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An Exciting Celebration at Sacred Heart

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On October 23rd, 1919, the cornerstone of Sacred Heart’s church building was blessed. On Sunday, October 20th, 2019, we will celebrate the 100th Anniversary of that cornerstone ceremony, beginning with our 11:00 a.m. Mass, which will be held outside, weather permitting. 

To help re-create our original Cornerstone Ceremony, COMPANY IS COMING! Just as we did 100 years ago, we have invited several guests. The mayors of Moline and Rock Island, as well as four Moline council members, will be in attendance.  We have reached out to the Belgian Consulate for attendance as well as our local priests.

The Belgian national anthem will be played during the ceremony, along with 'My Country Tis of Thee.’  Both selections were included on that special day in 1919. Our Masses at Sacred Heart will include special music one month prior to help bring the people together in song. To finish out the festive atmosphere, the "Happy Belgians" will be playing during the afternoon.   

As part of the ceremony in 1919, the parish included a time capsule for generations in the future to open. One hundred years later, Father Mark suggested the time to open that capsule is now.  There has been much work in trying to determine where exactly this time capsule was truly located, and how it could be removed without damaging the capsule, its contents, or our building. “Removing the time capsule has been so very exciting,” said Don Lewis of the experience. “I am proud, thrilled, excited, honored.  These words cannot express how I truly feel be able to be a part of this experience.”

On Saturday, August 10, the surgical extraction of our 100-year-old time capsule, entombed in the limestone body of the church located at the southwest corner, took place. Our findings, after some preliminary drilling, indicated the capsule was buried in the beveled stone below the embossed cornerstone. The process was begun by cutting the mortar joints around the stone and maneuvering the stone to the ground. The original foundation bricks behind the limestone were then hammered out with a chisel. We could then see the corner of the capsule and, after clearing the bricks away, we were able to lift the capsule out of the wall cavity.

The capsule itself is a patina coated copper box 12"x 10" x 7" with a lid securely and tightly soldered. Successfully removing it from the building was truly a beautiful and memorable undertaking.

On Monday, August 12, numerous contacts were made from various contractors to determine a method to open the capsule without damage to its 100-year-old contents. The contents were blessed by Cardinal Mercier on October 23, 1919 and are believed to include artifacts and memorabilia from Fr. Culemans. The plumbing contractor using a soldering iron to heat the lead, and slid a knife under the lid to remove it. Lifting the lid off, we observed NO damage to the contents. What we did see was a brown paper wrapped package, neatly placed in the bottom half of the box: their time capsule. 

Currently, the time capsule is stored in a safe, secure place waiting for Father Mark to open it and reveal the artifacts and memorabilia to the parishioners at our own celebration.  We hope all of you are looking forward to our 100th-year celebration of the cornerstone.