With great devotion and joy, the Polish community at St. Mary’s Church (the Polish Mission since 1904) built the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It was dedicated on September 29, 1918. During the 1920’s the Parish repaid it’s debt, completed the Church interior and opened a hall. It supported the Sacred Heart school, a Polish Saturday school, and missionary endeavours. Many clubs and societies flourished. By 1931 numerous Poles lived in Kitchener. The economic hardships of the depression pressed parishioners to care for one another and strengthen their spiritual bonds.
Two traditions which began at that time were the Optatek (Christmas supper) and the Swieconka (Easter supper). Immigration slowed to a trickle. By 1937 only one Mass of three retained a Polish sermon. After the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939, the parish pleged to support those whose lives were affected by the war. The pastor, Father Jozef Capiga, C.R., inaugurated the Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help in 1942 with this in mind. Polish war veterans immigrated to Canada in 1946, and civilian refugees followed in 1948. Sacred Heart welcomed the newcomers warmly. Each new decade brought gifts and challenges. During the 1970’s, the neighbourhood changed. The parish population declined. Many positive developments marked this era, however; the Parish Council revived; the role of women in liturgical celebrations increased; the parish enjoyed good management, and improvements were made to the church.
Sacred Heart saw another influx of Polish refugees in the 1980’s. The English speaking community grappled with social issues of the day. The School Sisters of Notre Dame, active in the church since its founding, closed their mission in 1985. In the early years of the New Millennium the church was made wheelchair accessible.