear window was placed on the outside of each for protection.

The 135th celebration took place on the Feast of the Sacred Heart on June 27. The windows were not in place for the 135th celebration, but the 26 families that make up the congregation are enjoying them now.

“We range from 35 people here for the 8 a.m. service to 70 here for a 10 a.m. service on Sunday,” Hall said. The church shares a minister and alternates times with the Morse Bluff St. George Catholic Church.

This year the Sacred Heart Church will have the Midnight Mass on Dec. 24 and a special New Year’s Day mass Jan. 1 at 9 a.m. The public is invited to join the congregation and see the results of their labor of love.

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