Eight years after the demolition of the original building, the congregation of Holy Angels Church is getting a fresh start.
In 2012, the 109-year-old predominately Black church was demolished after sustaining prolonged weather damage. Since then, parishioners have been gathering at Marian University for services. During a Sept. 26 groundbreaking ceremony, members of the church and community gathered to begin building a new church at its original location, 740 W. 28th St., at the corner of 28th and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. streets.
“It’s a new beginning,” Sister Gail Trippett, a nun at Holy Angels, said. “Hopefully, we’ll be finished by Easter.”
Since the demolition, Trippett said members of the church have been raising funds to rebuild and have also become more involved in the community. Church leaders host webinars addressing systemic racism and human rights issues in Indianapolis and globally.
Trippett said, as Catholics, parishioners must identify and defend pro-life ideals, which she says goes beyond abortion.
“Often people use pro-life to just speak about abortion,” Trippett said. “But the popes have written to encompass not only the issue of life in the womb, but life until we cross over and return to God.”
Trippett said leaders and congregants discuss racism, the rights of immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and poverty here in Indianapolis.
Advocacy is nothing new for the church. Built in 1903, the original church welcomed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Sen. Robert Kennedy through its doors during the height of the first Civil Rights Movement. When the original building was torn down, member Sherlynn Pillow told reporters, “A lot of history has happened here. It’s bittersweet, but we know that we have to move forward. We can do that, and grow the parish even larger.”
Vincent Harrington, a member of the parish council for Holy Angels, said the groundbreaking was limited to 100 people to maintain social distancing. Archdiocese of Indianapolis Rev. Charles C. Thompson presided over the ceremony, and Mayor Joe Hogsett was in attendance.
“This is a homecoming,” Trippett said. “It’s a blessing, and we’re very thankful for it.”
Contact staff writer Breanna Cooper at 317-762-7848. Follow her on Twitter @BreannaNCooper.