Sacred Heart Cathedral - Quick Facts

by Chris Albracht
January 17, 2011

  • Established: According to diocesan records, the first Sacred Heart Church in Amarillo was built in 1903. The second Sacred Heart Church was built in 1916.
  • Priests who served Sacred Heart Church/Cathedral: According to diocesan records, Father David H. Dunn was the first priest to serve at Sacred Heart Church, serving from 1903 until his death in 1916. Other priests that served at Sacred Heart include Monsignor Bart O’Brien, Father J. R. Allard, Monsignor Thomas O’Brien, Monsignor A.F. Amirault, Father A.E. Robinson, Father M.G. French, Father Thomas J. Drury (first editor of the West Texas Catholic and later, the first Bishop of the Diocese of San Angelo), Monsignor John A. Steinlage, Father A.M. Bottoms, Father Edward Christian, Father James Sonderman and Father Wilmer J. Riechel. The first five Bishops of the Diocese of Amarillo served as pastor at Sacred Heart Cathedral: Bishops Rudolph A. Gerken, Robert E. Lucey, Laurence J. FitzSimon, John J. Morkovsky and Lawrence M. DeFalco.
  • First Mass: The first Mass was also the first funeral in the new church. The Mass was for Father David H. Dunn, who built Sacred Heart Church. The Mass was celebrated by Bishop Joseph Patrick Lynch of Dallas and concelebrated by 10 other priests on Oct. 5, 1916. The church was blessed and dedicated by Bishop Lynch on April 13, 1918.
  • Last Mass: The final Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral was celebrated Jan. 19, 1975 with Bishop Lawrence M. DeFalco presiding and priests of the Diocese of Amarillo concelebrating.
  • First Baptism: Henry Leslie Potter, Oct. 29, 1916, by Father Bart O’Brien.
  • Last Baptism: Samuel Perry Jr., Nov, 22, 1971, by Father Wilmer J. Riechel.
  • First Marriage: William Moran and Louise Mchyia, on Oct. 31, 1916, witnessed by Father Bart O’Brien.
  • Last Marriage: Ferdinand Cyril Teichmann and Mary Anna Simpson on Feb. 6, 1970, witnessed by Father Wilmer J. Riechel.
  • Last Funeral: Silas Amos, on Sept. 2, 1974, with Father Wilmer J. Riechel, presiding.
  • Notable events that occurred at Sacred Heart Church/Cathedral…include the installation Masses for the first five Bishops of Amarillo, the funeral Mass for Bishop Laurence J. FitzSimon and a Requiem High Mass Nov. 23, 1963 for the repose of the soul of President John F. Kennedy.
  • Did You Know? All of the windows from Sacred Heart Cathedral are being utilized at St. Mary’s Church, Amarillo.

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