St. Monica’s holds Christmas mass in gymnasium following September fire

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (December 25, 2015) - A fire destroyed St. Monica’s Catholic Church at 62nd and Michigan on the North Side of Indianapolis in September. It did not however extinguish the flame within this parish of 3,000 Indianapolis families.

“This is our church and we love it,” said parishioner Marie Buss.

On September 9, 2015 what started as a small electrical fire spread and destroyed the entire worship space of St. Monica’s Catholic Church.

“It was a pretty big shock for all of us I think and then personally for me it took a month or two to regroup and get back on our feet and figure out where we were going from here,” said Father Todd Goodson, the Pastor of St. Monica’s.

The parish and Archdiocese of Indianapolis is now left footing the bill for more than $1 million in damage to the church, with insurance covering the cost of another half million.

“I’ve never done any kind of campaigning or anything like that or even built anything in previous parishes so this is all a very new experience for me,” said Goodson.

But this Christmas, outside the doors of their beloved sanctuary, this family of worshipers has found another home in the St. Monica’s School gymnasium.

“Jesus had humble beginnings when he came to earth, it was not the ideal location and we kind of maybe captured the spirit of that a little bit here. This isn’t the ideal place to have Christmas mass but Jesus was born in a manger and we kind of made it work, just like that,” said Goodson.

What the fire couldn’t put out was the flame of faith within each of St. Monica’s members.

“Certainly at the beginning it felt very different but it’s the spirit of the community and that has not changed. If anything, it’s gotten us closer and closer,” said parishioner Kim Isakson.

“It’s where people gather and it’s where Jesus is and it becomes, it’s church, it’s home, it’s community,” said parishioner Dorothy Petsch.

Renovations on the church have not yet begun. Goodson hopes the church will have its doors open again by January 1, 2017.

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