About Saint John Bosco Parish


Under the direction of Father Paul Schmid, the principal of Catholic Central High School, Missionary Catechists located in Indiana Harbor, would help catechize the children of this area using a rented basement apartment on Columbia Avenue. The first mss was offered in that place on 15 April 1934.

 

Two weeks earlier on Easter Sunday, 1 April 1934, Pope Pius XI canonized the Italian priest John Bosco and Father Schmid dedicated the parish on the very same day in honor of the newly canonized saint.

thus becoming the first parish in the world named in honor of the saint. Father Schmid would be appointed Spiritual Director at the Josephinum Seminary in Worthington, Ohio, later that year and would be replaced by Father H. James Conway. He would care for the small community until 1936 when Father Grunenberg would succeed him.

 

In 1937, Bishop Noll gave permission to move a portable classroom building, purchased from the Hammond School Board to property owned by the church on 171st Street and Columbia Avenue. Additions and remodeling was accomplished in 1938 to transform the building into a church for the community. Bishop Noll administered the sacrament of Confirmation for the first time at the parish on 19 October 1939 to one hundred sixteen children and adults.

 

In 1940, Father John Bartkowski was named pastor of the fifty family community. Ten years later the community had grown to six hundred families and plans were made to build a new church and school. The project was completed in 1952. Also that year the parish four Sisters of Saint Joseph, Third Order of Saint Francis to staff the school. In 1956 the rectory was enlarged, and a new convent was completed in 1964. This building currently houses the parish office, the school library, and the Saint Vincent de Paul Society food pantry.

 

Monsignor Everard Klein would care for the parish from 1966 to 1982 and steer the community through the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, remodeling the sanctuary for that purpose. Upon his retirement, Father Michael Heimer would care for the community for three years until1983, when he was succeeded by Father Stanley Dominik (1985-1998). During his tenure, the church would be completely renovated, moving the sanctuary among the people and installing a new baptismal font. Father Richard Orlinski was appointed pastor in 1998 and also given care for the parish of Saint Mary of Czestochowa on the east side of Hammond.