By Denise Fedorow
GOSHEN — On the feast day of its patron saint, St. John the Evangelist Church in Goshen kicked off its celebration of the parish’s 175th anniversary with a special bi-lingual Mass and brunch on Dec. 27.
Father Anthony Steinacker welcomed the congregation and visitors with these words: “With praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God we have now begun our year of celebration of our 175th jubilee. From the earliest years of this great city, St. John has been a beacon of Christ’s light and has had a deep impact on the formation and founding of the city of Goshen and still does to this day.”
Among the visitors were Goshen’s Mayor Allan Kauffman and his wife Carol Miller and Goshen College President Jim Brenneman and his wife Dr. Terri Plank Brenneman.
During his homily, Father Steinacker said, “Nothing by coincidence; everything by Divine Providence that the Gospel passage on this day is John 20:2-9.” He said that even though John arrived at the tomb first, he waited until Peter entered; acknowledging the role Christ gave to Peter.
Father Steinacker encouraged the congregation, some with family members going back five or six generations to the beginnings of the church, to “think of those people who started this church — the great strife, persecution and sacrifice they endured as with great humility they built this church.”
“God has indeed blessed this parish for 175 years from its humble beginnings in the courthouse to the difficult war years. All that time one thing has remained constant — faith in Jesus Christ,” Father Steinacker said. “Let us continue to run that race, which is life.”
After Mass, two members of the 175th anniversary planning committee, Nancy Glon and Veronica Gouker read (in English and then Spanish) a proclamation received from Rep. Wes Culver stating the church’s place in the early history of the city of Goshen.
The proclamation read in part, “Whereas St. John the Evangelist has been a blessing to the community of Goshen by its humble and loving service — as a member of the 119th General Assembly of the House of Representatives I want to honor and congratulate St. John the Evangelist with thanks for its service to the residents and wish it many more years of outstanding service to the city of Goshen.”
St. John the Evangelist is the third oldest church in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. In 1840 St. John was made a mission church of St. Augustine (now the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception) in Fort Wayne. From 1840 to 1860, St. John was served by Holy Cross Father Alex Granger, and Holy Cross Father Edward Sorin, who came from the University of Notre Dame and Father Henry V. Schafer who came from Avilla to Goshen to offer Mass for the Catholics in the Goshen area. Mass was celebrated in the old Elkhart County Courthouse and sometimes in homes until Father Schafer organized the 30 devoted families to build the first church building in 1860.
A catered brunch followed the Mass in the Deacon Art Bleau Parish Center.
Other upcoming events planned during this yearlong celebration include Friday night fellowship dinners and a second annual bi-lingual Mass and parish picnic with a quilt raffle in August. The first all-parish outdoor Mass and picnic was held this past August and a family movie night and turkey bingo was held in November.
The official celebration with anniversary Mass and dinner will be held on June 7 with Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades. A commemorative Altar-Rosary Society parish cookbook has been printed and an updated church history and pictorial directory are scheduled to be ready by the June celebration.
The best news. Delivered to your inbox.
Subscribe to our mailing list today.