8303 Taft Street · Merrillville, IN 46410 · (219)769-1755
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The original church, known as Immaculate Heart of Mary, was established in 1947 to serve the needs of the expanding population of Independence Hill, a section of what is now Merrillville, Indiana. The first pastor, Father Avin Jasinski, under the direction of Bishop John Francis Noll of the Fort Wayne diocese, founded the parish and said its first Mass on October 5, 1947 in the Independence Hill fire station.
The following were pastors of the parish: Father Alvin Jasinski, Father William Plotzki, Father Roman Wojcicki, Father Vernon Rosenthal, Father Leo Armbruster, Father Herman Schoudel, Father Louis Wozniak, Father Lawrence Kew, and Father Joseph Vamos.
During Father Armbruster's tenure, fifteen acres of land were purchased as a future site of the parish, and a building fund was officially begun. Tentative plans were drawn for the new church before Father Armbruster received a new assignment to Michigan City, Indiana. Father Schoudel continued with the plans for a new building and in 1965 seven acres of land adjacent to the original site were purchased, and ground was broken in the fall of 1965. One year later, the cornerstone was blessed, the name of the church was officially changed by Bishop Grutka, and on August 27, 1967, the church was solemnly dedicated as Our Lady of Consolation Parish.
After Father Schoudel's death in 1970, Father Wasniak was appointed pastor by Bishop Grutka. Father Kew was appointed pastor by Bishop Gaughan in 1985 and served Our Lady of Consolation parish until Father Vamos, our present pastor, arrived in October of 1987.
Father Vamos was faced with many challenges as the new pastor. Once again, Our Lady of Consolation needed to grow and expand. In 1988, ground was broken for both a Parish Center and a new rectory located on the property east of the church. The Parish Activity Center cornerstone was blessed and laid by Father Vamos and Father Wozniak on October 30, 1988. The Parish Center was constructed to include a chapel, parish offices, a large banquet hall with a fully equipped kitchen, and six large classrooms.
Our Lady of Consolation continued to open its arms to touch people in the community. During 1991, we began taping our Mass for broadcast on the radio, the Knights of Columbus Good Shepherd Council was formed, and in 1992, Dial-A-Prayer, sponsored by the St.Vincent DePaul Society, was offered by telephone. Additions to the Church Building included the tower bell system which tolls the hours and services, and under the bell tower a modern Our Lady of Consolation statue was erected and dedicated. A large guardian angel statue and granite memorial marker was placed and dedicated on the church grounds for aborted children. A Crucifix was added to the facade of the church in 1994. In November 1996, our parish extended its reach by videotaping 8:30 Mass for weekly broadcast on television cable channel 16.