Basilica of the Sacred Heart

Conewago, Pennsylvania

Founded 1721

On this site south of Harrisburg, a log chapel-house was constructed as one of the missions served by the Jesuits of Maryland. Passing to the control of Pennsylvania, the land remained in possession of the Owings family, and Jesuits continued to serve as a community of Germans from Alsace-Lorrain grew up around the Conewago Valley. Prior to the Revolution, when Catholics were less welcome in most of the colonies, the priests were obliged to conceal their identity, and the pastor, Father Wappeler, assumed the pseudonym, Mr. Manners. Fr. Demetrius Gallitzin ministered here in the late eighteenth century.

A new stone church was built in 1787 and later additions were made in the nineteenth century. In 1901, the parish was incorporated into the Diocese of Harrisburg.

Source: Francis Beauchesne Thornton, Catholic Shrines in the United States and Canada (New York: Wilfred Funk, Inc., 1954)


Basilica of the Sacred Heart * Harrisburg Diocese Archives *