February 17, 2023

Mass Excursions

Restored St. Paul Church is ‘cathedral’ near Greencastle’s active center

St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Greencastle
By Natalie Hoefer

What do you get when you mix a chair factory, a Presbyterian church and a Methodist-founded university?

You get the history of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Greencastle.

Founded in 1853, the parish was literally the “seat” of Catholicism in Putnam County—its first church building was a former chair factory.

In 1866, the parish purchased and moved to a former Presbyterian church building just a block-and-a-half from DePauw University. The church has remained the faith community’s home ever since, serving the faithful of the county and the students of DePauw.

‘The cathedral of Putnam County’

“We just finished up a restoration of our church,” says St. Paul the Apostle pastor Father John Hollowell, who also serves as pastor of Annunciation Parish in Brazil. “We added two transepts with seating on both sides of the sanctuary, so if you look at the church from above, it now looks like a cross.

“There wasn’t anything in the church that was left untouched. Archbishop [Charles C.] Thompson dedicated the space. The parishioners now call it the cathedral of Putnam County!”

The parish is home to about 300 families. Father Hollowell credits the Ladies Guild with all they do to raise funds for the parish, and he calls the Knights of Columbus council “really active. They usually win some state awards every year for the size of the parish versus the number of men active.”

He is also proud of the parish’s Society of St. Vincent de Paul council’s efforts in helping those in need in Putnam County.

“We get a lot of requests for assistance,” says Father Hollowell. “St. Vincent de Paul has a cell phone you can call 24 hours a day and leave a message. Depending on the situation, it might require a team of people to meet with that person or family, or they meet at the church. Everyone in the county knows they can call for assistance and we’ll get back with them.”

The parish also ministers to the Catholic students at DePauw University, particularly by overseeing the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) missionaries serving at the university.

“We offer a Sunday 5 p.m. Mass that’s geared toward the students,” says Father Hollowell. “Between the Mass and the FOCUS Bible studies, we serve about 120 DePauw students.”

DePauw draws students, alumni and football fans to Greencastle, particularly during the football season, he notes. While many choose the DePauw tradition of eating at Marvin’s—famous for their garlic cheeseburger—Father Hollowell prefers to “eat healthier” at the deli at Myers Market next to the parish (go to myersmarketllc.com for hours). He also recommends Taco Wapo—which is also near the church—and Don Julio’s, located on the Greencastle town square.

And don’t miss the parish’s annual fall Oktoberfest operated by the Knights of Columbus.

“It’s a fun, outdoor event that takes place in the parish parking lot,” he explains. “There’s kids’games, raffles, games of chance for adults, food and domestic and craft beer. It’s just a great time.”

But there’s no need to wait for football or fall to visit the area.

“We would love to have anyone for Mass anytime,” says Father Hollowell. “And anyone who hasn’t seen our restored church, it’s definitely worth the trip out.”

St. Paul the Apostle Church is located at 202 E. Washington St. in Greencastle. For Mass times, go to www.stpaul-greencastle.com or call 765-653-5678.

See the stars—or dance under them—and more

There are plenty of day-trip opportunities to Greencastle and Putnam County that can include worshipping at Mass at St. Paul the Apostle Church.

DePauw offers more reasons than football to visit the area. It offers concerts, plays and speakers during the school year, and its McKim Observatory offers several open houses for observing the moon, planets, star clusters and more. For a schedule of open houses, go to cutt.ly/McKimObservatory.

For activities more down to Earth, Putnam County is home to Lieber State Recreation Area, known for Cataract Falls—Indiana’s largest waterfall by volume—as well as hiking trails and Cagles Mill Lake. For more information, go to cutt.ly/LieberSRA.

Central western Indiana is known for its historic covered bridges, and Putnam County boasts nine of them, dating from 1880-1922. They make for lovely photos year-round. For more information, go to cutt.ly/PutnamCoveredBridges.

If you prefer your outdoor time to involve 18 holes, try one of the county’s three golf courses: Tiger Pointe Country Club and Old Hickory Golf Course, both in Greencastle, and Clover Meadows Golf Course in Cloverdale.

You don’t have to stray far from St. Paul the Apostle Church to find plenty to do. Just a few blocks away is Greencastle’s courthouse square where events take place outdoors from May through October.

During those months, enjoy an open-air Farmers Market on the square on Saturdays from 8 a.m.-noon, or come on the first Friday of the month between 6-11 p.m. for local food, children’s games and music stages around the square featuring multiple performers and bands. For more information on these events, call 765-620-4653.

The square is also home to the Greencastle Music Fest, held on the last weekend of August. The event features two full days of music and entertainment for the whole family. For more information, go to Greencastlemusicfest.com. †

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