Catholic Parish of St Stephen,

Catholic Parish of St Stephen, South Bend, In

Founded :1900 – 1973

Pastor: Retired Parish

Exterior 1961-1967 Exterior Picture of the interior (From Ft. Wayne Archives) Picture of the exterior (From Ft. Wayne Archives)
Picture of the Interior (From Ft. Wayne Archives) Class of 1932 (Added 12/21/2005    



Genealogy Records


LDS Records

 The Sacramental Records of St Stephens have been filmed by the LDS

Church records, 1900-1920

Catholic Church. St. Stephen (South Bend, Indiana) (Main Author)

Microfilm of originals in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Text in English and Latin.
Some pages wanting, faded, torn, etc.

Baptisms 1900-1908 -  FHL US/CAN Film [ 1617241 Item 1 ]

Marriages 1900-1920 -  FHL US/CAN Film [ 1617241 Item 2 ]

Death 1900-1921 -  FHL US/CAN Film [ 1617241 Item 3 ]

Baptisms 1909-1910 -  FHL US/CAN Film [ 1617241 Item 4 ]

Baptisms 1911-1914 -  FHL US/CAN Film [ 1617241 Item 5 ]

Baptisms 1915-1920 -  FHL US/CAN Film [ 1617241 Item 6 ]


South Bend Public Library

Films are available in the Genealogy Center, second floor, Crimp Film rolls 36

Item 1             Baptisim                     1900-1908

Item2              Marriages                  1900-1920

Item3              Death                          1900-1920

Item4              Baptisim                     1909-1910

Item5              Baptisim                     1911-1914

Item6              Baptisim                     1915-1920

Research assistance is available at 574-282-4621 in the Genealogy center 


Church Web Site and Contact:

Web Site :Not Available



For Sacramental Records Contact St. Adalbert’s  Parish

St. Adalbert  (est. 1910)
2420 W. Huron St. FAX (574) 251-2786
South Bend, IN 46619-3395 
Pastor: Rev. Christopher Cox, CSC
Associate Pastor: Rev. Eric Schimmel, CSC
Associate Pastor: Rev. Mike Couhig, CSC
Associate Pastor: Rev. Thomas McDermott, CSC
In Residence: Rev. Thomas Smith, CSC, Rev. Charles Lavely, CSC
Deacon: Alexander Krostenko
Coordinator of Religious Education: Rosalina Diaz
Coordinator of Youth Ministry: Rosa Isela Hernandez
Pastoral Minister: Sr. M. Anthony Kubat, C.S.S.F.
Music Director: Elaine Wituski, (574) 288-3621
Parish Office: Linda Shaw, Dolores Ciesielski, Amanda Salazar
Convent: 2505 W. Grace St., South Bend, IN 46619 (574) 289-9024
Sisters: Anthony Kubat, C.S.S.F., Martinez Rozek, C.S.S.F. (Felician Sisters - Livonia)

School: 519 S. Olive St., South Bend, IN 46619 (574) 288-6645
Principal: Sr. Dian Majsterek, S.S.J.-T.O.S.F.
School Secretary: Elizabeth Szmuc
115 Students/Grades: Preschool-8
Masses: Sunday — 8 a.m. (English), 10:15 a.m., noon (Spanish)
Saturday — 8 a.m., 5 p.m. (English); third Sunday of the month - 1:30 p.m. Mass in Polish; 
Holy Day — 8 a.m. (English), 7 p.m. (Spanish); Vigil/Holy Day — 5 p.m. 
Weekday — M, W, F, Sat. 8 a.m.
Reconciliation: Saturday — 8:30, 10 a.m. 
1700 Families/HH — 6,100 persons

History of St. Stephens

SOUTH BEND. St. Joseph County.
St. Stephen's (Magyar) Church.

Until their parish was organized, the Hungarians of South Bend attended St. Patrick's Church, and also St. Mary's Church, because many of them spoke German. During this time, Rev. Charles Boehm, of Cleveland, and Rev. Robert Paulovits, of Toledo, Ohio, paid their country-men in South Bend repeated visits, and ministered to them.
Rev. Michael J. Biro, C. S. C., shortly after his ordination in February, 1900, was appointed pastor of the Hungarian Catholics, and within a short time organized the St. Stephen's Congregation. A Methodist chapel, known as the Milburn Memorial Chapel, was for sale, and Father Biro negotiated its purchase, on July 3, 1900. The architectural style of this church is the Cross-Gothic-Romanesque, of the fifth century. The building was in good condition but had to be altered considerably to serve the purpose of a Catholic church. Three altars were secured, with statues of the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph and St. Anthony. A choir loft was built and the stations of the Cross were erected. The entire church property was inclosed with an ornamental iron fence. All this was done at a cost of $1,450. The original cost paid for the property was $14,800.
Father Biro erected the parochial school in 1900. The building is 45x45 feet, has four class-rooms, each of which can accommodate fifty children. Three thousand dollars was spent on this building. The school is in charge of three secular teachers, one male and two females, who teach six grades. The attendance at the present time is 171. The priest's house was part of the first purchase, but Father Biro has spent on it $500 in repairs and improvements. The debt on the church property is $7,900.
When Father Biro took charge in 1900 he found about sixty Hungarian families. At the present time there are 321 families, numbering 2166 souls. The seating capacity of the church is only 350, and the necessity of building a more commodious church is evident. St. Stephen's Congregation has the following societies: The Knights of St. Stephen, twenty members; the Holy Rosary, sixty members; the Children of Mary, fifty-six members. The Aid Societies are: St. Stephen's forty-five; St. Joseph's, 325; St. Peter's, 108; Holy Trinity, eighty; St. Anthony's, 125; Blessed Virgin Mary's, eighty-seven; St. Elizabeth's, ninety; Catholic Young Men, fifty-six; County Szechemyi's, 240 members.

2003 update:
In his 1941 book,
The Diocese of Fort Wayne: Fragments of History, Bishop Noll relates that in 1907, Father Biro retired. Upon his retirement, the Congregation of the Holy Cross turned over the church to the care of secular priests. The first of these to serve as pastor was Rev. John Froehlich. He was responsible for the building of a new church in 1910, at a cost of $30,000.00.
Bishop Noll writes: "Unfortunately this parish was divided by an independent movement sponsored by the Rev. Victor Kubinyi and Father Froehlich resigned from the parish in 1911. His successor was the Rev. Louis Kovacs who remained less than one year because of the difficulties in the parish. On May 1, 1912, the Rev. Alex Vallacky was appointed pasotr, and remained until 1915. He restored a great deal of order and engaged Dominican Sisters to teach in the school."
Rev. Lawrence Horvath served as pastor from 1916 to 1922. In 1916, Our Lady of Hungary church was established to serve a portion of the people of St. Stephen's. In 1922, Father HOrvath was succeeded by Rev. Count Frederick Wenckheim. Father Wenckheim was responsible for the building of new classrooms and an auditorium, in 1925, in addition to substituting the Sisters of Divine Charity ofr the Dominican Nuns. During the second half of the 1920s, Bishop Noll turned the parish over to the care of the Franciscan Fathers. The first of Franciscan Father to pastor St. Stephen's was Rev. Lawrence Biro, O. F. M., who was later trnasferred to the Cleveland Diocese. He was succeeded by Rev. Tarzicius Kukla, O. F. M. who served until 1939, when the Bishop returned the church back to the care of diocesan priests. From 1939 through 1941, the pastor was Rev. Curt A. Suelzer, assisted by Rev. Joseph Horvath. Priests who have served at St. Stephen's more recently include: Rev. Thomas F. Lemos, C. S. C. (pastor, 1998), Rev. John Steele, C. S. C. (associate pastor, 1998), Rev. David J. Porterfield, C.S.C. (pastor, 2003) and Rev. Christopher W. Cox, C.S.C. (associate pastor, 2003).
St. Joseph County is presently encompassed within the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.

St. Stephen (est. 1900)
1102 W. Thomas Street - South Bend, IN 46601 Phone: (219) 287-7681.

pages 399-400

Items of Historical Interest


A Schism in the Church 

In 1911 a controversy broke out at St Stephen’s  over the pastor’s handling of the title to the property. He wanted to deed the building to the diocese; the parish trustees wanted to retain ownership of the structure their donations had built. The parishioners divided into factions and the division became bitter. Julius Pinter who’s father emigrated to the United States in 1907, recalls his fathers stories of men and women fighting in the church building “even throwing people down from the balcony”  

Aproximately 100 families left the church to form, temporarily, a National Catholic parish which soon died for lack of financial support. Some of the dissident families then formed the Sacred Heart Independent Church, which later became the Immanuel United Methodist Church on Ewing Street. The rest of the dissidents petitioned to join the Episcopalian Church. They founded the Hungarian Episcopalian Church on W. Colfax Ave. It later relocated at Holy Trinity Church, 915 So.Olive.

Source: Michiana Magazine June-22-1975








The first Independent Hungarian Catholic Church in America was dedicated Sunday in South Bend when the dissident Sacred Heart congregation formally opened a new house of worship just off Indiana Ave. on a newly opened street as of yet unnamed. Elaborate services in the charge of Right Rev. Francis Hodur , Bishop of the Independent Catholic diocese of Scranton, PA. officiated. Nearly 3,000 people attended the ceremonies which were preceeded by a parade of church and military societies through the west sectionof the city. 

Bishop Hodur acted as celebrant at a solemn high mass, Rev. Father Boldanowicz acted as deacon, and Rev. Father Victor Kubinyl, pastor of the parish was the master of ceremonies and the Rev. Joseph P Plaga honorary deacon. 

                                    BISHOP MAKES ADDRESS 

Addresses were made by Bishop Hodur, Rev Father Kubinyl and Rev Father Plaga. The ceremonies were brought to a closewith a picnic held in the church yard in the afternoon. 

The organization of the Sacred Heart congregation is the result of frictions between former members of St Stephens Hungarian parish and authorities of the Roman Catholic church. Rev Father Kubinyl called from Newark NJ organized the congregation four months ago. He has since been excommunicated. In the new organization the rites and sacraments of the Roman Catholic church are to be retained, the only difference being that of authority. The edifice just erected, which cost over $6,000 is free from debt.

Source South Bend Tribune

September, 9, 1912

Information submitted by: Jim Piechorowski and John Kovatch

Project Started: Saturday, August 27, 2005 - 12:43:41 PM

Updated: Wednesday, December 21, 2005 06:10:21 PM

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