In 1925, Father Stanislaus Wikarski suggested Archbishop Michael J. Curley that a church and school be established to serve the needs of the ever growing Graceland Park, a Polish Community. The first meeting was held on Palm Sunday, 1925. About 30 people were present and supported the new school and church with $100.00 each.
In January 1926, after the discussion of many plans and gradual implementation, the structure neared completion with a church, 9 classrooms and the Sisters’ quarters. In answer to the request of Archbishop Curley, Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth arrived in Baltimore in June 1927 from Torresdale, Pennsylvania to take charge of Sacred Heart of Mary School.
A new building program was started in 1950 with a new auditorium with the school enrollment at 600 and still growing. Father Stephen Chylinkski was appointed administrator of Sacred Heart of Mary in December 1951 and pastor in December 1962. After the death of Fr. Chylinkski, Father Leon Warcynski was appointed pastor in 1963 and began planning for a new school. It was nearly a million dollar facility which contained a school, auditorium, spacious offices, 24 classrooms, library and various other work spaces.
Father Richard Parks was appointed pastor in 1982 and in 1999 he was elevated to Monsignor title by Pope John Paul II. At the end of July 1999, the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, left SHM after 73 years of service. Mrs. Helen Roby was appointed principal.
Monsignor Parks retired in June 2007 and Father George Gannon was appointed in February 2008. After Mrs. Roby’s retirement, Ms. Pam Walters was appointed principal in 2007. However, due to declining enrollment and various financial challenges, it was announced that SHM was one of the 13 Archdiocesan Schools slated to close at the end of the 2010 school year. After 83 years, our school closed on June 30, 2010.
Even though the school has closed, we have a wonderful joint Children’s Faith Formation Program with St. Rita Parish in Dundalk run by incredible volunteers who seek to support our children in growing their faith. In addition, Sacred Heart of Mary Parish continues to be a vibrant Catholic community with wonderful parishioners who participate regularly in parish functions, including Mass, a variety of ministries, special celebrations, and community and fundraising events.