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Archdiocese of Indianapolis intends to demolish Church of the Holy Cross

Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission plans meeting about the building
Church of the Holy Cross
Posted at 10:11 PM, Mar 26, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-26 22:11:19-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A church that has stood for more than 100 years is scheduled to be torn down, but people who want to save the Church of the Holy Cross have one prayer left.

The Archdiocese of Indianapolis announced their intention to demolish the church on the city's near-east side in a letter to the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association, despite a petition signed by hundreds of residents to save the building.

In response, the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission organized an emergency meeting about the building for Wednesday night.

The church has stood vacant since 2014 after the parish merged with nearby St. Philip Neri parish.

Fr. Jeffrey Dufresne, the pastor of St. Philip Neri, said all development proposals it received for the building were "inconsistent with its inherent dignity" and "would contradict Catholic teaching or the Gospel of Jesus Christ" in the letter to the neighborhood.

The Archdiocese of Indianapolis only intends to demolish the church and rectory, not the former Holy Cross School or its gymnasium.

Tony Ficarra lives across the street from the former church. He said he's frustrated with how the Archdiocese has managed the property since the parish left.

"We ignore the property until it begins to fall apart, bulldoze it into the ground, and put what? That angers me," Ficarra said. "Stripping the beauty of that building from the skyline and the environment is an entirely selfish and small-minded solution."

The historic preservation commission could make a motion to designate the church as a protected landmark, which would ban its demolition.

Mark Dollase of preservation group Indiana Landmarks said that action has happened before.

"The Drake apartments on 30th and Meridian had been purchased by the Children's Museum, but the city designated the building as a protected landmark," Dollase said. "I still think we have a 50-50 chance of saving the building."

The preservation commission's meeting about the Church of the Holy Cross is scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday evening at the City-Council Building.