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After fire damages Indianapolis church, archbishop asks for prayers

A fire badly damaged St. Monica Catholic Church in northwest Indianapolis overnight on Wednesday.

“Please pray for the parish of St. Monica,” Archbishop Joseph Tobin of Indianapolis said in a Sept. 9 statement. The archbishop visited the parish to survey the damage

The parish’s Facebook page showed photos of the damage, but also showed a picture of a large Virgin Mary statue that survived the blaze.

“Through the flames and smoke, Our Blessed Mother stood strong and unscathed,” the parish said.

The fire was reported about 4 a.m. Firefighters saw heavy flames when they arrived.
Firefighters contained the blaze to the vestibule area but part of the roof collapsed on a section near the sanctuary, the Associated Press reports. The fire itself did not enter the church, but the sanctuary suffered smoke and water damage.

“The narthex of the church is destroyed,” Archbishop Tobin said. “While there is no fire or water damage to the worship space, the church proper was filled with smoke and there is probably some damage.”

There were no reported injuries. The cause of the fire is not known, though the Indianapolis Fire Department has said it was accidental and possibly elecrically related.

The parish serves about 3,000 families.

The parish school, which is attached to the church, was not damaged. However, it canceled classes for Wednesday, and the parish’s 8 a.m. Mass was said in the gym.

Fr. Todd Goodson, pastor of the parish, asked that people “Just pray for our students and families that everyone can be back at school and back at this church soon,” according to WTHR.

He added that the community is “thankful that nobody was hurt. We’ll move on from here. It’s a building, and we can build a building and keep going.”


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