Trip Planner:   USA  /  Florida  /  Tampa  /  Sacred Heart Catholic Church

Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Tampa

#51 of 211 in Things to do in Tampa
Church · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
Sacred Heart Catholic Church was constructed in 1905 in downtown Tampa, Florida and is one of the oldest churches in the city of Tampa. The church, located at 509 N. Florida Avenue, is predominantly a Romanesque structure, with other elements. The church is home to Sacred Heart Parish, part of the West Hillsborough Deanery of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saint Petersburg.
The first Catholic parish on Florida's West Coast was established in 1860 and named St. Louis Parish in honor of Fr. Luis de Cancer, a Dominican missionary who was martyred on the shores of Tampa Bay in 1549. The initial wooden-frame building called St. Louis Church was erected on the site where Sacred Heart stands today. In 1888 the Jesuits took over the pastoral responsibilities of the parish, after a serious outbreak of yellow fever in Tampa took the lives of three diocesan priests. Using Tampa as their base, the Jesuits were given the responsibility of all of South Florida by Bishop Moore. In 1905, a new Church was constructed in Romanesque style and the parish was renamed Sacred Heart.

As Tampa grew, so did the parish, and by 1897 it was decided that a new church was needed. Construction on the church began with a groundbreaking on February 16, 1898, with the laying of the cornerstone taking place on February 4, 1900. The dedication of Sacred Heart Church took place on January 15, 1905, and at that time the parish was renamed Sacred Heart Parish.
The architect for the new Sacred Heart Church was Nicholas J. Clayton of Galveston, TX, who designed many Roman Catholic Churches in Texas and throughout the southern United States. The granite and marble structure includes a 135-foot dome, solid oak pews and doors, porcelain tiles, and a Carrara marble altar. Its 70 stained glass windows were designed and manufactured for Sacred Heart by Franz Mayer & Co. of Munich, Germany. The facility is a popular location for weddings, having hosted weddings for some parish families going back as many as six generations.
The parish operated a school, Sacred Heart Academy, which it established in 1931, on Florida Avenue in the city's Tampa Heights neighborhood. However, due to the changing demographics of the immediate area, Sacred Heart Academy was forced to close at the end of the 2011-12 school year. Previously affiliated with Sacred Heart Parish was another Tampa institution, Jesuit High School, founded in 1899, which thrives today.

In 2005, after the 100th anniversary of Sacred Heart Church, the Jesuit community which had long served the parish withdrew in order to concentrate on their academic institutions throughout the South. The fourth bishop of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Most Rev. Robert Lynch, invited the Franciscan Friars of the Most Holy Name of Jesus Province to assume the pastoral responsibilities for the parish. The current pastor is Father George Corrigan, OFM. In 2010 the Diocese of St. Petersburg added a Catholic Heritage Marker to the church exterior, recognizing its historic significance.
Using our custom trip planner, Tampa attractions like Sacred Heart Catholic Church can form part of a personalized travel itinerary.
Create an itinerary including Sacred Heart Catholic Church
© OpenMapTiles © OpenStreetMap contributors

Sacred Heart Catholic Church reviews

Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
152 reviews
  • Beautiful Windows! This church immediately grabs you in by its classic European style then once inside, seems to transport you to the islands with its crisp white interior and richly patterned...  more »
  • Beautiful Ash Wednesday service today...beautiful and peaceful day! The singing with the local students was incredible and made me happy! It's about 15 minute walk from Orange Street.  more »
  • I always try to find a beautiful church to visit when we vacation. Sacred Heart did not fail us! The inside was awe-inspiring! I have to say my favorite surprise was the St Francis statue outside. Parking was challenging but free on weekends. The detail and artwork in this church will make you feel like you are in a European Cathedral! While we attend a local church on a weekly basis. The sanctuary is decorated beautifully!
  • The BEST Catholic Church and place of worship in all of the Tampa Bay area. You would be hard pressed to find much better around the country. Absolutely love this church. There were so many people on Easter that people were lined up outside on the steps.

Plan your trip to Tampa

  • Get a personalized trip
    A complete day by day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it
    Refine your trip. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Manage it
    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.