About Our Parish

History of Corpus Christi Church

 

Corpus Christi Church began from Sacred Heart Church on Thomas Street in South Bend, which was established in 1898. Belgian immigrants who came to this country were in need of a priest to celebrate Mass. The first pastor of Sacred Heart was Rev. Henry Paanaker, C.S.C., who was ordained at Notre Dame in 1896.

Many years had passed and people were moving out of the downtown area. In 1960, Bishop Leo A. Pursley suggested to the pastor of Sacred Heart to look for a new location in northwest South Bend to transfer the parish. Msgr. Elmer G. Peterson found our present location and the diocese purchased a 29-acre farm.

Ground breaking for Corpus Christi began in June 1961. The school was finished September 1962. Mass was held in the basement of the school building. Msgr. Elmer Peterson was the first pastor. Succeeding pastors were: Rev. Joseph Horvath, then Rev. Denis Blank, Rev. Camillo Tirabassi and Rev. Daryl Rybicki.

The growth at Corpus Christi indicated a definite need for a new church, but due to a lack of funds our need could not be fulfilled. The power of prayer at Corpus Christi was underestimated!

Late in 1980, six members of the Legion of Mary read about the practice of perpetual adoration of Our Blessed Sacrament. The Holy Hour Program began in February 1981 and has continued uninterrupted ever since. With persistence and dedication, permission was granted to build a new church. Ground breaking for the church was Sunday, July 22, 1984. Officiating the ceremony was Bishop Joseph R. Crowley. The new church was dedicated June 9, 1985. Fr. Blank called the new church "The House That Prayer Built" and dedicated it to all parishioners with such great faith.

The beautiful stained glass windows in the church were designed by parishioner Madelyn Nowinski. She also designed the outdoor statue of the Blessed Mother which serves as a memorial to Fr. Blank. The baptistery is one of the first to be designed in the diocese and meets all the liturgical requirements.

Our present pastor, Fr. Rybicki, arrived at Corpus Christi in August of 2009

Since its founding in 1961, Corpus Christi has grown and currently is "home" to 700 families/households. Throughout these, years Corpus Christi has been a leader both as a parish and school in our community.