Formed as part of the Omaha archdiocese’s Journey of Faith the Historic 24th Street Family of Parishes is made up of three North Omaha parishes, each with their own unique but intermingled histories. Located along Omaha’s historic North 24th Street corridor, the three parishes represent much of the history of the Catholic Church in North Omaha.
The southernmost, and oldest, of the three parishes is St. John’s. Located on the Creighton University campus and dedicated in 1888, St. John’s proudly carries the tradition of Omaha’s Jesuit parish and serves parishioners from across the Omaha area who aredrawn to the parish by its deep commitment to the Ignatian priority of striving to be people for and with others. This includes the Creighton community as well many alumni of other Jesuit schools.Putting that priority into action includes ministries of caring for and serving the poor as well as focusing on and engaging in social justice issues.
St. Benedict the Moor
A mile to the north of St. John’s is St. Benedict the Moor, a parish with a rich history that encompasses families that have been members for generations. In 1919, after Black Catholics were repeatedly turned away from Omaha’s Catholic churches, St. Benedict’s was founded as the designated parish for Omaha’s Black Catholics—a mission church ministered to by Creighton’s Jesuit community. In 1953 St. Benedict the Moor became a standard parish with boundaries that abutted St. John’s to the south and Sacred Heart to the north. The pastoring of St. Benedict the Moor transitioned from the Society of Jesus to the Archdiocese of Omaha in 2011. Today, along with those generational parishioners, St. Benedict the Moor is home to a growing contingent of African immigrant Catholics. Parishioners are involved in a variety of ministries that include the Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliary, the Black Catholic Implementation Team, and a partnership with the Bryant Center located in the home of the former St. Benedict’s grade school.
Sacred Heart, located a half mile north of St. Benedict the Moor, was founded in 1890 with a strong Irish Catholic influence—statues of St. Patrick and St. Brigid flank Christ behind the altar. One of the churches that turned away Black Catholics a century ago, Sacred Heart had thriving elementary and high schools until the 1950s, when nearly 11,000 white residents moved out of the Sacred Heart parish neighborhood as Black Omahans moved in.
With nearly all of its parishioners gone, Sacred Heart struggled until the early 1980s when it experienced a revitalization. Today, Sacred Heart is a commuter parish with a reputation as a welcoming community with a growing understanding of and engagement in matters of Catholic Social Teaching. Teams of parishioners focus on building connections with the neighboring Black community, honoring the dignity of immigrants and refugees, and engaging in environmental stewardship. Under the new Family of Parishes organizational structure, St. Benedict the Moor and Sacred Heart share one pastor, Fr. David Korth, while St. John’s retains its Jesuit leadership with Fr. Matt Walsh, SJ as its pastor.