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Blessed Sacrament

Deanery: Savannah
Mass Times: Saturday Vigil: 5:30 PM | Sunday: 8:00 AM, 10:30 AM
Year Established: 1920

Phone: 912-356-6980

1003 East Victory Drive
Savannah, GA
County: Chatham

In 1920 the expansion of the city of Savannah dictated the foundation of what is now Blessed Sacrament Parish. The Most Rev. Benjamin J. Keiley, 7th Bishop of Savannah, named a young native Savannah priest, Father Daniel J. McCarthy, pastor. Boundaries were set, property purchased, and building began at 44th Street and Waters Avenue.

In 1920 there were only one hundred Catholics within the territorial limits of the parish, and very little funds were available for the work to be done. The Women’s Auxiliary of Blessed Sacrament Parish was formed on March 18, 1920, and they played a big part in obtaining funds for the construction of the church. The original church building was a white wooden frame structure, seating 200 people, and was formally dedicated on July 10, 1921, although the first Mass had been celebrated in the church on May 21, 1921.

A Sunday school was established in the autumn of 1922, with classes held in the church following one of the Sunday Masses. Teachers were volunteers from the Women’s Auxiliary.

In 1928 Father Dan was transferred to Holy Family Church in Columbus. Rev. Timothy A. Foley succeeded him. In his first year at Blessed Sacrament, Father Foley purchased the property west of the church for the erection of a Sunday School building. Father Foley served as pastor until 1932, when Rev. Joseph R. Smith succeeded him. Father Smith served until 1936, followed by Rev. Joseph G. Cassidy. Father Cassidy was assigned to the Georgia Missions in 1938 as Georgia’s first “Trailer Priest,” and Rev. James Conlin succeeded him.

In 1939, a school was established under the direction of Father Conlin, and the parish hall was converted into three classrooms. Sister Stella Maris served as principal. Sixty-eight students were enrolled.

The parish had long outgrown its small church, and when it reached 1600 members, plans for a new church and a school building could no longer be delayed. A design for one building to accommodate both a school and interim church was approved. Eight classrooms would occupy the upper floor and the church the lower floor, which would be converted into additional classrooms when the permanent church was constructed later. In July 1941 the little wooden church was placed on rollers and moved to the adjoining lot on 44th Street, where religious services continued to be held until the completion of a new church-school. It was then converted into a parish auditorium, and subsequently demolished to make room for the school addition.

Construction of the combination church and school building began October 13, 1941. Many difficulties arose, the worst, and most expensive, being spongy earth, necessitating the use of piles. Although construction had begun before the outbreak of the war, the many delays extended the construction time to a point where materials became difficult to find because of government priorities. Construction plans had to be changed to make use of materials obtainable. St. Patrick’s Church on Liberty and West Broad Streets was badly damaged in the storm of 1940. It was dismantled, and bricks from St. Patrick’s were used in part in the construction of Blessed Sacrament church-school. Labor, too, was difficult to obtain, and so one obstacle after another had to be overcome.

The cornerstone was finally laid on July 19, 1942, with the Most Reverend Gerald P. O’Hara officiating. In the cornerstone were placed copies of the Savannah Morning News and Savannah Evening Press, a history of the parish, a quantity of American coins, several medals, pictures of Bishop O’Hara, Father Daniel J. Bourke, and Father Conlin, as well as the names of the officials of the various parish organizations. In November of 1942, Father Bourke was appointed to succeed Father Conlin, who had become ill and resigned as pastor of Blessed Sacrament. Finally the new church and school was completed and the dedication took place on Sunday, September 26, 1943.

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