The earliest Catholic services in the Galveston area were conducted in 1838. In 1884, as a result of the church's growth under the direction of such leaders as Bishop J.M. Odin, the Galveston Diocese established Sacred Heart as the fourth church on the island.Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1981
Services for Sacred Heart Church were held in the St. Mary's University building until 1892, when the parish's first structure was completed. Designed by the noted Galveston architect Nicholas J. Clayton, it was destroyed in the 1900 hurricane.
The present building, the second for the parish, was constructed in 1903-04 during the pastorate of the Rev. D.J. Murphy. A prominent landmark in the city, it features ornate octagonal towers, flying buttresses, elaborate ornamentation, and a variety of arches. The design reflects influences of the Moorish, Byzantine, Gothic and Romanesque styles. The building's original dome, damaged in a 1915 hurricane, was redesigned by Nicholas Clayton.
Sacred Heart Church has played a significant role in the growth and development of Galveston. Since the 1880s, many of the city's prominent business, professional, civic and religious leaders have been associated with the parish.