The first Masses celebrated in Warner Robins were held at the USO Hall on an altar made from stacked Coke crates and boards. On September 23, 1945, in the building we now know as the "Parish Hall," the first Mass of Sacred Heart Parish in Warner Robins was celebrated in our church by our founding Pastor, Rev. Harold Gaudin, S.J. In addition to serving as the church, this building also housed the church offices, the social hall, and the pastor's residence. The original church could seat around 200 people.
In September 1955, Sacred Heart School started and in 1956 the Presentation Sisters arrived from Ireland to take charge of the school. On February 8, 1962, the second Sanctuary was dedicated to handle our growing number of parishioners. It seated 500 people.
In 1977 the first rectory was built for the priests and dedicated on June 26, 1977. It has been converted to offices for the parish staff and, in 1999 a new rectory and a new convent were constructed.
In 1989, the Rosary Garden was built next to the church offices as a memorial to the Marian Year Celebration.
Our Parish Activity Center was put into use in 1993 and provides a location for spiritual, social and educational gatherings. It also serves as the location for Sacred Heart School pre-K classes.
January 1994, the Christian Service Center moved into a new facility to better serve the outreach projects of the Parish.
Building God's Church
After many years of negotiation the property adjacent to the former church became available. The property was purchased in September 2003. After a two year period during which the cost of construction and material rose sharply, the church had to be redesigned to stay with in budget. Finally, contracts were signed and construction began in November 2005. Construction took a little over 15 months and the new church was dedicated by the Most Reverend Bishop J. Kevin Boland on March 3, 2007.
Because of tight budgets, the original church building plans did not include stained glass windows. Since construction completed in 2007, the church has installed stained glass windows throughout the building and will continue to do so until all the windows are converted.
The new church is home to over 4,000 people, comprised of over 1,500 families.
A major influence on the design of a Catholic church is the community that will worship there. There is no "right" plan for a church.
Built of Living Stones is the United States Bishops' guide to church design and construction. It was the guidebook for our consultants and the committees. Its influence is seen in every decision made for the new church. During our process of selecting sacred art and furnishings, Sacred Heart was led by two liturgical design consultants: Cindy Swartz and Sr. Barbara Cekosh, CSJ..
The committee selected artists and purchased art to reflect the Sacred Heart Community. Ron Dixon of Dixon Art Guild, was selected to design and produce the leaded and stained glass windows. Ron, and his wife Annie, also advised on the harmony and cohesiveness of the other sacred objects such as Stations of the Cross and furnishing in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.
Rick Coon, of Raccoon Stone and Tile, was selected to create the altar, ambo, tabernacle base and baptismal font. The marble for these furnishings was quarried especially for Sacred Heart in Madagascar, Africa. The bottom of the baptismal font is covered with stone taken from a dried river bed in Brazil. The rounded river rocks represent all the diversity of the People of God, while the running water over them represents the Baptism that makes us all one family in Christ.
The font and altar are placed on the same sight axis in the church. This is to make a visible connection between the Sacrament of Baptism and the Eucharist. We live out our Baptismal promises through the Eucharist.
The ambo from which the Word of God is proclaimed and the tabernacle base also contain the same stone as the altar and font. Thus the presence of God in the Word and reserved Sacrament are linked to the presence of God in the waters of Baptism and the table of the Eucharist.
The religious theme that kept guiding the committee in its choices was "We are a pilgrim people on a journey to God through His Son and His Sacraments." It is our hope and belief that the beauty and dignity of the design, the splendor of the glass, the art and the furnishings will inspire, guide, heal, encourage, reconcile and reflect this community for the honor and glory of God.
Sacred Heart Parish seeks to live its Catholic tradition and to build a community of faith through worship, education, stewardship, Christian service, and evangelization in order to share God's love for all people.