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Prayers answered: Holy Angels celebrates opening new church

The church was built where the previous one stood for more than 100 years until it was torn down in 2012 due to mold and structural issues.

INDIANAPOLIS — Ten years after parishioners attended their last Mass at a historic Indianapolis church, they gathered to celebrate the dedication of their new church building.

Wednesday evening, Indianapolis Archbishop Charles Thompson presided over the Rite of Dedication and blessing of the new Holy Angels Catholic Church at West 28th Street and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street.

The church was built where the previous one stood for more than 100 years until it was torn down in 2012 due to mold and structural issues.

The small, predominantly Black parish of roughly 300 members faced what seemed a daunting challenge. They would have to raise $1.7 million to build a new church.

Sister Gail Tippett, the parish life coordinator for Holy Angels and St. Rita's, said while some said it would never happen, she had no doubts whatsoever.

"If you ask me why I knew it was going to happen, I keep seeing Him every day, just saying, 'Just keep doing this. I've got it,'" Tippett said. "If God sets a plan in motion, it will keep going until it comes about."

The new church, open and light-filled, is simple in design yet special in so many ways. The altar was made by the monks at St Meinrad's and the pews, more than 100 years old, were salvaged from the old Holy Cross Church on the southeast side.  

"Almost everyone that comes in the reaction is astounding joy," Tippett said.

Credit: WTHR

She likes to call it the "House That God Built" with many helping hands from across Indiana and beyond.

She said some families donated on behalf of deceased parents or grandparents who grew up in the parish. 

"We actually stayed in the neighborhood," she said.

Students at the adjacent Holy Angels Catholic School pleaded to do their part. They collected coins, $6,000 worth, to pay for interior doors etched with angels, modeled after the one that's stood on the church grounds since 1903.

Credit: WTHR
Students at the adjacent Holy Angels school collected coins, $6,000 worth, to pay for interior doors etched with angels, modeled after the one that's stood on the church grounds since 1903.

Tippett said when she realized the church needed a piano, someone donated one without being asked. 

Credit: WTHR
Sr Tippett said when she realized the church needed a piano, someone donated one without being asked. The same for the Crucifix behind the altar which wasn't in the budget.

The same for the crucifix behind the altar, which wasn't in the budget.

She said she'd be thinking, "'Oh, I wish we had this,' and before I knew it, someone was coming forward donating money or their talent to make it happen."

Credit: WTHR
Sr Tippett said when she realized the church needed a piano, someone donated one without being asked. The same for the Crucifix behind the altar which wasn't in the budget.

While there a still a few things to finish on the punch list, such as the altar floor, Mass will be held at the new church starting this weekend. (They had been having Sunday Mass at the nearby Marian University chapel.)

Tippett said it's been a long journey, one of faith and perseverance and one she's so thrilled to see to fruition.

"You dream inside your head and to walk into the space after nine years that you've been hoping for and now it's reality," she said.  "It's an awesome experience."

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