Dowagaic celebrates 175th Mass of Sacred Heart Mission

A portrait of Chief Leopold Pokagon of the Potawatomi tribe.

DOWAGIAC — Bishop Paul J. Bradley celebrated the 175th anniversary Mass at Sacred Heart Mission with Fr. Kevin Covert and deacons Art Morsaw and Frank Wesolowski.
The Mass included Native American customs to pay tribute the parish’s heritage.
Chief Leopold Pokagon and his tribe of Potawatomi Indians built a log church at 51841 Leach Road in 1838 and deeded the 40 acres of land on which it stood to the Catholic Bishop of Detroit.
Pokagon, who came to Silver Creek Township from his village outside of nearby Niles, was buried on this site in 1841.
During the early 1840s the Holy Cross Fathers of Notre Dame in Indiana ministered to the Indians. In 1844, Fr. Theophile Marlvault became the church’s permanent priest. He was followed by Fr. Louis Baroux, who served who served most of the years from 1847-70 and was buried at the parish in 1897.
In the mid-19th century, many Irish immigrants settled in the vicinity and attended Sacred Heart.
A white frame church was built in 1861. It burned in 1886 and was immediately replaced by the present structure.†

Author: Arnold Medina

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *