Catholic Parish of St.

Catholic Parish of St. Mary’s of the Holy Rosary (PNCC)

South Bend, In

Founded : 1914 – Current Parish

Pastor: Rev. Father Charles Zawistowski

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1. St. Mary's 2005

2. Interior

3. Interior

4. St. Joseph's Alter

5. Full Alter View


Genealogy Records


LDS Records


St. Mary’s of the Holy Rosary (PNCC) has not been filmed by the LDS


South Bend Public Library

Local and Family History Updated 10/28/2017

100th anniversary booklet - (added 10/28/2017)

90th anniversary booklet - (added 10/28/2017)

Polish and Hungarian Reactions to Roman Catholicisim in 19th Century Northern Indiana by Leo Krzywkowski - (added 10/28/2017)




Church Web Site and Contact: 


Web Site:



Mailing Addresses:

Rectory & Mail:

159 Summit Dr., South Bend 46619

Church Location:

1601 W. Sample St.

South Bend, IN 46628

Rectory Phone (574) 287-9381

Hall Phone       (574) 233-1961

Records of Birth, Death and Marriage are available upon request to the St Mary’ s Office / Rectory

Phone or Email

Rev. Father Charles Zawistowski

E-mail: [email protected]


A Historical Story of St Mary’s of the Holy Rosary

By Chester Bentkowski


Prepared for the 75th Anniversary Celebration 1915-1990



The corner stone of St. Mary’s Parish reads 1915. The burning desire for spiritual rebirth was ignited in South Bend as early as 1912.


As our history unfolds you will be able to see the burning desire for religious freedom pass from the Hungarians to the Poles. As the result of friction between the former St. Stephen’s Hungarian parishioners and the authorities of the Roman Catholic Church, an independent church was born.


It was dedicated on Sunday, September 8, 1912, when elaborate dedication and blessing services, attended by nearly 3.000 people, of the Sacred Heart Independent Hungarian Catholic Church were held. Presiding, and in charge of services, was Bishop Francis Hodur of Scranton, PA who had accepted the congregation under his jurisdiction into the Polish National Catholic Church.


It was not long before troubles set in, and the Hungarian priest bolted to the Episcopal Church. Before the years end some parishioners left. By this defection , Bishop Hodur’s penetration into the city of South Bend was made quite weak. But, as luck would have it, Bishop Hodur had at his disposal a young priest who spoke Hungarian. He immediately dispatched Rev. Basil Sychta to the Hungarian church, and he did a magnificent job of stabilizing the parish.


Father Sychta’s great potential lay in his bilingual ability. Speaking both Hungarian and Polish, he not only served the Hungarian Independent Catholics but was able to attract people of his own nationality. These were the ones who were drawn to him because of dissatisfaction in the Polish Roman Catholic parishes. 


History was to repeat itself just a year later in 1913. As a result of friction between parishioners and Father Kubacki at St. Adalbert’s Polish Parish some left and started attending services at the Hungarian church. After seeing that the Bishop in Fort Wayne would not be of any help, they made a painful decision. They decided to form a parish of their own in June of 1913. A south Bend Tribune article dated June 30, of 1913, mentioned that the Polish people would have a new church on the west side of town. This would be as a result of alleged difficulties in St. Adalbert’s Church and would be an Independent Catholic Church. 


Less than two months later, another article appeared dated August 14, 1913. It stated that the new church would be called Polish National Catholic Church of St Mary’s. Articles of Association would be drawn up and filed with the state for a charter . Rev. Sychta, of the Hungarian church, would be in charge under Bishop Hodur of Scranton, Pennsylvania.


With the help od Father Sychta, the first serious meeting of the people was held November 27, 1913. The meeting at the Hungarian Hall on Chapin Street was called to order by him. The Parish of St. Mary’s was a reality.


The principal speaker at this meeting was Rev. Basil Sychta of the Hungarian Sacred Heart National Catholic Church. During this meeting, the first committee was selected to lay the groundwork of a new parish. The members selected were: Joseph Jaskiewicz, Chairman; Joseph Zwierzynski, Vice Chairman; Michael Przybylski, Recording Secretary; Andrew Wawrzyniak, Treasurer; Edward Nowakowski, Financial Secretary; and Father Basil Sychta, Organizer.


Although the city of South bend now had two Independent Catholic parishes for dissident immigrants, problems continued to plague the Polish community. These reached their peak shortly after the organization of St Mary’s  with severe rioting and Disturbances on February 15, 1914, at South Bends second oldest Polish Catholic parish St. Casimir. Many believe that the rioting at St. Casimir was the basis for the reasons of starting St. Marys parish. It can be said that this was the “Breaking Point” . Historical data that we have at our disposal today proves that the initiation of St. Mary’s was already charted.




Historic comment by additional sources



        Polish Parish to Build New Church

South Bend Tribune 7-29-1914










Work on the new Polish Parish Church of St. Marys of the Holy Rosary will be started next month, according to announcements made today by Rev. Basil Sychta, Pastor of the Hungarian Church of the Sacred Heart PNCC. Like the Sacred Heart Church, the new house of worship will be affiliated with the Polish National Catholic Church.of America and will be under the direction of Right Rev. Francis Hodur the Bishop of Scranton, PA.


The new structure will be located on Sample and Kosciusko Streetsand will cost approximately $12,000, being constructed of stone throughout. Ground will be broken within the next few weeks and it is expected that the building will be ready for occupancy in October or November. Rev. Father Sychta will be in charge until a priest can be appointed by Bishop Hodur.


Articles of incorporation for the congregation was filed today with the Secretery of State in Indianapolis. The directors are:  Joseph Jaskiewicz, Joseph Urbanski and Edward Nowakowski. 


Rev. Father Sychta said today that there are already over 300 Polish Families affiliated with the church. Practically all were members of St. Casimir’s Roman Catholic Church and left that organization during the recent trouble in the parish. Several weeks ago on the occasion of a visit of Bishop Hodur, they decided to organize a Polish organization similar to that which worships in the Hungarian church. 



        Saint Mary's Polish National Catholic Church

A dispute between the parishioners and church authority led to an event on Feb. 15, 1914 at the parish that was later named "Bloody Sunday." There was serious resentment and opposition to the priest who was assigned to be the parish's new pastor. A riot ensued when the priest arrived to begin his duties.

Because of the dispute, a number of families left Saint Casimir Catholic Church for the newly-founded Saint Mary's Polish National Catholic Church. Saint Mary's also is located in the Saint Casimir Parish Historic District at 1601 Sample St., and is South Bend's first and only Polish National Catholic Church. (Note 1)


South Bend Tribune 7/31/2005

Source: Elisa Norris Podrasky


Note 1 … Father Zawistowski of St Mary’s advises that in fact St. Mary’s was preceded by Sacred Heart Hungarian National Catholic Church (1911 to 1921) which was officially a part of the Polish National Catholic Church. “St Marys became a possibility due to Sacred Heart”  per Father Zawistowski ……..


Source South Bend Tribune May 26, 2005 Mary Lee Johnson Staff Writer

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Information submitted by: Jim Piechorowski and John Kovatch

Created: Thursday, August 25, 2005 - 09:24:25PM

Updated: Saturday, October 28, 2017 08:41:13 AM


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