The years immediately after the Civil War brought several families of Czech and Slovic nationality to the areas around Petersburg. There were 29 Catholic families who settled in Prince George and after pooling their time and resources they erected the first building at Sacred Heart, a wooden frame structure which was dedicated on September 28, 1906 (the Feast of St. Wenceslaus).
The first pastor to serve this ethnic parish was Father Jana Konicek, a Czech priest who remained with the community until his death in 1912. For the two years that followed, the parish was without a pastor until the arrival of Father Leo Stefl. He too was Czech, since fluency in the language was critical to ministry in the community. During Father Stefl’s pastorate from 1913 to 1940, the ethnic background was kept alive through celebrations of Czech customs, traditional dances and education in the “native” language.
Sacred Heart’s next pastor was Father Stephen Shrahulek, a Benedictine, also of Czech origin, under whose leadership the present brick structure was built. Other pastors included Father Lawrence Prochazka (1961-1964), Father Shrahulek (who returned to serve until his death on Christmas Eve, 1967), Father Norbert Scarvela (Administrator January to June 1968), Father Lawrence Farley (1968-1973). Father Anthony Dinges (1973-1977), Father J. P. Blankenship (1977-1984), Father Kevin O’Brien (1984-1987), Father Joseph Majewski (1987-1996), Father James Gallagher, (1996-2003), (Father Jay Wagner-2003-2013) and Father Christopher Hess – (2013 – present).
During the years since its meager beginning, the parish community has grown from its original 29 families to over 500 families with a melding of many varied ethnic backgrounds, which adds to the vibrancy of the community.