We, the parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, welcome all, regardless of age, race or ethnic background. Continuing in the tradition of spreading the Good News of our Catholic faith in Christ, proclamation of the Word, and our sharing of the Eucharist, we begin to fulfill this vision.
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Roman Catholic Church began in 1917 when a group of Polish settlers in New Chicago met to see how to establish a parish in their neighborhood. Then-Bishop Herman Alerding of the Diocese of Fort Wayne gave the group permission to establish a parish under the patronage of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
He appointed the Rev. Peter H. Kahellek of neighboring St. Hedwig Parish in Gary to celebrate the first Mass on the First Sunday of Advent, 1917 in an old abandoned school building. Father Kahellek continued to administer the sacraments to the faithful of the parish until May 1918, when Assumption was made a mission church of Sacred Heart Parish in the Tolleston section of Gary and placed under the care of the Rev. Ignatius Gapczynski. Father Gapczynski built a school for the children of the parish and in September 1918, invited the Franciscan Sisters of Blessed Kuneguna to lead the educational efforts.
In December 1918, the Rev. Anthony Gorek, pastor of St. Mary of Czestochowa Parish in Hammond, was appointed the first permanent resident pastor. During his tenure, the land was purchased; the land on which now stands the Assumption Parish buildings. The first church building was built and blessed in May of 1919. Father Gorek also led the building of a small rectory and convent.
In April of 1921, the Rev. Michael Gadacz, an associate at St. Stanislaus Parish in East Chicago, was appointed pastor. Under his pastorate more land was purchased to build the present rectory and a hall, which currently serves the primary grades in our Religious Education program.
In May 1926, the Rev. Michael Petzold, an associate at St. John Cantius Parish in Indiana Harbor, was appointed pastor of Assumption BVM, replacing Father Gadacz who left to establish another Polish parish, Holy Family, in the Glen Park section of Gary. Father Petzold would serve three years in New Chicago, before his appointment as pastor of St. Hyacinth Parish in Fort Wayne. In 1932, Father Petzold returned to St. John Cantius in East Chicago, where he remained pastor for more than 30 years.
In May 1929, the Rev. Francis Libert, an associate at Assumption Parish in Indiana Harbor and former chaplain of Mercy Hospital in Gary became pastor and served until July 1939, when he was named pastor of St. Joseph Church in Reynolds. Father Libert died on Oct. 13, 1962, a priest of the neighboring Diocese of Lafayette
In March of 1939, a committee from the Women's Rosary Society petitioned and received permission from Bishop John F. Noll, of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend to build a new church.
The Rev. Valerian Karcz, a former associate at St. Hedwig Parish in Gary who became noted in Chicagoland’s Polish community for his radio broadcasts, was appointed pastor on July 8, 1939. With volunteer labor from the parish family, Father Karcz built the present church building, which was consecrated on August 6, 1940. The new church building also contained classrooms for the growing parish school.
In 1959, Villa Rose Hall on U.S. Route 6 in Hobart was purchased and renovated for use as a parish hall. In the late 1960s, Father Karcz had the church sanctuary renovated to correspond with changes in the Liturgy brought about by the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. Father Karcz retired on Sept. 30, 1975, after 36 years of service to the people of God in New Chicago. Father Karcz died Aug. 29, 1982, in Chicago. His funeral Mass was held with his Assumption Parish family.
The Rev. John Murzyn was appointed pastor on Oct. 1, 1975. Following the closure of the parish school, in September of 1976, a Pre-School and Early Learning Center was opened for 3 & 4-year-old children, and served the community for the next 25 years.
At a parish meeting on April 5, 1978, it was decided to build a new parish hall. Permission from the Diocese of Gary was given. The firm of PTGR of Hobart was chosen as the Architect. In order to accommodate the construction of the Hall, the Convent was torn down in May of 1979. Blake Construction of Hobart was chosen as the Contractor. Ground-breaking ceremonies took place on Sunday, July 8, 1979, with the Rev. Monsignor Ralph Hoffmann, Vicar General of the Diocese of Gary and pastor of neighboring St. Mary of the Lake in Miller Beach presiding. Assumption Hall was completed in December of 1979 and inaugurated with a New Year's Eve Party on December 31, 1979.
On May 12, 1985, the Rev. David Nowak, a native son of the parish, celebrated his first Mass at Assumption BVM, after being ordained a priest for the Diocese of Gary.
An addition to our Educational Center of three classrooms, an office and lavatory facilities were completed in May 1989 and a new Allen Organ was purchased for the Church in December of that year.
In September of 1990, approval to renovate the Church and enlarge the Sanctuary was given from the Diocese of Gary. Ton and Blank Architects were employed. The renovation began on May 13, 1990, and on Nov. 3, 1991, Bishop Norbert F. Gaughan blessed our new Altar and renovated Church.
Father John Murzyn retired in 1994 and died April 20, 2009, in Hawaii, where he resided. Like his predecessor, Father John’s memorial Mass was celebrated with his Assumption Parish family.
Father John Murzyn was succeeded by the Rev. Martin J. Dobrzynski. During his pastorate, the first in his priestly ministry, Father Marty installed a new baptismal font near the sanctuary and in the late-1990s, Assumption Hall would also undergo major renovations, making it one of the premier banquet facilities in Northwest Indiana. On June 10, 2000, Deacon Edward Kozub was ordained to the permanent diaconate and served the Assumption community before his transfer to Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in Cedar Lake. In late 2001, Father Marty was named pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Schererville.
The Rev. Jon J. Plavcan, an associate at Our Lady of Grace Parish in Highland and administrative assistant to Bishop Dale J. Melczek, was appointed to Assumption BVM in 2001. In 2005, Father Jon established the first Pastoral Council at Assumption BVM in its 88-year history. Assumption celebrated the ordination of Deacon Dale Webdell to the permanent diaconate in 2007, the parish's second native son to be ordained to the diaconate. Deacon Dale continues to minister to the people of God at Assumption Parish.
Father Jon was named rector of Gary's Cathedral of the Holy Angels in 2007 and head of the Gary-Hobart Deanery in 2009.
The Rev. Lou Pasala, an associate at Queen of All Saints Parish in Michigan City, who also serves in the bishop's marriage tribunal, was named pastor of Assumption Parish in 2007. A former priest in residence at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Gary, Father Lou was a welcoming presence to parishioners left without a spiritual home when Blessed Sacrament closed in April 2009.
The Pastors of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary:
1918-1918 Msgr. Ignatius Gapczynski
1918-1921 Rev. Anthony Gorek
1921-1926 Rev. Michael Gadacz
1926-1929 Msgr. Michael Petzold
1929-1939 Rev. Francis Libert
1939-1975 Rev. Valerian S. Karcz
1975-1994 Rev. John A. Murzyn
1994-2001 Rev. Martin J. Dobrzynski
2001-2007 Rev. Jon J. Plavcan
2007- Rev. Lou Pasala
The Deacons of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary:
2000-2003 Edward A. Kozub
2007- Dale P. Webdell
The Historic Polish Parishes of the Diocese of Gary
1873 St. Mary of Czestochowa, Otis
1889 St. John Kanty, Rolling Prairie
1890 St. Casimir, Hammond*
1892 St. Stanislaus Kostka, Michigan City
1896 St. Stanislaus, East Chicago
1902 St. Adalbert, Whiting
1905-2009 St. John Cantius, Indiana Harbor
1909 St. Hedwig, Gary*
1912-2009 St. Mary of Czestochowa, Hammond
1912 Sacred Heart, LaPorte
1916-1986 St. Joseph, East Chicago
1917 Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, New Chicago
1918-1986 Sacred Heart, Tolleston
1926-2002 Holy Family, Glen Park
* indicates weekly mass currently celebrated in the Polish language.