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Tribute to Monsignor James Hallissey

  Monsignor James HallisseyTribute to Monsignor James Hallissey

Sacred Heart Catholic Church parishioners and many members of the Idaho Catholic Community paid homage to Monsignor James Hallissey at his funeral Wednesday, April 21, 2010. Born Sept. 5, 1916, in Cloundreen, County Cork, Ireland, Monsignor Hallissey was the founding Father of Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Father Hallissey was a strict Irishman with a soft spot in his heart. He loved children and had a firm belief in the benefits Catholic Education.

Some 52 years ago, as a part of Father James T. Hallissey’s vision, Sacred Heart Catholic School opened its doors. Each enrolled family paid tuition of $5 per month, no matter how many children were in a family.

“He was a wonderful man. He gave every family, large or small, the opportunity to educate their children in the Catholic faith,” Dorothy Ansotegui, former Sacred Heart School parent and current Sacred Heart Parish Office Manager.

Sacred Heart School opened it doors in 1958 to students from 1st to 6th grade. Benedictine Sisters from Monastery of Saint Gertrude were relocated to Boise to teach under the direction of Sister Amata Kachelmier.

"Sister Amata and the other sisters, who staffed the school until 1979, gave loyal, loving and self-sacrificing service to the school that provided Catholic formation to over 2000 students,” said Mildred Tillotson, long-time Sacred Heart parishioner.

Each year following the opening, Sacred Heart added a new grade until they served grades 1 through 8. The first Sacred Heart Eighth Grade Graduation was in 1961. Sacred Heart was filled with Catholic learners. Early classes had as many as 65 students.

It was a no-nonsense approach to Catholic education providing a strong spiritual foundation. Student’s could arrive as early as 7:30 a.m., or as late as 8:30 a.m., but students were required to go directly to daily Mass. Father Hallissey emphasized the importance of celebrating the Eucharist.

He also played an important role in the classroom. He personally handed-out every report card. Father Hallissey would stand in front of each class and call the name of each student to the front of the class. Father Hallissey reviewed each report card and made a comment to each student, recalls Bonnie Kerns Sacred Heart School graduate.

“I was so nervous on report card day...I had butterflies in my stomach as I know my classmates did also,” said Kerns.

By 1965, Sacred Heart was bursting at its seams. Parishioners donated their time and talents to build another building behind the school. Now known as the St. Ann’s Complex, the building was used to accommodate another second grade. Before long, the Sacred Heart Mission School, now know as St. Mark’s Catholic School, was built near the current Saint Mark’s Parish.

The Sacred Heart community has always been mindful of the needs of the children to learn and thrive in their environment. Today the school uses St. Ann’s Complex for music, band and as a science lab. There is now a separate building for kindergarten and pre-school, a library and a new Arts and Technology Center.

Over the years, Sacred Heart School has grown and adapted to the needs of its students. Dedicated lay employees now hold many of the positions once held by priests and nuns. However, under the direction of current Principal Brock Carpenter, Sacred Heart School still strives to accomplish the mission of assisting families in educating and fostering growth of the whole child - spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, and physically, guiding children to live as Christian members of the world community.