26 July 2010

A steamy Saturday in historic Whiting, Indiana

Thanks to the hospitality of Father John Kovach, the board of the Lake Michigan Chapter of the Carpatho-Rusyn Society met Saturday in air-conditioned comfort in the parish hall of  St. Mary's Byzantine Catholic Church in Whiting, Ind.

The current church at 2011 Clark St. in an undated illustration.
After Saturday's meeting, a short walk to Whiting's annual Pierogi Fest led me to the historic image (at right) of St. Mary's, parish founded in 1899 by Rusyn immigrants.

It's the oldest Byzantine Catholic parish in Northwest, Ind., and is considered the mother church to a number of parishes in Indiana and in Chicago.

Daphne Myers pointed me to this bit of parish history from "The Standard History of Lake County, Indiana and the Calument Region," published in 1915:

"St. Mary's Greek Catholic Church, in charge of Rev. Valentine Balogh, is an organization of American-Ruthenians, which since 1907 has been under the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1899 they bought the church and parish house which had been erected by the German Reformed Lutherans and established an independent organization.

"The pastors of this first society were Rev. Father Seregelyi, Rev. Eugene Satala and Rev. Father Parscouta. The appointment of Father Balogh, in 1907, came through Rt. Rev. S. S. Ortynsky. who had been selected from Rome as bishop of the Greek Catholic Ruthenians in the United States.

On account of legal complication with his predecessor, Rev. Father Parscouta, he did not take active charge of the church until May, 1908. Since that time the progress of the parish has been steady and smooth."

The current church was dedicated in 1918, as the corner stone shows.

St. Mary's in Whiting, Indiana today.


  1. Wondeful photo of the church! As a PA born & bred Rusyn, its of great to read and see info of my brethren in the midwest. Its a bit like the different branches of our People back in the homeland (Slovakia vs Ukraine vs Poland etc).

  2. Thanks for reading, brother! The times I've been to Pennsylvania, I've felt like I was going home, in the same way as when I've been to my ancestral village in Slovakia.

  3. Both of the original Rusyn Gary churches--St. Mary's Orthodox and St. Michael's Byzantine--will celebrate their centennials in 2011. May I suggest the chapter get involved in ensuring that appropriate histories for both are produced. It might be interesting to learn whether certain villages were predominant in the founding members of both.

  4. Wow, my Great Grandfather was Fr. John Parscouta, and I'm looking into things on the internet involving him! Nice building you have.
    dr. g. (BHCounseling.com)