Up in the woods north of Seelyville prays a parish that thinks it can.
The last of four local Roman Catholic parishes bound for closure by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, members of the historic Holy Rosary church are raising funds for a fight. Saturday night, members hosted a bluegrass concert and bake sale as they prepare to challenge the closure set for Oct. 7, the building’s 104th birthday.
Parishioner Brent King said members feel they have a case based on “canon law,” or the rules of the church, that could prevent closure by the Archdiocese. The parish hopes to raise about $15,000 to pay the expenses involved in an appeal to the Vatican. Only a few reasons exist for the shuttering of a church, he noted.
“And our understanding is that none of those apply to us,” he said.
Last summer the Archdiocese of Indianapolis announced its decision to close St. Ann Parish on North Locust Street, St. Leonard of Port Maurice in West Terre Haute, and St. Joseph Church at Universal, in addition to Holy Rosary in Seelyville. Of the four, only Holy Rosary remains.
Jeananne Popejoy, a 27-year member, had her bass ready Saturday evening as musicians prepared to play for donations at Schelley Hall on U.S. 40, just down the road from the church at 2501 N. Main St.
“Because it’s a place worth saving. It’s our community. It’s our family,” she said, adding her four sons all grew up in that church. “All of them have gone through the same parish.”
King said the parish numbers just under 200, comprised of 84 families. And many of those families have ties back to the congregation’s origins in the early 20th century.
According to historical information maintained by the church, the congregation began celebrating Mass in the Nickelodeon Movie Theatre at U.S. 40 and Main Street in the early 1900s. About 300 Roman Catholics, mostly Lithuanian and Slovakian immigrants, worshipped in that building under the direction of Rev. John Walsh until it burned in 1907. The lots a few miles north on Main Street, which contain the existing building, were purchased in 1907, with the building dedicated Oct. 7, 1908.
Church records also state that local businessman Tony Hulman Sr., himself a German-American Roman Catholic, donated the pews still used there today.
Dorothy and Mary Ellen Buck, sisters and lifelong members, said their grandparents immigrated to America from Slovakia in 1910, following family which came before them. Those grandparents, John and Anna Butwin, immediately joined Anna’s brothers at Holy Rosary, raising nine children amid its pews. Many of those children went on to raise their own families within its shelter as well.
“So Holy Rosary has been our life,” Dorothy said. “We are such a family and everyone who goes there watches out for one another.”
The history of Terre Haute’s Eastern European immigrants is interwoven throughout that of the parish, Mary Ellen said, remarking at how they all chose to live near one another after settling around Seelyville.
“And they all came together to build this church,” she remarked.
Janet King, no relation to Brent, said she has been a member all the 68 years of her life. Her mother was born Margaret Kehoe in Seelyville in 1910, attended the church as a child, and raised her own family there. King and her three siblings received their first communion there.
“It’s vital to the community,” she said. “It’s a vibrant church and it’s financially solvent. We are a community and we’re warm and welcoming.”
Brent King said the parish has established “Friends of the Holy Rosary” as a vehicle through which to raise funds. More events are planned as the group hopes to stave off the closure by working within the system.
Gently contrasting the small rural parish to the larger congregations found in metropolitan areas, he emphasized that Holy Rosary is financially solvent and self-sustainable, requiring little by way of support. If left alive, the parish simply hopes to continue on as it has for more than 100 years, he said.
Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parishioners hope efforts can reverse decision to close church
Up in the woods north of Seelyville prays a parish that thinks it can.
Westminster Village, a Terre Haute retirement community, is investing $1.8 million to construct 12 new villa homes, officials announced Wednesday.
Decades later, dry cleaners leave blemish
Fifty years ago, about 30 dry cleaners did business in the city of Terre Haute. City officials are now cleaning up the mess some left behind.
MARK BENNETT: Year of River sets example for state
Terre Haute pays more attention to the Wabash River these days.
Climate of less regulation, more chemical spills leaves ‘historical pollution,’ NCA director says
Former dry cleaning sites are an environmental problem all over the state, according to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
Camping turnout low for first half of summer
Camping revenue for the past two months has dropped in Vigo County parks, a downturn park officials say is difficult to attribute to a new park policy limiting campers’ stays to 14 days in the three county parks.
Devastating fire takes out mobile home
A Seelyville mobile home sustained heavy damage in a fire early Wednesday morning.
Lost Creek Township firefighters were called to the scene in the 2200 block of Tabortown Road south of U.S. 40 at about 2 a.m.
Man posts bond after fatal wreck
An Oct. 7 trial date has been set for a Terre Haute man accused of driving while intoxicated causing death.
Driver injured, airlifted, cited for failure to yield
An elderly woman was injured in a crash Wednesday afternoon in Sullivan County, according to Indiana State Police.
Bobby “Slick” Leonard was the main attraction but his hometown, Terre Haute, was constantly in the background as friends, fans and family gathered in Indianapolis Tuesday night to honor the man famous for the words “Boom Baby.”
Sister-city students get a dose of ‘new culture’
One of Juri Sawada’s dreams has been to visit America.
Motion delays trial for 2012 homicide
A man who has been jailed about 20 months in connection with the homicide of his wife will not go on trial next week as scheduled.
Sheriff charged in prostitution case
Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden has spent more than 30 years in law enforcement working to protect the public from criminals, but on Tuesday he was treated as one.
Vigo Parks dishing out the sweetness
Vigo County Parks and Recreation has made a “sweet” addition to its maple syrup production at Prairie Creek Park.
Danny Rodden indicted on federal charges
Instead of overseeing the operations of the Clark County jail and police force Tuesday, Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden found himself being transported by the FBI to Indianapolis to answer federal charges.
Woman’s condition ‘fair’ after grocery store wreck
A Terre Haute woman was listed in fair condition Tuesday at Eskenazi Health in Indianapolis as the result of injuries sustained in Monday’s accident on the Baesler’s Market parking lot.
Semi driver cited for alcohol use
A commercial vehicle driver has been placed out of service after he tested positive for alcohol consumption during a Tuesday morning traffic stop in Sullivan County.
Church to give out school backpacks
United Methodist Temple will stage its first-ever Back-2-School Bash from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 9.
The church is located at 5301 S. U.S. 41.
Bus safety features
New safety features on South Vermillion School Corp. buses have led to fewer disciplinary problems and fewer incidents of motorists illegally passing stopped school buses, officials say.
Humvee driver says foot caused fatal accident
Kyle Pendergast, 22, the Terre Haute driver of a black Humvee charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing the death of a teenager, has told police he could not turn the wheel before the vehicle flipped in a field in an early Saturday morning accident.
Cleaner may have contaminated water
Groundwater and soil testing is set to begin within a week to learn whether toxic chemicals might have seeped into the wells of a small southside neighborhood and even beyond.
Housing Authority’s Warren Village nearing completion
Construction on the newest Terre Haute Housing Authority property – Warren Village – should wrap up next month, a housing authority official said Monday.
Observers predict ‘wide open’ process of picking next chief
State Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Dickson surprised observers in June when he decided to step down after a brief tenure as the state’s top judge.
Multi-vehicle accident in parking lot
A woman was hospitalized with injuries after a multiple-vehicle accident late Monday morning in the Baesler’s Market parking lot on Poplar Street
Old National acquires Michigan bank
Evansville-based Old National Bancorp and Grand Rapids-based Founders Financial Corp. said Monday they have finalized an agreement under which Old National will acquire Founders through a stock and cash merger.
Ohio man falls to death at Cataract Falls rec area
Indiana conservation officers are investigating the death of an Ohio man that occurred at about 4:10 p.m. Sunday at Cataract Falls State Recreation Area in Owen County.
Postcards from the war front
A native of France, Marie Decleir saw humanity at its worst as she experienced the death and destruction caused by World War I, which began 100 years ago today.
Watching Gordon make history
As race car drivers competed on the track on Sunday in Indianapolis, racing fans in Terre Haute gathered around television screens and watched history unfold during the “Crown Royal Presents, The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard.”
STATE OF THE STATEHOUSE: Inept amid partisan fury
Retired Congressman Lee Hamilton has warned of the perils of political ideology, calling the body where he spent 34 years “noxiously partisan.” Now, he worries the divide is downright dangerous.
Restaurant Inspections: July 28, 2014
Travel the interstate at your own risk.
- More News Headlines
- Expanding independence