By Phoebe Muthart
Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and Diocesan Shrine is led by Father Constantino Rocha. Located in Warsaw, in Kosciusko County, the church consists of mainly Hispanic families with 200 to 300 parishioners.
On Sunday, May 4, 2004, Bishop John M. D’Arcy broke ground for a shrine of pilgrimage to Our Lady of Guadalupe for the faithful of the diocese. The plans for building the new church and shrine were held in conjunction of celebrating the great jubilee of 2000.
Jerry and Savina Kralis donated 11 acres for the new church and shrine and has room for 500 people. The new construction plans included meeting rooms, classrooms, a kitchen and dining area, a small residence and parking as well as a strategy for expansion.
The design of the church was the result of an international design competition. The diocese received 256 entries from around the world and announced the winner (a firm called Ruben N. Santos located in Oakland) on December 12, on the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The current church in Warsaw was founded in 2007; the church was originally located in Milford.
Diana Mejia is the bi-lingual church secretary. Mejia has been a parishioner since the church was located in Milford.
“It’s a blessing to be part of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I grew up going to Mass on Sundays and now I am working here as a secretary. I love that I can help out and learn every day from Father Rocha, as well as being more involved with getting to know people personally in our community. Throughout high school, I was involved in youth group where I learned many things that helped me personally and to stay out of trouble and keep me in the right path. I can only say that Father Paul (Bueter) would be proud of the community that he served for many years and to see that we are maintaining and improving the shrine he worked so very hard to see accomplished,” Mejia said.
“The church is unique in that that we are an all-Spanish speaking church. Our cultures are varied from the different Mexico states, as well as a very few from the Columbian and Puerto Rican community,” said Father Rocha.
Father Rocha has been the pastor at Our Lady of Guadalupe for five and a half years. The church has had four other pastors: Father Paul R. Bueter (who passed away Dec. 7, 2014), Father J. Steele, Father Philip DeVolder and Father Fernando Jimenez.
The parish offers the “Por que ser Catolico” which is also known as “Why Catholic?” program.
The youth group meets the first and third Sunday of the month at 2 p.m.
The parishioners enjoy meals together after the 10:30 a.m. or 6 p.m. Masses on Sundays.
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