On December 5, 1917, a few days after his ordination, Father Francis A. Kasprowicz was sent to organize and minister to the needs of the Poles in what was eventually to become the Borough of Manville.
Initially, the Manville Fire Department granted Father Kasprowicz permission to use its headquarters near the Lehigh railroad on South Main Street for Masses and church meetings. However, a more permanent arrangement needed to be made, and Father Kasprowicz set out to organize his people to plan for their future as a parish.
On March 11, 1918, six parcels of land were purchased, and a vigorous campaign was launched to raise funds for the building of a new church on the newly acquired property. The official incorporation date of the parish, known as the Polish Roman Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart, was March 12, 1919. The property was blessed on August 17, 1919, with services marking the groundbreaking for the new church and school building. On October 19, 1919, Bishop Thomas J. Walsh blessed the cornerstone of the church building.
In 1925, the need for parochial burial grounds was apparent, and the purchase of 40 acres of land was made for use as a parish cemetery. This tract of land is located on Millstone River Road in a section of Hillsborough just south of the border between Manville and Hillsborough. Later, in 1945, Father Peter Wieczorek, the second pastor of Sacred Heart Church, enlarged the cemetery with the purchase of an additional 22 acres.
Eventually an ornamental iron fence and an entry gate were added to enhance the landscape of the parochial burial grounds. Water lines were also extended throughout the existing cemetery for the convenience of the public and the groundskeepers. At the second circle in the center road, a monument of the “Pieta” was erected. On June 11, 1957, the Rev. Msgr. Martin A. Madura was appointed by Bishop George W. Ahr to succeed Father Wieczorek. During Monsignor Madura’s stewardship, an additional tract of land was purchased to enlarge the parish cemetery to 74.7 acres, thus ensuring burial space for many years to come.
After Monsignor Madura's retirement, Fr. Joseph Krysztofik was assigned to the pastorate of Sacred Heart Church. During his tenure, roads at the cemetery were widened and resurfaced. A beautiful 18-foot high, double-faced granite memorial, depicting the Sacred Heart of Jesus on one side and the resurrected Christ on the other, was erected to inspire the hope of the resurrection in all viewers. Later, Fr. Krysztofik was instrumental in having a granite monument of the Crucifixion erected. By late 1970, two new sections were developed – one for two-grave plots and the other for three- and four-grave plots. In 1989, a new section for single lots was opened as well as a new Baby Section.
In 2001, Father Boguslaw Augustyn, C.Ss.R. the sixth pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, concentrated his efforts on making improvements. The chain link fence around the sides and back of the cemetery was replaced, and two undeveloped sections were cleared and planted with seed. At the first circle, a stone altar and two benches were added for use when services are held there. Also a flower bed, bordered with Belgian block, was added at the base of the monument. In Section D, all leaning monuments were straightened and rows were aligned. Just inside the entrance gate the center island was cleared of trees that were overgrown and in some cases diseased, and bushes were planted. The statues at the front gate were power washed, and a new bronze sign, listing our basic policies, was installed.
Many of our families have several generations of loved ones buried in Sacred Heart Cemetery. Thanks to the foresight of all our pastors, it is a sacred and serene place where everyone is invited to visit the graves and to spend some time in prayer and reflection on the lives of those buried there.