December 9, 2022

Mass Excursions

St. Boniface boasts outreach, historic church and hospitality

St. Boniface Church in Fulda
By Natalie Hoefer

FULDA—St. Boniface, the patron saint of Germany, is buried in the German town of Fulda. So, when a parish was founded to serve German Catholic immigrants in the southern Indiana town of Fulda in 1847, it just made sense to name it St. Boniface.

Now in its 175th year, the Tell City Deanery parish is still serving the spiritual and physical needs of others.

But the parish’s impact reaches far beyond its boundaries with the faith community’s active outreach ministry, visitors coming to see its church—which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places—and genealogical researchers using its online database of those buried in its cemetery.

‘Happy to share our treasures here’

Benedictine Father Anthony Vinson, pastor, says the parish has “a very generous group of people.”

Locally, the parish helps provide volunteers, funds and food for Catholic Charities Tell City and Martin’s Cloak food pantry and clothing store in nearby Siberia. Parishioners also make blankets and gather items for backpacks to be given to children placed in foster care through Perry and Spencer counties’ Court-Appointed Special Advocates program.

When it comes to helping those in need beyond the deanery, the parish turns to Hand in Hand Ministries in Louisville, Ky., which provides one-day service opportunities in Louisville, four-day service trips to Appalachian areas and weeklong mission trips to Belize in Central America.

“It’s a way of bringing our spirit and zeal in building up the kingdom of God with something that’s already organized, rather than reinventing the wheel here,” Father Anthony explains.

“We have lots of skilled people in the parish. When we go to Appalachia, they put us in a more advanced group of workers because of the skill level we offer.

“The older volunteers connect with the younger people in the parish to teach them about plumbing, electrical wiring, roofing. Those relationships in turn strengthen the bonds in our parish. We’re a very intergenerational community, a good mix of all ages.”

Father Anthony is especially proud of the 880,000 pounds of food the parishioners of St. Boniface and its paired parish, St. Meinrad in

St. Meinrad, provided to those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Farmers to Families Food Box program.

“The organization was so impressed by our efficiency they sent organizers to come see how we did it,” he recalls.

St. Boniface serves the present world while maintaining a strong hold to the parish’s history.

“The current church was completed in 1865,” Father Anthony says. “The features inside are a real testament to our German heritage and craftsmanship.”

Oaken interior arches, walnut Stations of the Cross made in Germany, pews from 1896, stunning stained-glass windows, richly-colored walls and paintings are all recently refurbished and restored. It’s little wonder the church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“Because of that [status], people come from all over to see the church,” says Father Anthony. “It’s open dawn to dusk, and we have people every day stop by.”

Next to the church is the parish’s cemetery, with many markers written in German.

“We’re unique in having a detailed, online database of those buried in the cemetery,” Father Anthony notes. “It’s got photos of the front and back of the tombstones and translations if it’s in German. It even includes other information like maiden name and nickname if we know it.”

Father Anthony lauds the parish for its Benedictine hospitality.

“We’re always happy to welcome people, whether it’s welcoming them home because they have roots here or because of tourism. Our parishioners are always happy to share our treasures here.”

For Mass times, the cemetery directory or to download a church tour, call 812-357-5533 or go to

Take your time: There’s lots to do near St. Boniface

The list of places to visit in Fulda and the surrounding areas starts with St. Boniface Church itself. Stay before or after Mass to take in the historic building’s beauty.

The largest commercial destination near the parish is Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari—just 5 miles from the church (

But several other nearby sites make for a uniquely Catholic weekend excursion, including an overnight stay at Saint Meinrad Archabbey Guest House in St. Meinrad ( or 800-581-6905) or Monastery Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand, Ind., in the Evansville Diocese ( or 812-367-1411).

Less than 10 minutes south of St. Boniface, take a tour of Saint Meinrad Archabbey and pray in the Marian-themed Our Lady of Monte Cassino Shrine, both in St. Meinrad (information for both at, and visit the Christ of the Ohio statue along the Ohio River in Troy ( While near St. Meinrad, enjoy wine and a concert at Monkey Hollow Winery (

About 15 minutes north of St. Boniface in Ferdinand, tour the Sisters of St. Benedict’s stunning Monastery Immaculate Conception ( The town’s annual, two-day Christkindlmarkt in November—boasting hundreds of booths at six sites with free shuttle service to each—is a festive time to visit the area.

Just 20 minutes north of Ferdinand in Jasper, Ind. (Evansville Diocese), visit historic St. Joseph Church, a soaring and stunning German-built structure completed in 1880. Behind it is a rare gem—a peaceful grotto made primarily of geodes with an interesting story behind its origin ( And be sure to dine at Schnitzelbank Restaurant for authentic German fare (

(Mass Excursions is a feature highlighting an archdiocesan parish and local attractions, encouraging a trip to the area that includes Mass with the members of the featured parish.)

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