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Parish News...

The Start of the Parish, by Fr. Payne - Part 4

[From Part 3 — building the basement:
Hurried and hastened by the lifting company, who wanted their material for other jobs, many mistakes were made, but finally the wall was ready and the building was let down upon it.

Due to the haste, the wall was not level in all places and some of the windows cracked with the result of the twisting of the building. Only the two sides and front wall had been laid. The back end was supported by a post in the middle. The basement was therefore accessible to the whole wide world.]

This did not prevent us, in the fall, from holding a bazaar. The open end was boarded up and a concrete floor laid - instead of gravel and sand, Mr. Cabanaw suggested that we use some of the material taken from the basement, and this resulted in many pits and holes where lumps of clay had been mixed with cement. But it was a floor and we were proud of it.

So we laid our plans for the bazaar. Many companies in South Bend were visited and asked for gifts. Others were good enough to give us prizes on consignment. Mrs. Betty Major donated a hand made quilt for the raffle. She and Evelyne also took charge of the raffle books, typing them out one at a time and getting them a few at a time to Mr. Kintz who had charge of the selling end.

The great day (September 16, 1938) finally dawned; shelves and booths laborously set up, were now laden with attractive displays of merchandise. All went well, a large crowd was in attendance and we made a little money. At night, since much valuable merchandise was readily accessible to any thief who could easily rip his way through the boarded up end, it was decided someone would have to remain on guard. I was selected, and after everyone departed, about 11:30 or 12:00, I settled down on a couch with a German lugar and two Collie dogs borrowed from the Majors. One of the dogs became attached to me, and until the day she died (probably old age) she spent more time here than at home.

At the end of the third and final night, of our first bazaar, we counted up $389.26 receipts, this was our gross; the net is not known for sure, but would probably be about $200.00. It was a great success.

In October of this same year (1938) we had our first mission. It was given by Father Hart. After each conference, Father Hart would see individuals privately in the basement. He had a rocking chair set for him on the carpet placed near the door and evidently had several visitors. Father Hart took no stipend during the mission, he stayed at the Mission House (at the college building) and I picked him up each morning, for Mass, afternoon for the children's conference, and each evening for the evening conference.