Our Parish Family
History of St. Monica Parish
One of the first Catholic churches in Mishawaka (Holy Angels Catholic Church, which later became St. Joseph Catholic Church) was located on the north side of the river at the corner of Sarah and Grove Streets. However, that church burned down in 1861 and the congregation moved and built St. Joseph Church downtown.*
For over 50 years there was no Catholic Church on the north side of the river until 1915 when St. Monica Parish was founded as the result of the dreams and hard work of the Catholics on the north side of the St. Joseph river. The first church was a former Baptist church along Mishawaka Ave. Then the school was built in 1917 and Mass was offered in a basement chapel there. Finally, in 1927 after a great influx of immigrants from southern Italy arrived to join the current Catholic population the current Church was consecrated by Archbishop John Francis Noll. Since then our parish has grown and expanded adding on to our school in the 1950s and then again in the 1990s.
* J., De Kever Peter. Walking Mishawaka: Self-guided Tours of Historic Sites in the Princess City. Mishawaka, IN: Duley, 2016.
Our Church is a perfect example of what a Catholic Church building is meant to be. Built for the glory of God and to be an image of heaven. Within there are many unique architectural and artistic elements. St. Monica is one of the only Churches built in a Romanesque style in the entire diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. The baldacchino (canopy) over the altar, meant to be symbolic of the wedding bed where the union of love brings fourth life, so at the altar, the sacrifice of love made present in the cross of Christ produces the Bread of Life. Also, just to the side of the sanctuary is the Altar of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Built within the altar is a relief of the Holy Souls in Purgatory being comforted by the merits of Christ poured out for them. There are also shrines for The Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Infant of Prague, St. Ann, St. Christopher, St. Rocco, St. James, St. Anthony, Our Lady of Loreto, and the Pieta.