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Mass Celebrates Anniversary Of Father Sorin's Trip To America

Father Jim Koressel, pastor of St. Peter Parish in Montgomery, concludes the Eucharistic Prayer during the parish's Aug. 5 Anticipatory Mass. The Message photo by Tim Lilley

At the conclusion of the Eucharistic Prayer during the Aug. 5 evening Anticipatory Mass, Pastor Father Jim Koressel of St. Peter Parish in Montgomery elevated a chalice in his right hand that had once called the church in Montgomery home. You see, it came from France with its original owner, Holy Cross Father Edward Sorin – who served as pastor of St. Peter Parish before leaving Southwest Indiana for South Bend – and the founding of the University of Notre Dame.

Holy Cross Father Austin Collins of Notre Dame journeyed to Father Sorin’s first “home parish” in the U.S., St. Peter in Montgomery, to celebrate the 176th anniversary of his departure from France for the “new world” and, specifically, the Diocese of Vincennes. He reminded the congregation that St. Peter Church is the second oldest in Indiana – preceded only by the Minor Basilica of St. Francis Xavier. St. Peter will celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2018.

Katherine Lane of the Notre Dame Trail project joined Father Collins for the visit to St. Peter Parish. Beginning Aug. 13, the Notre Dame Trail group will retrace Father Sorin’s route from Vincennes to South Bend in November 1842. Father Sorin founded the university on Nov. 26, 1842.

“One hundred seventy-six years ago today, on the Feast of Our Lady of the Snows (Aug. 5, 1841), Father Sorin and … six Holy Cross Brothers departed France for America,” Father Collins said in serving as homilist for the Aug. 5 Mass. “As you may know, they arrived in New York City and then traveled by boat to Vincennes.

“This (Montgomery) is where they settled … in this farming community. This is where they celebrated the Eucharist.

“I brought with me a chalice that belonged to Father Sorin,” Father Collins added. “We will celebrate the Eucharist each day of the Notre Dame Trail and will use the same chalice. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to renew our roots.”

Father Collins likened the journey Father Sorin and the six Holy Cross Brothers made as a vacation of sorts; certainly an adventure; and just-as-certainly a life-changing event. “Our Gospel story today (the report of Jesus’ Transfiguration from Matthew) is all of those things,” he said, noting that for Peter, James and John, life certainly changed.

“For them, Jesus became more than just a prophet,” he said. “They saw Jesus as God that day.”

“As we contemplate that story, let us reflect on the opportunities to do good,” Father Collins said. “May we each be a force of good in our world.”


For more information on the Notre Dame Trail, visit