Indianapolis Catholic church reaps faithful rewards from Super Bowl

St. John Catholic Church opened its doors to visitors last year during the Super Bowl.
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On a frigid day, parishioners are feeling the warmth of faith, the power of God and the kick of Super Bowl XLVI.

A year ago, Indianapolis was giddy with Super Bowl fever. In the middle of all the music, drinking, ziplining and fun stood a tower faith with its doors wide open.

St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church joined the party, and parishioners' unorthodox approach to sharing their faith is paying off in ways they hadn't imagined.

Last year, St. John's offered visitors a communion of faith - including the "Ask a Catholic" booth. There were photo opportunities with a cardboard cutout of the Pope and "look like a nun."

The approach was unorthodox, irreverent and incredibly rewarding.

"God always outdoes us and He did it again," said Father Rick Nagle, St. John Catholic Church.

The church raised more than enough money to repair its leaky spires. It's open longer hours and attendance is up 40 percent.

At a time when many mainline churches are struggling and membership is falling, what's occurred here at St. John's in just one year is somewhere perhaps between amazing and miraculous.

Beneath the hush of daily Mass, parishioners feel a new energy, an attitude and a vibrancy.

"It's not this, 'I come here on Sundays, once a week.' It's like it changes everything. The sky's the limit. You can do anything," said Anne Marie Brummer, church member.

Fr. Rick Nagle says the Super Bowl catapulted the church's ministry.

"People would often say, 'I've driven by here 100 times or I walked by here a thousand times and never came in.' I'd say, 'Why not?' 'I didn't know if I could or not.' So that's want we learned, so beautifully, to welcome someone at the door," said Fr. Nagle.

Those doors would likely be open again if the city hosts another Super Bowl.