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History of the Saint Elisabeth Parish PDF Nyomtatás E-mail
Írta: Kiss Imre   
2009. augusztus 01. szombat, 11:13

The history of the Saint Elisabeth Parish in New Szeged goes back to the twenties years of the 20th century when it was suggested by Márton Paulovits, a citizen of the district, to build a church there. It was a good idea to erect a church there because the district on the left side of the River Tisza had developed rapidly and it had not had an own parish church yet. Catholic people found the idea very attractive and accepted it soon. That’s why there was a society founded for church building the year 1902. By that year there was enough money collected to start to build a church. There was soon a prize competition published which was won by a master builder from Budapest, Ferenc Wihart (1881-1960), who was famous for planning churches and villas as well.  

Construction work began in the summer of 1908. On Aug 16 the foundation of the parish church was laid. It had to become a church in New-Gothic style with a main nave and a transept on the Torontál square. The main tower was over 30 m high with assistent towers on both sides. The length of the church in the interior is 21 m and it’s 13 m wide. The building’s height was 12 m. In order to construct a main altar, two side altars and a pulpit in New-Gothic style material from the nearby Rochus church in Szeged was delivered to the district New Szeged. The main altar presented the church patron Saint Elisabeth while the right main altar was devoted to the Virgin Mary. On the left side there was a Saint Cross altar erected. The confessional and the cupboard in the vestry were built by József Jamrik. The organ was purchased from the organ building manufacture of János Szoukenik in Szeged. 

The church was consecrated on the nameday of the church patron the Saint Elisabeth on Nov 19, 1910. It was a big celebration for the whole district of New Szeged. By the way, this period was a very busy one in the region: in the year 1910 alone there were 3 new churches built in the bishopric. In the time between 1900 and 1914 there were altogether 26 new churches consecrated in the Bishopric Szeged-Csanád.  

During the First World War the bells and organ pipes were confiscated. The organ could be restored by 1922. New bells were bought only in 1925. Next year the tower got a tower clock. Between 1923 and 1933 there were 10 new stained glass windows set in. Later electricity was intalled in the church. 

In 1932 the church became a parish church. Earlier it belonged to the Szeged Town Parish. 

Nuns belonging to the Catholic order of the School Nuns in Kalocsa suggested to establish a Lourdes Cave neighbouring the church. It was realized between 1936 and 1937. The 1,90 m high statue of the Saint Virgin was carved by the sculptor Antal Tápai. During World War II the 11 m high Lourdes Cave remained intact although there were a lot of unexploded grenades found close to the church. Sadly, the cave was abolished in 1968 by the officials. Then the figure of the Virgin Mary was brought into the church for which there was a new altar granted. 

During World War II the stained windows were damaged and the tower also hit. The organ, the statues were damaged as well, the offertory and the Holy Grave were robbed, mass ornats were teared up.The church interiour was restored in 1951 and the tower in 1955. Till the year 1962 ten stained glass windows could be repaired and except this, there were 3 new ones added. In 1964 the interiour got painted. Gas heating was introduced in 1967-70 to the church. At that time, the church interiour became reformed according the Second Vatican Council.  

In 1971 a new altar was consecrated in honour of the Virgin Mary. The statue of the Holy Virgin was carved by the artist Antal Tápai again. In 1973, there was a big, 4,5 m high crucifix made of limetree and set up in the sanctuary. It’s a work of Sándor Rétfalvi. The statue of Christ was formed of mahagoni from Ghana. In 1977-78 the church received a new organ, vestry and banks. In 2000-01 the interior was painted again, the water pipeline and sewer-system were modernised. A year later a new organ was bought.  

Second church in the area of the parish

At the beginning of the 1990s the idea came up to build a second church in the area of the parish. The idea goes back to Nándor Katona, parish priest at that time and the Salvatorian nun Rózsa Ludviga Agócs. Catholics of the region welcomed their suggestion by heart. In 2004 the authorisation for erecting a new church was signed by Endre Gyulay, bishop of the Diocese Szeged-Csanád. This sacred building was planned to be erected at the place where the family home of the Agócs sisters stood earlier and where there was a small Saint Cross chapel established in order to celebrate there holy masses between 1975 and 2000.  The place for the family home was chosen by the sisters because the stone jubilee cross of the bishopric was standing there from 1930 on. The small chapel consisting of 2 livingrooms could admit about 40-50 people visiting a mass on Saturday afternoons. We are mostly thanksful to Géza Havass, the parish priest of that time, that the chapel could be established.  

But Catholics of the region had the wish to participate in the holy mass regularly and to experience God’s almight love which is revealed through the Cross of Jesus Christ, his Ressurection and the sending out of the Saint Ghost. 

The foundation of the new church was laid down on April 8, 2006 by old bishop Endre Gyulay, when vicar-general Imre Kiss was the parish priest of New Szeged.  

The projects of the church were made by DA Ágoston Kiss and Károly Valkony who not only planned the building but also controlled its construction from the very beginning to the end. Interior designer was Márta Dragonits. The altar piece of the Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta was painted by Rita Sonkodi, ceramics was made by Magdolna Tóth while the crucifix was created by Mária Beliczai. The icon of God Mother comes from the artist Pascari Dimitru. Site manager was Ing. Ferenc Kiss. 

The church built in honour of the Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta was consecrated on Oct 14, 2006 by old bishop Endre Gyulay and reigning bishop László Kiss-Rigó of Szeged-Csanád. 

The total amount of the costs ran up to 160 million Forints. This sum was granted by the Catholic relief organisation „Kirche in Not”, the American episcopate, the church foundation of the city of Szeged, the Agócs sisters and the Salvatorians. Catholics living in New Szeged and the St. Elisabeth Foundation from New Szeged also contributed to the costs of their own.  

New rectory and Community center will be built 

Negotiations between the public bath company Liget Kft and the directly neighboring New Szeged Parish began in December 2007. It was the intention of the swimming pool company to enlarge its area and that’s why it intended to purchase the building of the parish in the neighborhood. In return, he public bath company offered to have a new rectory built on its own costs neighboring the New-Gothic parish church on Torontál square. After long negotiations the project was approved by the bishopric so that in autumn 2008 ground works could be started and in April 2009 the exact realization began. 

Of course, it’s sorry for the old building of the rectory where the vast majority of the parish events took place since 1930 but a modern building could serve the community much more. In this place it should be added that the neighboring swimming pool and the continuous noise coming from there, disturbed the religious instructions and intellectual work as well. Because of the countinuous noise priests could never have a rest. Life in the rectory would have been later surely irreconcilable with the sporting establishment.   

Architectural plans came from the architect István Novák DLA, while architect Péter Novák was trusted with carrying out the project. The new building was planned  directly joining to the old Catholic church. It should complement the old sacred building with new and puritan formal elements of the architecture and give it a representative look at the same time. Ont he pillars of the new rectory, basic motifs of  Christian religion are planned. The gate is planned to be a rather simple two-door one made of wrought iron. 

The surface area of the new rectory should take 345 square metres. The two-floored house will be built in direct addition to the main nave of the church. The community rooms will be realised on the park side. There are 2 office rooms, a library, a great hall (75 square metres), 2 smaller rooms for religious instruction, a room for the charity organisation, a conference room for the parish priest, 2 flats for priests, 2 guest rooms and 2 garages planned to be realised in the new building. 

The Northern side of the church and the Western part of the new building flank the church garden of the parish – a pleasant place to stay for young and old people as well. There will be only a low fence made. At the entrance there is a place for handicapped people to enter who can’t walk properly. 

According to the general architect, the community complex should be ready by September 2009. By that term it is going to be ready by 90 to 95 per cent. 

In our community we pray much for the new rectory. But we must remember that there is the Lord who has to build the house as well, otherwise the work of the workers is in vain (Ps 126). That’s why we ask everybody to pray with us so that God might bless our efforts. We shall try to seek God’s will and shall keep this in mind. 

Imre Kiss
Parish priest

Módosítás dátuma: 2009. augusztus 01. szombat, 11:22
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