First Pastor: Rev. Francis Joseph Van Erp – 1859-1872
Fr. Francis Joseph Van Erp was assigned in 1859 as first residence pastor of Sacred Heart Church. He was born August 7, 1826 in Oss, Holland (Netherlands) into a titled family; he received an extensive education. However, his intense religious calling brought him to America in 1850. He settled in Detroit, Michigan where he reciieved further education and was ordained a priest in 1853.
His first duties in Hudson were to disband the Missionary Church located at Catholic Hill and, on October 23, 1859, organize a new Church: “The Church of the Sacred Heart Society,” located on Spring Street on the East side of the Village of Hudson.
Services were first held in an old barn that had been converted into a temporary church. In 1861, under the guidance of Fr. Van Erp, a new rectory was constructed, an addition was made to the temporary church, and land was purchased at the south end of Spring Street for a cemetery. In 1866, church members voted to build a brand new church, thus leading to the construction of a 44×90 foot stone and brick church on the same site; the new church was constructed incrementally and was not completed until the fall of 1868.
In June of 1872, after thirteen years as pastor, Fr. Van Erp was transferred from Hudson to St. Thomas Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Fr. Van Erp died from injuries he received in a freak horse and buggy accident. He was is buried in Ann Arbor.
Second Pastor: Rev. H. M. Schaeken – 1872-1873
Fr. H.M. Schaeken was the second pastor of Sacred Heart Parish. His pastorship only lasted about one year. Very little is known about him and no photo has been recovered so far. The only stories are that he was considered to be a good Catholic gentleman and a scholar whom the community was very sad to see leave. Fr. Schaeken was transferred to a church in Big Rapids, MI
Third Pastor: Rev. John Francis Elsen – 1873-1889
Fr. John Francis Elsen, the third pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, served from 1873 until 1889. Fr. Elsen was born in May 1813 in Holland (the Netherlands). He was educated and ordained as a priest there and later, in 1868, came to America. Fr. Elsen was a man who was inclined to be formal in both his manner and dress. Whenever he was out in the community, he would wear a silk top hat and a coat with tails.
In 1876, Fr. Elsen oversaw the addition of the bell tower and bell to the eastside church building. This made the church more visibly church-like and added the bonus of being able to call the faithful to prayer. Also, under Fr. Elsen in 1877, Sacred Heart added a parochial school, starting with forty two students. While Fr. Elsen was at Sacred Heart, the parish installed a hand-powered organ and a heating system.
Around 1885, Fr. Elsen received an assistant by the name of Fr. Carey, a young priest from Ann Arbor. However, this also involved Fr. Elsen taking over the pastorship of the Catholic Church in Deerfield, MI, meaning that both priests had to take turns going between the two parishes.
In August of 1889, after sixteen years in Hudson, Fr. Elsen was transferred to St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Grosse Pointe, MI where he would remain until his death in January of 1889.
Fourth Pastor: Rev. Alonzo H.B. Nacy – 1889-1899
Fr. Alonzo H.B. Nacy was born on April 21st, 1860 near Lapeer, MI. He first attended public schools in Lapeer before moving on to St. John’s Seminary in Kitchener, Ontario then to St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore. He was later ordained in 1886. Fr. Nacy was a man of very strong convictions and during his ten years as pastor of Sacred Hear Parish, he had much to say about the church and what was expected of its members as well as the citizens of the Hudson community.
Fr. Nacy was a great promoter of the Temperance Movement. He organized the Fr. Matthews Total Abstinence Society for not only Sacred Heart Church, but for the Hudson community at large.
Because of declining enrollment at Sacred Heart School, Fr. Nacy had to disband it in 1890.
Fr. Nacy was also a very talented singer and went to great lengths to make singing a very special part of a church service. He also published a little booklet of perhaps 30-40 pages in which he set out material pertaining to the responsibilities of being a member of the church as well as what had taken place during the past year.
Fr. Nacy, during his remaining years at Sacred Heart, continued his somewhat controversial manner until 1899 when, upon the death of Fr. Elsen, he was transferred to St Paul’s Catholic Church in Grosse Pointe as Fr. Elsen’s replacement.
While still serving as pastor of St. Paul’s, Fr. Nacy passed away on January 27, 1929. He is buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery.
Fifth Pastor: Rev. Joseph Francis Hallissey – 1899-1922
Fr. Joseph Francis Hallissey, the fifth pastor of Sacred Heart, was born on January 15th, 1865 in Springfield, Massachusetts. He was educated in Springfield and later in Baltimore, Maryland. He was ordained to the priesthood on December 24th, 1892.
In 1899, shortly after the arrival of Fr. Hallissey, the old rectory on Spring Street was torn down and a new one was constructed. In 1902, he replaced the bell in the Spring Street church.
On November 20th, 1904, in a 223 to 21 vote, the church members decided to build a new church on Market Street. Under the guidance of Fr. Hallissey, work started in 1905, with church members doing as much of the preparation themselves as they could. Work continued until late 1906 so that the first Mass could be held on November, 4th, 1906.
In 1907, it became evident that having the rectory so far from the new church was not very helpful. So, the eight year old rectory was torn town and a new one was built next to the new Market Street Church.
By 1909, the cemetery located at the end of Spring Street was filling up, so the Church members voted to purchase six acres of land on the southwest side of Hudson, which was called Calvary Cemetery.
In November of 1922, Fr. Hallissey was transferred to St. Leo’s parish in Detroit. While stationed there, his health failed him. He later became the Catholic Chaplain at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK. Ultimately, Fr. Hallissey died there on August 20th, 1951 and is buried there.
Sixth Pastor: Rev. William J. Hayden – 1923-1945
Fr. William J. Hayden was born May 10th, 1870 in Hubbardston, MI. After studying at Assumption College in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, he was ordained to the priesthood on July 1st, 1900.
Shortly after arriving in August 1923, Fr, Hayden announced that Sacred Heart Parish would build a new parochial school on the property that had been purchased across from the church and rectory. However, the actual construction of the school was not started until August 15th, 1928, when Fr. Hayden himself laid the cornerstone. Also in 1928, a convent was built just south of the new school to house the nuns who would teach there. By April 1929, the new school was completed and it opened that September, with the enrollment of one hundred thirty seven students.
In the spring of 1933, Sacred Heart School graduated sixteen students in its first four year high-school class. Fr. Hayden remained very active in the operation of the school, which provided a very solid education for many in the Hudson area.
In 1945, after 23 years of service Fr. Hayden retired for health reasons. He would later pass away on May 22nd, 1954. Fr. Hayden is buried in St. John the Baptist Cemetery in Hubbarston, MI.
Seventh Pastor: Rev. Bernard P. Hoey – 1945-1949
Fr. Bernard P. Hoey was appointed as the seventh pastor of Sacred Heart on November 15th, 1945.
In 1946, because of declining enrollment, Fr. Hoey found it necessary to close Sacred Heart High School. Along with other members of the parish, Fr. Hoey formulated a plan to improve enrollment of the grade school. This plan involved purchasing a used school bus in order to transport rural students to and from Sacred Heart School.
In June of 1949, after four years as pastor, Fr. Hoey was appointed Assistant Chaplain at the Motherhouse of the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Monroe, MI.
Eighth Pastor: Rev. James P. McCabe – 1949-1953
Fr. James P. McCabe was appointed as the eighth pastor of Sacred Heart Parish on June 14th, 1949.
During his service to Sacred Heart Parish, Fr. McCabe made many necessary repairs to the church and school properties. One of the things he instituted was the automation of the ringing of the church bell for the Angelus. While Fr. McCabe was on vacation to Europe, Fr. RAymond Gracey F.J. of Detroit took over his duties at Sacred Heart.
On September 16th, 1953, after four years, three months of service, Fr. McCabe was transferred to a parish n Wyandotte.
Ninth Pastor: Rev. Dominic I. Foley – 1953-1956
Fr. Dominic I. Foley was appointed as the eighth pastor of Sacred Hear Parish on October 7th, 1953.
Fr. Foley took a deep interest in the development of Sacred Heart School and through his efforts, a second school bus was purchased to transport children to and from the grade school.
In April 1956, after two and a half years, Fr. Foley resigned for health reasons. Fr. Gaynor of the Dominican Motherhouse in Adrian took over duties in Hudson until a new resident pastor could be found.
Tenth Pastor: Rev. Edward Hurley – 1956-1959
Fr. Edward Hurley graduated in 1933 from Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit. He attended St. Mary’s in Cincinnati four years after which he was ordained a priest at St. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Detroit in 1937.
During World War II, Fr. Hurley served as an Army Chaplain. He was captured at the Battle of the Bulge and was a prisoner of war for seven months at Stalig IX B, Bad Orb in Germany.
Fr. Hurley was appointed as pastor of Sacred Heart Parish on May 8th, 1956. Shortly after arriving, Fr. Hurley was instructed by the bishop of Detroit to start a mission at Devil’s Lake in Manitou Beach, MI. Rather than have the Catholic vacationers at Devil’s LAe come to Hudson for Mass, he made arrangements in June, 1956 – with the help of Fr. Robert Navarre from Toledo, OH – to have Mass said from June through mid-September in the Pavilion at Lakeview Park.
Under the guidance of Fr. Hurley, a solicitation of funds to build a church at Devil’s Lake to be called “St. Mary on the LAke” was started. An architect was hired to draw up plans for a new church building which would be constructed of concrete block and be able to seat 550 people.
While Fr. Hurley was pastor at Sacred Heart, the parish celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the construction of the stone church. The celebration was done in the form of a homecoming that was attended by over 900 peple. The Mass was celebrated by the Most Rev. Henry E. Donnelly, Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit, assisted by Fr. WIlliam Brannigen, Fr. Frederick Borck, and Fr. Raphael Dunigan, all of whom had spent part of their childhood in Hudson as members of Sacred Heart Parish.
On Hune 26th, 1959, Fr. Hurley received a new appointment to Grosse Ile, MI. Later, on June 2nd, 1995, Fr. Hurley died from cancer and was buried on Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Southfield, MI.
Eleventh Pastor: Rev. Gerald R. Loewen – 1959-1979
Fr. Gerald Loewen was a native of Detroit and was educated at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit and at Mont St. Marys in Norwood, OH. Fr. Loewen started his pastorship at Sacred Heart on June 29th, 1959. While here, Fr. Loewen was asked to minister to both Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s on the Lake in Manitou Beach.
During the fall of 1959, the church underwent a major interior redecorating process. When this project was completed in November of 1959, the parish had a celebration for the 100th anniversary of the founding of the parish back on October 23rd, 1859.
Fr. Loewen was pastor during the tornado disaster on Palm Sunday, April 11th, 1965, which destroyed much in Branch, Hillsdae, and Lenawee counties, including the church in Manitou Beach,
On July 21st, 1971, after one hundred years of being part of the Archdiocese of Detroit, Sacred Heart Parish was transferred to the Diocese of Lansing.
In the fall of 1978, Fr. Loewen oversaw the re-opening of Sacred Heart School.
On May 1st, 1979, Fr. Loewen ended his pastorship at Sacred Heart, wanting to “slow down” a bit as he had been serving two parishes for the past 20 years. He moved to the rectory in Manitou Beach and became the full-time pastor at St. Mary’s on the Lake. Fr. Loewen passed away on September 6th, 1988 and is buried in the church yard at St. Mary’s on the Lake.
Twelfth Pastor: Rev. Eugene J. Beiter – 1979-1982
Fr. Eugene Beiter was born in Johnstown, PA, but moved to Kalamazoo, MI at a young age. He was ordained in 1964 after being educated at St. Joseph Seminary in Grand Rapids, Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, and St. John Seminary in Plymouth.
Fr. Beiter was appointed pastor of Sacred Heart on May 1st, 1979.
Fr. Bieter was an avid sports fan who enjoyed all kinds of sports. He also took great interest in the operation of Sacred Heart School. In June of 1982, Fr. Beiter was reassigned to another parish.
Thirteenth Pastor: Rev. Jonathon Wehrle – 1982-1988
As a child, Fr. Jonathon Wehrle had been baptized and grew up at Sacred Heart Parish. He even attended Sacred Heart School for his early education as well. Fr. Wehrle was educated at St. Joseph Seminary in Grand Rapids and at St. John Provincial Seminary in Plymouth. He was ordained a priest in 1978.
Because of Fr. Wehrle’s past connection to the parish, he was affectionately referred to as “Fr. Jon.”
Fr. Wehrle’s stay at Sacred Heart was not very long, but it was very productive. At the time, the Bishop suggested that the school be closed because of decreasing attendance. Fr. Wehrle took up the challenge to keep the school open and started several programs to improve the school situation. Student enrollment increase, as did the quality of the education.
In 1983, Fr. Wehrle started the “Sacred Heart Spring N.2 Summer Festival.” This program was a three day period, during which food was sold and games and crafts are offered. All proceeds were designated for th Church and the School. This practice continues to today.
In November, 1983, Fr. Wehrle oversaw the purchase and installation of a new altar that faced the people. This was largely from donations of dimes and quarters from the children of the parish. Adults were limited to gifts of no greater than $10.
In 1984, as the parish planned to celebrate its 125th Anniversary of its founding, Fr. Wehrle and the parish decided to complete the basement social room. This was an ambitious project as the old basement was most aptly described as a dungeon, with poor lighting and a dirt floor.
The old dungeon-like basement was transfigured into a very modern and functional hall. The exposed old granite walls give it a very unique character.
On June 29th, 1988, after six years at Sacred Heart, Fr. Wehrle was transferred to a brand new parish in Okemos, MI.
Fourteenth Pastor: Rev. Paul Ruddy – 1988-2001
Fr. Paul Ruddy OSFS was born in New Lothrop, MI and grew up on his family’s farm. Before joining the priesthood during World War II, Fr. Ruddy served in the United States Navy.
Fr. Ruddy was appointed as the fourteenth pastor of Sacred Heart Parish on June 29th, 1988. Fr. Ruddy had an excellent background in teaching and school administration. In 1992, to conserve costs for the parish, Fr. Ruddy assumed the duties of principal of Sacred Heart School; a jog for which he was well qualified.
Fr. Ruddy was the major driving force behind the setting up of the “Sacred Heat School Educational Endowment Fund.” This Fund has been instrumental in the continued operation of the school, even up to today.
In June of 2001, Fr. Ruddy retired from Sacred Heart, but stayed nearby and often returned to help with Masses and to visit parishioners.
Fifteenth Pastor: Rev. Richard Thomas Eberle – 2001-2012
Fr. Richard Eberle OSFS was born and raised in Toledo, OH. He received an undergraduate degree from Niagra University with a bachelor’s degree in education. He later obtained a Master’s Degree in Theology and, in 1982, was ordained a priest.
On June 27th, 2001, Fr. Eberle was appointed as the fifteenth pastor of Sacred Heart Parish. Fr. Eberle’s extensive background in education was put to use as he taught the religion classes at Sacred Heart School.
One of the first things that Fr. Eberle did was raise the teachers’ salaries to bring them more in line with the rest of the diocese.
Fr. Eberle oversaw the move of the Hudson Ministerial Food Pantry from the rectory basement to a newly donated property across the street from the rear of the Church.
During Fr. Eberle’s tenure, the large Nativity stained glass window was repaired with a new aluminum frame to match the old frame with thermal pane windows on the outside.
In 2012, Fr. Eberle was transferred from Sacred Heart.
Sixteenth Pastor: Rev. Joseph Krupp – 2012- 2018
Fr. Joseph Krupp was born and raised in Montrose MI. He was ordained a priest in 1999.
Fr. Krupp was assigned as the sixteenth pastor of Sacred Heart on June 1st, 2012. Since his arrival, Fr. Joe has overseen the repair and restoration of the Church, rectory, and school buildings.
In July 1, 2018, Fr. Krupp was transferred to Grand Blanc.
Fr. Todd Koenigsknecht – 2018 – Present
When Jesus revealed Himself and His Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque perhaps His most famous encouragement was this: “Behold the Heart which has so loved men that it has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming Itself, in order to testify Its love”.
At our beautiful Church in Hudson, MI we have a Stained-Glass window of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the center of the sanctuary. Facing east, each morning the rising sun pours light through that Heart wreathed in fire burning with love for us.
Many times, when I look out over those at Mass they are bathed in warm red light from the Sacred Heart. That light is present at Sunday Masses, at Baptisms, at Funerals, at Weddings, during the silent moments when someone slides into the Church to spend a few minutes in prayer, and it shines on those gathering for Reconciliation. It is an image of what the Christian life is meant to be. Our whole life is bathed in that red glow. If we could hold onto that perspective how our lives would change.
In this light everything is meant to be and able to be shared with Christ. Joys are magnified when shared with Him and sorrows easier to bear. In times that can be so dark a light shines forth. In this light it is easier to have patience with others and rejoice in the patience others have with us. It is easier to forgive the one who has wronged us when we see that both I and they are bathed in this same light of His Heart. In a world that can be so isolating we realize in a profound way that we are never alone.
Come to His Sacred Heart which has so loved us and we strive to love Him in return!