Sacred Heart stands firm through school demolition

By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

DAVENPORT — In a little over a week, Valley Construction of Rock Island, Ill., took down the former Sacred Heart Cathedral School. Alumni, parishioners and other spectators stopped by to watch part of the demolition process Aug. 7-16.

Anne Marie Amacher
Valley Construction of Rock Island, Ill., began demolition of the former Sacred Heart Cathedral School in Davenport on Aug. 7 and completed the job Aug. 16. The site will become a parking lot for the cathedral and its new diocesan center.

The first class graduated from Sacred Heart in 1908, well before the recently demolished building began construction in 1913, was opened in 1914 and dedicated in January 1915. The school remained open until it merged with Holy Family Catholic School to form All Saints Catholic School in 2004. At that point the merged school moved to the Holy Family campus in Davenport.
An all-school alumni reunion was held June 24 so that graduates and former students could go through the building a final time before demolition. It drew 500 people, including some who didn’t attend Sacred Heart Cathedral School.

Father Rich Adam, pastor of Sacred Heart Cathedral, watched the demolition from his office window. From that vantage point he could view a Sacred Heart statue that remained standing through the demolition of the school and construction of the new diocesan center. “In the midst of our world of chaos our Lord is right there! I marvel that with everything going on around this statue that it’s still standing. It will soon be moved to a new location, but we’re trying to decide where that location will be. This statue of the Sacred Heart has the inscription below ‘I have no hands or feet but yours!’ Again, many, many messages could come from this.”

Two fundraisers for construction of the diocesan center/parish hall have come out of the demolition of the school. Parishioner George Moore salvaged the classroom chalkboards and created small replicas — 15-inch by 19-inch by one-half-inch wood-framed backboards. Each comes with an eraser and slot on the bottom for chalk and a memorial plaque that reads: “Sacred Heart School 1913-2017.”

Parishioner Mary Costello’s daughter Judith salvaged some of the red curtains from the school’s auditorium which Mary used to create keepsake heart pillows, scarves and small-framed pictures for sale. The 100-year-old, red velvet curtains “remind us of Christ’s passion, of the sanctuary of the Lord, of the reverence owed to God and it reminds us of ‘old Sacred Heart,’ our school,” a flier reads.

For more information about the chalkboards or curtain creations, call Sacred Heart parish office at (563) 324-3257.

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