Our Church History…
Our Lady of Hungary Parish, began as a mission church of St. Stephen’s Parish in 1916 when St. Stephen’s Pastor, Reverend Lawrence Horvath, built a church for Our Lady at Catalpa Street near Prairie Avenue.
The spiritual needs of the people were administered by Reverend Paul Miller, a Notre Dame priest who came on Sundays to conduct services and administer the Sacraments. All records until December 1921 were kept at St. Stephen’s.
In December of 1921, the Right Reverend Herman Alerding, Bishop of Fort Wayne, appointed Reverend Geza Gyorfy as Pastor at the mission and gave him the task of establishing a parish. Our Lady was an independent parish from that time. The new parish was not to be a national parish so a non Hungarian priest was appointed to assist. This was the Reverend Charles Scholl.
In 1923 when the Studebaker Corporation purchased the church grounds, the church building was moved to its present location on West Calvert Street. The rectory was built in 1924 and the new offices were added in 1968. In 1927 the school and the Sisters’ home were built. The Daughters of Divine Charity (F.D.C.) taught at our school for many years. To view a list of all the Sisters who spent many years working with the good priests, wonderful people and fine students at Our Lady of Hungary Parish from 1927 – 1993, click here.
Father John Sabo, who had been as assistant since 1930, succeeded Father Gyorfy as Pastor when Father Gyorfy retired because of ill health in 1935 and was assigned to a small parish in Gary, Indiana. Father Sabo was ordained on June 14th, 1930 and officially became Pastor on January 26, 1935. Later Father Sabo became Monsignor John S. Sabo and continued to be Our Lady of Hungary’s pastor until he retired in 1980. Monsignor Sabo was born on January 21, 1905 and was called back to heaven on April 8, 1991.
Ground was broken for the present church in 1948, and it was dedicated on December 18, 1949. First services were held on Christmas 1949, though the church was not complete.
The newly-formed choir of Our Lady, under the direction of its founder Professor Carl Matthes, sang an original mass written by the Professor for the occasion: “The Mass of the Our Lady of Hungary.”
Stations of the Cross painted especially for the church were done by Mrs. Elizabeth Kormendi and donated by the artist of the church, as was a statue of Christ the Light of the World, the model for the one in Washington D.C. This was sculptured by the late Eugene Kormendi, St. Michael was placed on the Purple Heart Memorial Tower on the south side of the church.
In the Tower, we have a stained glass window in memory of our men in service in World War 1. The insignia of all the units are in this window.
The Rose window is of Christ the King. One of the panels in one of the lights is a parishioner.
The windows in the sacristy represent our pastors and two of the assistants who served our parish for many years. Father Geza Gyorfy, Pastor from 1921 to 1935; Father Martin Horvath, an assistant at Our Lady from 1943 to 1962; Monsignor John S. Sabo, Pastor who served from 1935 to ; and Father Anthony Molnar, assistant from 1958 to 1967.
In 1961 a priest from Rome, Father Peter Prokop, was brought to the parish and painted the frescoes which now dominate the front of the church. the altar piece is a Triptych – of Our Patroness – with scenes of Her life on the wings. The large frescoes around the altar represent the 150th psalm. The pilasters, the four evangelists, the two flat surfaces are, one St. Emeric to show that the Americas have the name of a saint. St. Emeric, St. Amerigo or Americus. The other, the Sacred Heart, showing Our Lord’s love, is a masterpiece. The windows are the saints of the Canon of the mass. All 39 are included, plus a few because of local interest, these are St. Stephen, St. Emeric, St. Elizabeth and St. Anthony, the Patron of a large segment of the parish from Burgenland in Austria.