“People come here for the small community and the truth,” said Father Paul McCarthy about St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish. Father McCarthy has been the pastor at the small farm-town parish since 2007, but its history goes all the way back to 1884.
Father Valentine Czyzewski, who at the time was the pastor of St. Hedwig Parish in South Bend, established St. Stanislaus Kostka for the many Polish farmers in the New Carlisle and Terre Coupe area. At the time, the nearest Catholic churches for those worshippers were St. Hedwig and St. Joseph, which proved to be too far away for those settled further away from the St. Joseph River. Many of the 300 currently registered families are descendants of the first parishioners and live on nearby farms.
The church building that stands today on Tulip Road was completed in 1906, after nearly three years of labor. Progress moved slowly, as most of the work was completed by dedicated parishioners and materials had to be brought in from as far away as Plymouth via horse-drawn wagons. The building has stood the test of time, although it has undergone many renovations over the past 111 years. Most recently, modern light fixtures were installed in the ceiling, thanks to donations and help from parishioners.
The church has also added a unique baptismal font that doubles as an ambry, and a sanctuary lamp that was dedicated to the memory of Father McCarthy’s late mother.
One of the most striking elements in St. Stanislaus Kostka Church is the stained glass artwork that was added in 1947. Every piece was placed with intention, creating images that depict core values of the church. Father McCarthy enjoys describing the intricacies of the symbolism within the glass.
The right wall of windows illustrates the Incarnation, while the left wall depicts the glorious mysteries of the rosary. On the ceiling above the altar is a portrayal of the teaching Christ, encircled by symbols of each of the four Gospels as well as many bricks or stones. Father McCarthy said this image embodies the parish.
“They are the living stones that build up the church. Each one is very important, although they are of different shapes and sizes, because they fit together to build up the church.”
Although the teaching Christ is revered at St. Stanislaus Kostka, there is no school at the parish. An eight-classroom school building is used for religious education for students in grades K-8. The campus also includes a large hall that is frequently used for receptions and banquets on various occasions.
The reach of the parish extends far beyond the three buildings on Tulip Road. “When the people call Father, he is there,” said Sue Gadacz, a longtime parishioner.
Father McCarthy also began a ministry for residents of the nearby nursing homes, Hamilton Grove and Miller’s Merry Manor. Before, there was no way for many in the nursing homes to attend Mass. Now both locations are on his weekly schedule.
Gadacz is an active member of the church’s rosary-making society. Members gather together twice a month to string beads. Thanks to this group, over 18,000 rosaries have been donated all around the world. Most often, someone will request rosaries for their mission trip: Right now, the group is working on rosaries that will travel to Haiti.
Looking to the future, Father McCarthy hopes to keep things simple. “All we need is Christ,” he reflected. There are already many opportunities for faith and fellowship in place at the parish, including daily Mass, a holy hour on Thursdays and events such as the annual chicken dinner and garage sale.
St. Stanislaus Kostka
55756 Tulip Rd.
New Carlisle, IN 46552
Sunday: 8, 10 a.m.
Saturday: 4 p.m.
Holy Day: as scheduled
Weekday: 8 a.m.
Sat. 3-3:45 p.m.; Thurs. 5:30-6:30 p.m. or by appointment.
Adoration: Th 4-8 p.m.
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