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St. Rita Catholic Church - National Fund For Sacred Places
2022 Cohort

St. Rita Catholic Church

Indianapolis, Indiana

St. Rita Catholic Church is the only church in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis that was formed specifically to serve Black Catholics.

St. Rita Catholic Church by Caleb Legg

St. Rita Catholic Church by Caleb Legg

2022 Cohort

St. Rita Catholic Church

Indianapolis, Indiana

St. Rita Catholic Church is the only church in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis that was formed specifically to serve Black Catholics.

The congregation was founded in 1919 in the midst of Ku Klux Klan violence and segregation and became a vibrant cultural, athletic, activist, and educational hub for African Americans of all faith traditions in the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood adjacent to downtown Indianapolis. The current Midcentury Modern church was constructed in 1958 with a design by Charles M. Brown & Associates that showcases “the dedication of the African American to Christ.” On the interior, original artworks by Peter Recker pay homage to Negro spirituals and highlight the role of African Americans in Catholicism over time.

As the neighborhood gentrifies, St. Rita is dedicated to serving the community, challenging inequity, and remaining “welcoming to all.” The church shares space with a nonprofit working to avert homelessness, as well as other neighborhood groups, and hosts a variety of activities including meal services, environmental advocacy, and health ministries.

A National Fund grant of $150,000 with $300,000 in matching funds raised by the congregation will allow St. Rita to address urgent life safety and weatherproofing repairs. Currently, the driveway in front of the church is closed to protect pedestrians from falling debris from the bell tower, a key structural component of the building. Work will stabilize the bell tower and restore water-damaged masonry on the main church to ensure ongoing outreach and worship activities can be conducted safely.

St. Rita Catholic Church by Caleb Legg

St. Rita Catholic Church by Caleb Legg

Stories and Media Coverage

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

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