Sacred Heart Church Newhaven

  with Denton

History of our Church

his section is dedicated to the Archives of The Sacred Heart Church in Newhaven.
For the recent pictures look in the Photo Gallery.
Sacred Heart Church (short history):
The Sacred Heart Church was built in 1895-1898, the nave being of brick and flint construction. The presbytery is of similar age and other extensions have been added over time.

Sacred Heart Church was registered as "a Place of Meeting for Religious Worship by a Congregation or Assembly of persons calling themselves Roman Catholic" in August 1905 and subsequently registered for the "Solemnization of Marriages therein"  in July 1909.

However, it was not until the 6th June 1975 that His Eminence Cardinal Heenan, Archbishop of Westminster, formally consecrated the church.  During the Consecration the Cardinal set relics  of St.Victor and St.Catherine of Siena in the altar.  These relics were previously in the high altar at Southwark Cathedral and were recovered when it was blitzed in 1941.

St.Victor I was by birth African.  He became Pope in 189 and is principally remembered for imposing a unified date for Easter on the whole Church.  His action is one of the earliest recorded exercises of the Papal Prerogative.  We still follow his ruling that Easter should always be celebrated on a Sunday.  Pope St.Victor I was martyred in 198.

St.Catherine of Siena was born in 1347 and entered a Dominican Convent whilst comparatively young.  She brought peace and harmony between her fellow citizens and strenuously fought for the rights and liberties of the papacy.  her spiritual writings have made her one of the very few female "Doctors of the Church".  She died in 1380.

 The church suffered bomb damage (picture 13) in the Second World War with the front porch being blown off. This was repaired in (around) 1946/7.
Major extension works took place in 1960/1 (please see the section below for the news article from that time), with an extension to the nave and roof, a new Sacristy being added at the back of the church with rooms being built over it and an extended Presbytery. The Church Hall was built in 1961. This work included the cutting back of the bank and new retaining walls being constructed plus a new garage.
The bell tower and other roofs were storm damaged and repaired after the 1987 hurricane. Significant refurbishment also took place in the 1990’s.

Pope St. Victor I

St. Catherine of Siena

Below you can download and read (click on the title to open) press publications from the past:

Garden Fate 1931

Procession 1931


An email was received from CAROLYN WOODRUP (Nee Mahon) during June 2015, which may interest some readers of this website:-

" My family lived in Third Avenue, Newhaven in the early 1960s and I was baptised at Sacred Heart Church, Newhaven in August 1962, aged 3 weeks.  My brother Seamus is now Deacon Seamus Mahon at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Henfield and my mother was on the cleaning team at Sacred Heart Church."

I found this photograph of myself with Grace Fields and Fr. Ambrose Moss taken, I believe, at the Sacred Heart Christmas Fair in December 1963

Recent History


POLISH MASS 2012 (ended in autumn 2014)

Organised in our church for the first time in September 2012. This mass was said by father Tadusz Bialas. It was a regular event on every second Saturday of the month at 6 pm but due to low attendance it was cancelled in autumn 2014.



Merger with Peacehaven, one priest for two parishes; the priest is now resident in Newhaven.   



Fr. Kevin O’Donnell joined our Parish after Father Richard Brennan retired in Ireland.


Pope Benedict XVI announced on Monday 11th February he is to resign in the evening of 28th February 2013. The Pope said "After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. We wish him all the best in his retirement and want to say Thank You for all he has done.



Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio who will be the first to be known as Pope Francis.


Organized for the first time in our church on 30th March 2013. The short service was well attended and we hope to continue to organize this service every year from now on.



Our young people who were confirmed by Bishop Kieran on the weekend (18-19th May 2013) at Worth Abbey.  They are Maria from Newhaven, Stelize, Jenie, Kim, Jack, Vince and Aaron.  We pray the Holy Spirit will strengthen them on the journey of faith.   




To Margaret Slattery in recognition of long and devoted service to the cause of the Mission of the Church throughout the world.



Father Kevin O'Donnell's publication of a simple version of the Catechism.

POLISH MASS (ended in autumn 2014)

Organised in our church for the first time in September 2012. This mass is said by father Tadusz Bialas. It was a regular event on every second Saturday of the month at 6 pm but due to low attendance it was cancelled in autumn 2014.



Father Kevin left our Parish and his last Mass was on Sunday 28th August 2014. He has now become the parish Priest at Rottingdean

Fr Ian Byrnes, our new parish priest became the parish on Saturday 25th October 2014

First Message from Fr Ian:

My Dear Parishioners to be,

This is the first of many communications to you.

I must say that I am very pleased that Bishop Kieran has appointed me to join you on pilgrim journey in the two parishes. To avoid any confusion, I would like to express my thoughts as to where I wish to live.

I have chosen to live in Newhaven so as to make use of the house in Peacehaven by renting it as to obtain a regular income for the parish. I would feel more ‘at home’ in the older house.Fr David Russell, who will be on the Clergy Diocesan Retreat from 29 September until 3 October, will be supply priest from 4 to 24 October.

I must say that during the time of my growing knowledge of the two parishes I have found Fr Kevin and his wife, Gill, most helpful and sensitive, of which I am grateful. We are all in a growing pattern of Love. In the meantime, please pray for me as I want you to be assured of my prayers for you and your families and friends.

Take care in the Lord,

Much Love in Him, 

Your Pastor to be.


25th October 2014

We warmly welcome Fr Ian Byrnes our new Parish Priest and look forward to a long happy ministry.


On the 16th November 2015, Sacred Heart Church had a different organ installed.  Originally the property of PHILIP STEPHENS (aka "Tish") of Bristol Garden, Brighton, a solicitor and accomplished church organist, who often attended the Saturday evening mass at Newhaven.  Following his death on the 5th November 2015, aged 88, we learned that his organ was to be donated to our church.  It is a "Salisbury" organ b y Wyvern organ builders and has 10 Pedal, 12 Great and 16 Swell voices with 4 presets for each manual .