A Long History
As the fourth oldest parish in the diocese, Sacred Heart has a long history of faith as well as Catholic education.
In the 1820s, Winchester was a Shenandoah Valley market town that Father John Mahony visited every third Sunday. By the 1860s, Sacred Heart of Jesus was a mission of St. Peter Church in Harper’s Ferry, W.Va. During the Civil War, the little stone church in Winchester was used by Federal troops as a stable and afterwards destroyed.
In 1868, land was purchased for a new church on Loudon Street. Mass was celebrated in private homes and at the Red Lion Tavern until the church was completed. When Wheeling Bishop John Kain came to dedicate Sacred Heart of Jesus Church on July 28, 1868, he donated a horse that was raffled off to benefit the building fund. Winchester Catholics worshipped in Sacred Heart Church on Loudon Street for the next 121 years. Sacred Heart became an independent parish in 1870. One hundred and four years later the parish joined the newly formed Arlington Diocese. Ground was broken in 1987 for the current church building. Mass was first celebrated there on Palm Sunday of 1989.