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Catholic Sacred Heart Church

The first Catholic Church influence in Kimberley was initiated by Father Coccola, the famous priest, missionary and explorer who visited the new mines on the "hill" during the period of 1900-1910. Periodic visits were made by the missionaries from St. Eugene's and in 1910, when work assumed larger proportions, another great missionary, Father Duplanil visited Kimberley. He would come up from the Mission to say Mass in Joe Irwin's log cabin at 5:30 in the morning, as breakfast was at 6:00, and work began at 7:00 A.M.

On April 16, 1911 the little mission had its first Easter Mass when Father Beck rode up from the Mission on horseback and said Mass in Tom Summer's Store, on Spokane Street.

The spiritual needs of the Mission were attended to in like manner until 1922 when the first Sacred Heart Church was built by Father Bessette on the corner of Wallinger and Howard Street.

It was a gala day when the church was blessed by Father Althoff, V.G. of Nelson, assisted by-Father Bessette and Father Stephen Murphy of Cranbrook. A choir and organist came from Cranbrook, and the little band of pioneer Catholics rejoiced that they had seen their dreams and hopes finally realized.

Father Bessette fathered his flock until 1924 when he was succeeded by the beloved Father Ehmann.

History would not be complete without mentioning how our early pioneers worked together, regardless of race or creed. Not having their own choir or organist, Mr. and Mrs. John Dickson, parents of Mrs. J. J. O'Neill, volunteered their services, and the strains of Leonard's Mass in F wafted from the little church, sung by Mr. Dickson, a stalwart Presbyterian, and Mrs. Dickson, a staunch Anglican, who also played the organ. The Midnight Mass found Dick Burke holding a flashlight as Mrs. Dickson played and sang "Oh Holy Night".

At the beginning of 1925 came the energetic Father Hartman, 0.M.I., under whose leadership the new church and rectory were built on the Church Hill and completed in 1927.

Father Hartman remained until the New Year of 1932 when he was transferred to St. Joseph's Parish in Saskatoon. A year later he returned to Cranbrook where he remained until 1937, when he returned to France, his native land.

Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 1978.

Father Anthony relieved briefly in the parish in 1932 until replaced by Father A. Michel, a pioneer of the Diocese, who stayed until 1935. Father Joseph Burns followed Father Michel in November of 1935, remaining until 1937, when the creation of the Diocese of Nelson brought changes and Kimberley, now being "grown up", was transferred to the secular clergy.

The first of the secular priests to come was Father F. Monaghan, who arrived in Kimberley on September 7, 1937. During his tenure he was instrumental in bringing the Sisters of Charity of Halifax to the parish, and purchasing the Sacred Heart Convent where many children of the town attended Kindergarten and piano lessons, and Catechism classes were also held.

Father Monaghan was also responsible for purchasing the old school house in the village of Marysville and the Holy Rosary Church came into being, and still serves the people of that growing community.

Father Monaghan at brief intervals, was assisted during his years here by Father Guiana and Father Smith.

On May 5, 1952, Father Monaghan was transferred to the Cathedral of Mary Immaculate at Nelson, where he worked with the Bishop for many years. Next to arrive in Kimberley was Father Cheevers, who had been transferred from Fernie where he had served for many years. It was during Father Cheever's stay in Kimberley that the parish hall was built in 1958. This proved to be a much needed asset for the parishioners, as it became the center of C.W.L., Knights of Colum-bus and catechetical activities, kindergarten, classes, teas and catering.

In May of 1967 Father Cheevers was transferred to Trail and Father Doyle arrived in Kimberley on May 6th of that year and was assisted in his pastoral duties by Father Martin who came to Kimberley in March of 1970.

As well as attending to the spiritual needs of the parish, Father Doyle and Father Martin worked arduously to improve the appearance of both the church and the grounds. The church was also Bavarianized to blend with the City's new look, making a most pleasing and fitting landmark to welcome incoming and departing visitors to Kimberley.

In June, 1977, the Sacred Heart Church celebrated its 50th anniversary at its present location in Kimberley, and Kimberley said good-bye to Father Doyle and Martin who were transferred to the Fernie area.

In July, 1977, Kimberley welcomed Father W. Harrison, a former native son of Cranbrook.

Father Coccola 1900-1910.
Father John Duplanil 1910.
Father Beck 1911-1922.
Father Bessette 1922-1924.
Father Ehman 1924-1925.
Father Hartman 1925-1932.
Father Anthony 1932-1935.
Father Mitchel 1935.
Father Burns 1935-1937.
Father Monaghan, Father Guiana, Father Smith 1937-1952.
Father Cheevers 1952-1967.
Father Doyle 1967-1977.
Father Martin 1970-1977.
Father Harrison 1977-1982.
Father John Doherty 1982-1991.
Father Edward Cachia 1991 - 1993.
Father Christopher Byrnes 1993 - 1995.
Father John Kellogg 1995 - 1997.
Father James Ratcliffe 1997 - 1998.
Father George Thattuparamil 1998 - 2003.
Father John Kellogg 2003 - 2004.
Father Romeo Tolentino 2003 - 2004.
Father Patrick Skaria 2004 - 2009.
Father Cecil Nunez 2009 - 2010.
Father John Kellogg 2010 -

Sister Kathrine Burns 1977 - 1983.

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