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St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception - National Fund For Sacred Places
2020 Cohort

St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception

(Roman Catholic)

Indianapolis, Indiana

St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception was founded in 1858 by German immigrants in Indianapolis looking to worship outside of English-speaking congregations.

St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception by Hirons
St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception by Hirons
2020 Cohort

St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception

(Roman Catholic)

Indianapolis, Indiana

St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception was founded in 1858 by German immigrants in Indianapolis looking to worship outside of English-speaking congregations.

As the city expanded in the early 1900s, the congregation commissioned German architect Hermann Gaul to construct a new church in the Germantown neighborhood, now known as Lockerbie Square. Gaul designed the church, completed in 1912, in the Gothic Revival style with strong vertical elements, steeples, and pointed arches reminiscent of the Cologne Cathedral in Germany.

Due to the negative impact of World War I on German cultural life in America, St. Mary “de-Germanized,” and over time it has attracted a more diverse population. Cubans became a significant part of the St. Mary ministry by the 1960s. Today, about 50 percent of congregants speak Spanish as their first language, resulting in bilingual Masses and ministries. St. Mary remains a “pillar of the Latino community today” but also supports the local community at large. The church hosts and sponsors multiple initiatives to help people in need, including free healthcare, home visits, food delivery, and a food pantry.

St. Mary is undergoing a multi-phase restoration project. With a $250,000 grant from the National Fund, as well as $500,000 in matching funds raised through extensive gifts from congregants, the church is repairing the spires, west facade, and tower ornamentation. This work will include stabilization, tuckpointing, cleaning, and applying protective sealants to ensure that congregants and community members can safely utilize the church in the future. 

Three Historic Steeples Reach New Heights

Rising dozens, or sometimes hundreds, of feet above churches, steeples and towers have served multiple purposes throughout their history—as beacons of light, timekeepers through clocks and bells, watchtowers, weathervanes, and iconic architectural symbols.

St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception by Hirons

Stories and Media Coverage

Read more about how the National Fund for Sacred Places is helping congregations around the country rehabilitate their sacred places.

Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church by Luis P. Gutierrez