Monday, September 03, 2007

st. hedwig

I thought I should show you more of this beautiful historic church than the confession box bathroom.

The church was founded in 1877, the current church was built in 1883 and is the oldest church building in the city of South Bend.

There was a huge influx of Polish immigrants to South Bend at the turn of the 19th century. The immigrants formed the Polish American Parish -- a combination of the European village parish, the emerging American territorial parish and a community center. Over the next 25 years three more Polish Catholic churches were built in South Bend. The churches became the hub of family life for the Polish people of the city. They believed passionately in education. In fact a couple of the churches sprung up because they did not want their children crossing so many dangerous railroad tracks. The churches took care of their parishioners from birth to death. An elementary school started in 1877 and a secondary school that started in 1923. The parish took total care of the immigrants needs -- spiritual, educational and social. They helped improve neighborhoods and provided a sense of belong in the brutal manufacturing world that most of the parishioners worked in.

The elementary school closed in the 1960s, right before Ron started school. Ron was able to attend the school at a sister parish, Saint Adalbert. South Bend is down to one Polish church, the first one, Saint Hedwig.

The priest who said the funeral mass was amazing and like most priests, is pulled in several directions. He is also the parish priest for the church across the street, Saint Patrick. Father Chrobot has his PhD and teaches sociology at Notre Dame. His sermon was lovely/ Before Mass started he gave us the history of the beautiful church and of the Polish people in South Bend. We got to hear songs in English, Polish and Latin.

I adore my brother-in-law Ron Trojanowski (you didn't think his last name would be Smith, did you?). He and my sister Beth have been married for seven years (maybe, don't hold me to that) and dated for ten years before that. In all of that time, I never had the pleasure of meeting his father. His reputation as a baseball fan is legendary. Ron is named for the Cubs player Ron Santo. Ron inherited his dad's love of the Cubs and named his dog Santo. There were photographs of Mr. Trojanowski with Ron Santo and Ernie Banks. I was happy to hear stories about Ron's dad. I looked down and Ron was wearing red socks, his dad's favorite color.

And, just because I cannot help myself -- you know that there were two funerals in South Bend yesterday.
Notre Dame 3
Georgia Tech 33

Pray for me.


Jerry said...

You know, I've only been to South Bend once, and never been to Evansville. I really should get out and see more of our state.

Very pretty church, BTW!

Jamie Dawn said...

What a wonderfu post!
No, I wouldn't have expected a Smith or a Jones for his last name. How boring!!
What a beautiful church, and interesting history.
I'm sure a church system caring for people from birth to death is MUCH MORE efficient than a government system.
LOVE those red socks!!!