Lisa Kochanowski
Assistant Editor/Reporter
January 31, 2017 // Local

IMD: St. Stanislaus and St. Casimir

Lisa Kochanowski
Assistant Editor/Reporter

St. Stanislaus offers many opportunities throughout the year for visitors to delight in the sights and sounds of the Traditional Latin Mass.

St. Casimir

St. Stanislaus experiences renewed life as personal parish

By Lisa Kochanowski

The parish of St. Stanislaus has a rich Polish heritage dating back to the 19th century. The church was founded as a mission of the nearby St. Hedwig faith community because priests during that time noticed the increasing Polish population moving into the Golden Hills area of South Bend. The first Mass at St. Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr Church was celebrated on March 25, 1900.

Over the years the church has undergone physical changes, such as an enlargement of the church building, a new apse and sacristy, and a modernization that included an elevator and bathrooms. At one time the site was home to a school, convent and beautifully landscaped grounds.

As the end of the century drew near the parish underwent drastic adjustments that included the closing of the school, neighborhood changes and the sisters moving out of the convent.

“By the turn of the 21st century, things had very much slowed down and the parish was beginning to need help. Thus, in 2001, the pastor was shared with Holy Cross parish; the Mass schedule was minimized and there was no resident pastor. The decline continued and the parish was on the brink of closure,” noted pastor Msgr. John Fritz. “Bishop Rhoades found a solution to the dilemma: move the Traditional Latin Mass to St. Stanislaus. It was a solution that actually addressed two issues: the desire to retain St. Stanislaus Parish and to give the burgeoning Latin Mass community a real home. The Latin Mass community had been using various parishes over the years and were currently the beneficiaries of the generosity of St. Patrick parish. It was growing increasingly clear that simply having Mass early on Sundays was not sufficient. A more permanent solution needed to be found, a solution which provided real parochial life.”

According to Msgr. Fritz, on Sept. 8, 2015, St. Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr was changed from a territorial parish, meaning that it had boundaries within which parishioners lived, to a personal parish, meaning that its membership is determined by registry. Now the parish has a bright future. Attendance has increased, the pastor is once again residing in the parish, devotions are returning and children are everywhere — in short, great things are happening.

Many things set St. Stanislaus apart and make it unique to the area.

“St. Stanislaus is an apostolate of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter and is the only parish in the Michiana area which offers the Traditional Latin Mass (aka Extra-ordinary Form, usus antiquior, etc.). There is Sung Mass every Sunday and holy day; the choir is excellent and performs the Gregorian plain chant as well as polyphony very well. All the sacraments are administered in their Traditional form. There are ample confession times, devotions to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts, eucharistic procession for Corpus Christi, and May crowning and procession,” said Msgr. Fritz.

St. Stanislaus is once again young parish, with many children. There is a homeschool co-op once a week that includes 45 students. There is also a children’s choir, Little Flower Girls Club and a Ladies Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Anne.

“Sacramentals are frequently offered. Besides the occasional blessing of a rosary or statue, we frequently offer other lesser known sacramentals, such as the Blessing of Wine on the Feast of St. John, the Blessing of Water for the Sick in honor of St. Raymond Nonnatus, the Blessing of Candles, Chalk, Food, etc. In June, there is a bonfire for the Feast of St. John the Baptist; not only is it a chance to dispose of worn out blessed items, but it is a great social get-together. We also have first class relics that we offer for veneration: St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Maria Goretti, St. Dominic Savio,” noted Msgr. Fritz.

Several ministries are offered within the parish community.

“The children’s choir is to not only teach children to sing at an early age, but also to cultivate their music appreciation and taste by introducing them to music that is beautiful and sacred. They are learning the Solfege method and plain chant. Frankly, I’m a bit jealous of them — I wish I’d had an opportunity such as this,” commented Msgr. Fritz.

The Ladies’ Sodality is a group that assists the women of the parish in the living out of their Catholic faith with a purpose to be better followers of Christ and imitators of the Blessed Virgin. They meet monthly for prayer and a talk from the director of the sodality, and fellowship.

Msgr. Fritz said the altar boys are another strong group that does an excellent job. They understand that what they do is very important, and they are all honored by the role they have in the sacrifice of the Mass.

“We are also trying to coalesce a men’s group and get a youth group off the ground,” he said. “All of the things that our parish offers have as an important and integral purpose: formation in the faith and assistance in the life of virtue, to offer help through companionship, instruction and the grace of God through sacraments and sacramentals.”

The mission of the parish is for the salvation of souls. This is done through an integrally traditional parochial life centered around the sacrifice of the Mass.

“The beauty and timelessness of our faith,” is what Msgr. Fritz hope all visitors experience. “I always encourage people to come and truly give the ancient rites a real try; once or twice is not sufficient. It takes time and openness. This is why we have our “Lenten Latin Mass Challenge;” come every Sunday during Lent to really give the Tradition a chance to speak to you. Don’t worry about the language or any of the differences; in fact, for newcomers, I tell them to not try and follow along — rather, sit and let your senses take in everything: the music, the incense, the choreography of the ceremony, everything. The similarities should make themselves known, as the skeletal framework is similar to the English Mass: Kyrie, Gloria, prayer, reading, Gospel, offertory, Sanctus, elevations, Agnus Dei, etc. As more familiarity is acquired, it is easier to engage and enter into the great mysteries and begin to plumb the depths of the Tradition. These are the rites that formed saints.  These are the rites for which this church was built by our ancestors. These are the rites which are every Catholic’s patrimony and right.”

In the future the church plans to continue to be faithful to its mission, doing whatever it can to save souls. Msgr. Frits and the community plan to offer the sacraments, sacramentals, opportunities to learn about the truths of the faith and to provide a place in which people can come together and benefit from one another — not only in social camaraderie but in deeper, true friendship: intellectually, morally, spiritually.

“As we finish our choir loft renovation, we will turn our attention to the sanctuary. We’ve lined up acquiring an altar from a church that has been closed, but we will need to raise money to have it dismantled, repaired, shipped and installed. So, we are having a fundraising ‘Trivia Night’ on Feb. 11 at MR Falcons,” said Msgr. Fritz. “After this project, we hope to continue renovating and maintaining the parish church for the next 100+ years.”

St. Stanislaus

415 N. Brookfield St.

South Bend, IN 46628



Latin Mass Times:

Sunday: 7:30, 10 a.m.

Weekday: 7 a.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday

Saturday: 8:15 a.m.


Sunday 9-9:45 a.m.;
Monday 5:15-6 p.m.;
Saturday 9-10 a.m.; 3:45-4:30 p.m.
and by appointment


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