Sacred Heart Parish was formed in 1902, in the ‘boom town’ days of Barrow-in-Furness, to serve the needs of the rapidly expanding population in the Marsh, Risedale, and Newbarns districts of the growing industrial town. Land was acquired and a temporary building erected to serve as the church while the school building was developed. In common with many parishes that were set up in those days, the school hall was used as the church. This continued until 1930 when the current church was opened.
The parish initially covered a wide area, virtually the whole of the south-eastern sector of Barrow Borough, ranging from communities on the town centre streets that border on to St. Mary’s parish out to the village of Leece and down to the coast road. In the 1950s, Holy Family church was set up as a chapel served from Sacred Heart and this became a separate parish in its own right with its own primary school. The current church was built alongside the original chapel/parish hall in the late 1970’s. Even after this split, Sacred Heart parish still covers a wide area, retaining the large rural areas to the south east of the town.
Sacred Heart Primary School is a vital and integral part of the parish, having educated generations of parishioners. Many of our youngsters have grandparents who went through the school in days gone by. The school maintains close links with the parish community. Most pupils go on to St Bernard’s, the town’s Catholic High School.
In the late ‘90s an area at the back of the Church was developed into “The Social Area”. This is used for a variety of purposes, but most frequently for getting together after weekday and Sunday masses for a cuppa and a natter. The Sacred Heart Ladies Group meets there on Wednesday afternoons and the Youth Group on Friday evenings. This space can be booked for use outside service times.
The parish was linked to St. Columba’s on Walney Island and St Patrick’s on Barrow Island following Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue’s “Fit For Mission” Review, which led to the re-ordering of the whole diocese in 2009. Since the three parish communities were linked, the Parish Priest has lived on Walney. So, all contact should be through the St Columba’s Presbytery (see Contacts Page for the address and contact details) or by telephone on 01229 471405.
The Sacred Heart Presbytery is gradually becoming ‘The Parish Centre’. It houses:
- The Parish offices, which are staffed on an irregular part-time basis.
- The Sacred Heart Pre-School Group – an independent nursery (Tel No. 01229 821498)
- Parish rooms, which are used by Parish Groups such as:
The Children’s Liturgy Group
Sacred Heart Brownies and Rainbows
A full parish history, written by Carl Sylvester, was published in the parish magazine “Heartbeat” some years ago. It is hoped that we can publish this in a later update to this website.