A Brief History our Parish
Most Reverend Paul C. Schulte, D.D. Archbishop of Indianapolis, bought a little over 17 acres for a parish plant from Perry O. and Helen Cadle Bonham on November 26, 1947. Though nothing had been built yet, the Archbishop created the new St. Michael Parish on April 21, 1948, naming Reverend Thomas J. Finneran as the first pastor. 106 families belonging to St. Anthony’s Parish comprised the original parishioners. These families numbered 136 by the year end.
A temporary Rectory was built at the corner of 30th and Tibbs. On November 24, 1948, ground was broken for the construction of the school which was to serve as a temporary church as well. Archbishop Schulte laid the cornerstone for the school on March 20, 1949. The school was completed and furnished that fall and was dedicated by Archbishop Schulte on September 4, 1949. The school opened on September 6, 1949 with 95 students and the first principal was Sister William Marie. The first Mass at St. Michael Church was celebrated by Father Finneran on the second floor of the school on September 17, 1949.
On November 8, 1951, Rev. Richard Kavanagh was named administrator after Father Finneran, who was ill, resigned the pastorate. At that time, St. Michael Parish had 985 members from 275 families and had 176 pupils enrolled in the school.
On September 29, 1953 (the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel), ground was broken for the construction of the new church and convent. On April 4, 1954, Archbishop Schulte presided over the new church’s cornerstone laying. In the stone was placed a unique memento – a Dictaphone recording of the voices of all the school children and many of the adults in the parish. By November 7, 1954, Archbishop Schulte blessed the new church of St. Michael the Archangel.
Both the school and the church continued to grow through the years. Catastrophe struck in December of 1967 when a 2-alarm fire started at the nave and destroyed St. Michael Church. Masses had to be held in the school cafeteria and all weddings in 1968 had to be held at Marian College. Reconstruction of the church began in April of 1968 and was completed one year later when Archbishop Schulte rededicated the new church on April 13, 1969.
The 1970’s and 1980’s were, unfortunately, times of declining enrollment at St. Michael School and a time of declining tithing for St. Michael Church. Fire struck again on April 1, 1989 when flames consumed the rear section of the church. The sacristy required complete reconstruction and this took 4- 5 weeks to complete.
At the beginning of 1995, under the direction of Father James Wilmoth, a capital campaign kicked off to raise funds to build a Parish Life Center. The PLC would have a gym, a large kitchen and several meeting rooms for staff and parishioners. The PLC was completed and dedicated on September 29, 1996 and proved to be an indispensable part of St. Michael’s parish life.
Father Tony Volz became the pastor at St. Michael in 1997 when Father Wilmoth was reassigned (Rev. Joe Villa graciously filled in for a few months between pastors). Father Tony served until 2004, when Father Kenneth (K.T.) Taylor became the pastor. Under Fr. Tony and Fr. K.T., the various parish commissions and the Parish Council were brought back. They continue to thrive today and help ensure that the parish runs successfully. Father Varghese Maliakkal, joined St. Michael in January of 2006 as Sacramental Minister. Fr. Varghese became pastor in July of 2006 when Fr. K.T. was reassigned.
Father Michael Hoyt joined us as Administrator in July of 2014, when Father Varghese was reassigned to Sacred Heart Parish in Clinton, Indiana and St. Joseph Parish in Rockville. Father Michael had been at St. Malachy parish in Brownsburg before he was assigned to St. Michael Parish. He spent approximately seven years in France and has started a monthly French Mass here at St. Michael.
In July of 2015, a severe wind toppled the steeple from the church roof and many trees on the campus were either felled or damaged. A new steeple was constructed and on May 13, 2016 the new steeple was dedicated and raised to the roof and the church bells sounded once again. A time capsule was included in the new steeple with memories, pictures and mementos from many of the parishioners and friends of St. Michael parish.
Father John Kamwendo became Administrator of St. Michael parish in July of 2017, when Father Michael Hoyt was transferred to St. Thomas Aquinas parish here in Indianapolis. Father Kamwendo served as associate pastor at St. Michael and St. Peter parishes in Brookville, Indiana before arriving at St. Michael, Indianapolis.
Our Mission Statement
We, the parishioners of St. Michael the Archangel, are a diverse Catholic community dedicated to living the Gospel through the active celebration of the sacraments, lifelong faith formation and a continuing commitment to our neighbors.