About Us

MISSION STATEMENT: We, the pastor and the parishioners of the Sacred Heart Catholic Community of Raywood, united in the Holy Spirit, proclaim the following as a statement of our mission. We Commit Ourselves: To an unwavering service to God and his children. To providing a welcoming environment for spiritual growth and direction. To an enrichment of worship for all people by encouraging an encounter with Jesus Christ through the celebration of the Eucharist, active participation in the Liturgy and a commitment to personal and group prayer, stewardship, faith sharing, social involvement and strong moral and spiritual education for our children and youth.

In God we live and move and have our being.
By His grace, we hope to foster an environment of Faith, Hope and Love.

Sacred Heart Catholic Church began as a mission church and was dedicated in 1935 as part of Our Mother of Mercy parish in Ames. Following 17 years of growth, the mission became Sacred Heart Parish in 1952.

Late in the 1880s, a few black families left Louisiana and settled in the small community of Raywood in Liberty  County Texas. Shortly after they moved there, other members of the families in Louisiana visited them and in later years decided to move their families to the small rural community. When these families came to Raywood, they brought their French culture and their love for their Catholic religion. They became successful farmers and purchased large tracks of land.

Because there was no Catholic church in Raywood, the families had to travel to Ames to attend Our Mother of Mercy. They went to church in wagons, horseback, Model T Fords, or walked. They were determined to keep their faith and dreamed of the day when they would have their own church. Ames was the mother church, because it was there that their children were baptized, made their First Communion, Confirmation, as well as married their children and buried their dead.

Due to the distance they traveled to church and with more people arriving, the farmers began to work and plan for a church to be built in Raywood. Jesse and Ella Griffith donated the land for the church. And in 1935, their dream became a reality when the first church was  built and named Sacred Heart. Because there was no full-time priest, the little church became a mission of Ames.

Regardless of the lack of a priest, the people loved their church and made many improvements, such as a cemetery, a hall, and a rectory for a priest. These were built by members of the mission community. In 1952, after the completion of the rectory, Fr. James Faherty, S.S.J. was assigned to the parish as the first full-time priest. He served as pastor from 1952 to 1958 and again from 1968 to 1975.

The community continued to grow and the church became old and improvements were needed and some were made. But, the church was small and could not accommodate the parish. For many years, it was the desire of the parishioners to build a brick church. They remembered the changes from dirt roads to paved ones, from kerosene lamps to electricity, small schools to larger and better equipped ones, running water, telephones, air conditioning, central heat and the many other modern conveniences.

Fr. Gregory Frank was instrumental in bringing the dreams of the parishioners to have a new church and hall into reality. The current church and hall were dedicated on November 24, 1977. A new Family Life Center was dedicated in 1995, during the pastorialship of Fr. John McBrearty.

Sacred Heart Church was pastored by the Josephites from 1952 to 1997.  The Missionaries of St. Paul of Nigeria began to pastor at Sacred Heart in 1997. On January 1, 2002, Sacred Heart Church began to operate under the order of the Missionaries of St. Paul of Nigeria and continues as such.

The following priest pastored at Sacred Heart Church:

Fr. James Faherty   (1952-1958 & 1968-1975)
Fr. Charles McOsker  (1958 - 1960)
Fr. Eugene McKenna (1960 -1963)
Fr. James Shappert (1964 - 1968)
Fr. Gregory Frank (1975 -1983)
Fr. Edward Eichman  (1983 - 1987)
Fr. Francis McCarthy (1987 - 1991)
Fr. Paul Kluthe (1991 - 1994)
Fr. John McBrearty (1994 - 1997)
Fr. Ralph Asika (1997 - 2001)
Fr. Felix Elosi (2001 - 2002)
Fr. Charles Atuah (2003 - 2004)
Fr. Alphonsus Enelichi (2004 - 2008)
Fr. George Okeahialam (2008 - 2014)
Fr.  Ayo Efodigbue (2014 - Present)

Fr. Ayo Efodigbue, MSP is currently the Pastor of Sacred Heart Church, as well as Pastor of Our Mother of Mercy in Ames. He continues to provide opportunity for parishioners to practice and develop their faith.  Bible study is held every other Thursday evening. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is held every first Friday. Communion is brought to the sick and shut-in on a regular basis. The rosary is recited faithfully at Mass six days a week and the Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help is recited every Tuesday morning after Mass.

The members of the Parish community work hard to maintain a loving and caring environment. Some of the groups and organizations always working to provide resources for the Church and the community are: The Parish Council, the Finance Council, the Pastoral Team, the Bazaar Committee, the Fish Dinner Committee, the Altar Society, the Knights and Ladies of St. Peter Clavier, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the Stewardship Committee, the various ministries, and the many wonderful parishioners that continue to support the Church with their generous contributions and prayers.  Love of God and family is an ongoing process in this community.

This Parish community has produced the following religious vocations: S. Angela Fontenot, S. John Berchman, and Fr. Brian Fontenot, OP.