Fathers Godfrey Raber, Anthony Abel and George Fenske were in charge of the Catholic congregation in
Cheyenne Wells from 1909-1912. In August 1912, 24 lots of property were purchased from H.M. Schumm by
Bishop Nicholas Chrysostom Matz of Denver for the sum of $1. In June 1913, excavation began and the church
was completed by October.
Father Alfonso Keiffer, known to many as “Padre of the Plains,” became the first permanent pastor in 1918. He built
a rectory that is still in use today and, in 1921, organized the construction of Sacred Heart School. In the 1920s the
cattle market crashed, causing the parish to go into debt. Father Keiffer began his famous “Living Rosary Crusade”
to raise funds. Father Keiffer had Columbine Hall constructed in 1949 for social and recreational events. Due to
failing eyesight, Father Keiffer discontinued active ministry in 1952. For the next three years, the Bethlehem Fathers
took care of the parish. In 1955, when Father John Canjar was assigned there, the congregation had outgrown
the church, and Columbine Hall was converted into the present Sacred Heart Church. The new sanctuary was
dedicated in 1957. The old church building was demolished in 1958.
Father George Kearney was appointed pastor in 1959 and organized an altar boy program. Father Clement DeWall
served as pastor from 1966-69, followed by Father Gerald Stremmel. In 1970, the last graduation of eighth graders
was celebrated and the school was closed in 1971 after 58 years of service. Also in 1971,
Father Daniel Balzereit was appointed pastor. Under his tenure, the church was remodeled with funds from a good
wheat crop and from the generosity of Father Keiffer, who had passed away on Oct. 7, 1971.
Father Leonard Hoeffler served the parish from 1973-1982, followed by Father James Morgan (1982-1984), Father
James Halloran (1984-1987) and Father Thomas Kihn (1988-1991). Father Edward Sullivan arrived in 1991 and
was instrumental in remodeling the church balcony and adding classrooms behind the front of the church. In
1993, Vincentian Father Thomas Kloppenborg came to Cheyenne Wells and was responsible for the new church
entrance. Father Kloppenborg also started a community food pantry. In 1995, Sacred Heart School building was
demolished for insurance reasons.
In June 2002, Father Khanh Pham Nguyen was named pastor of Sacred Heart Parish and tried to jumpstart parish
life before having to leave in 2004 due to poor health. In August 2004, Father Jaimes Ponce became the parish
administrator of Sacred Heart Parish. He organized a complete renovation of the church, which was completed by
the end of July 2005 and rededicated in September of the same year. In 2007, Father Ponce went to Rome to study
canon law, and Father Boleslaw Kuzma was named parish administrator. Father Kirk Slattery became pastor in
October 2009. In March 2012, Father Carlos Gallardo-Morales was named temporary administrator. Father Alfredo
Garcia was named pastor later in 2012, followed by Father Rafael Torres-Rico in 2013. Father Jason Keas was
installed as pastor Aug. 30, 2015.