Sacred Heart Church
Sacred Heart church in Merrill is designated as a church “for additional use.” This means that it may be used for an additional Sunday Mass along with the ones in Hemlock. The buildings may be used for other occasions also. The Hall is used for some of the social functions of the new parish. There may be funerals and weddings celebrated at Sacred Heart but only for people who have a current connection to the former parish. Other weddings and funerals will take place in the main parish church in Hemlock.
A little history about Sacred Heart:
The church is consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a devotion that emphasizes the unending love, compassion and long-suffering heart of Christ for humanity. The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart is celebrated the second Friday after Pentecost.
Organization of the church began in 1886 and a Fr. Brown was named its first pastor in 1896. In 1897, a rectory was constructed in the heart of the village, and it remains a recognized historic structure. Sacred Heart’s first school was constructed in 1906, and in 1952 an additional school building was constructed adjacent to the church. The high school closed in 1960, followed by the closing of the elementary school in 1970. The current church was erected after a fire destroyed the prior church in the early 1950’s.
A treasure of the former parish is the church’s beautiful windows which were put in place in 1977. The elegant cut glass is embedded in sand-epoxy matrix (a somewhat new mode for stained glass as compared to earlier windows). The current church was designed by George Moutstatson of Traverse City. He utilized the church’s original wood-carved statuary and the large crucifix that was saved after the fire. In 1977, a bell tower project extended and reinforced the existing tower, and exterior lighting was added as well as an electronic carillon system of chimes.