Three years after the chapel was built, he was named the pastor at St. Joan of Arc Church, too, which Dudzinski said was unheard of at the time.
Many priests serve two parishes, he said. But Kokomo’s two parishes are some of the biggest in the Lafayette diocese.
And he worked tirelessly at both parishes, said Nicole Mawbey, a member at St. Joan. She remembers seeing Dudzinski working some nights at 10 p.m.
“I don’t think people realize how self-sacrificing he was,” she said. “He’s the hardest working man. He gave a lot.”
He encouraged members of the church to give, too. He said they should be volunteering outside of the church whenever possible.
He practiced what he preached by going out into the neighborhood surrounding St. Patrick Church. He and teams from the church would help repair nearby houses, putting roofs on homes to help people out.
Mayor Greg Goodnight commended them on the work.
“Churches should be imbedded in the middle of communities,” he said. “St. Patrick is a perfect example of a church being invested.”
The pastor said he wanted to clean up the north side of Kokomo.
Part of that effort included buying and tearing out a row of problem houses across the street from the church in what is now the church’s parking lot.
“In those houses across the street, there was drugs and prostitution,” Dudzinski said. “We wanted a safe neighborhood.”
The church hopes to build a parish life center in that area soon.
Goodnight said he and Dudzinski seemed to be focused on the same thing in that regard – reinvesting in the city’s north side.
“This was a step in the right direction,” Goodnight said. “It wasn’t an isolated project. It was a big part of a larger plan.”