In 1946, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis appointed Fr. Edwin Sahm as founding pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church. The church was officially dedicated on December 8, 1952, the feast of the Immaculate Conception.
The initial boundaries of the new parish were 52nd Street to the south, Meridian Street to the West, the Monon Rail Road to the east and the Marion County line to the north. The school opened and our first Mass was celebrated in late 1948. The northern boundary of the parish was reduced in 1961 when St. Luke’s parish was founded. During the 1960’s, additional class rooms and rooms for the convent were constructed.
Fr. Sahm retired in 1976 (Fr. Sahm died in 1986 at age 79) and was succeeded by Fr. David Lawler. In late 1982, Fr. Lawler left the parish and was replaced early in 1983 by Fr. James F. Byrne. Fr. James R. Bonke was in residence in 1990. In January 1992, Fr. Jeffrey Godecker, Vice-Chancellor in charge of implementing Diocesan Plans and Programs, moved into the parish house at IHM. In 1993, Sr. Helen Sullivan retired as principal after twelve years and was replaced by Jeannine Vesper. Fr. Byrne officially retired from IHM in July 1995 (Fr. Byrne died on January 23, 2000). Fr. Jeff Godecker became IHM’s fourth pastor on July 2, 1995.
The parish celebrated its Fiftieth Anniversary on October 19, 1996, with great fanfare. The late 1990’s saw major capital campaigns and improvements throughout the parish. The school’s Kindergarten officially opened with its first class in August 2000, and is housed in the church basement, along with the school’s new library.
In July 2007 Fr. Robert Sims was appointed the new Pastor at IHM. As the parish moves into the 21st Century, there is a renewed spirit of community with parishioner participation at an all time high. We currently have 1,119 parish families.
Dates of Interest
- On April 1, 1981, the church steeple crashed onto the front steps of the church in strong winds (fortunately, no one was injured).
- 1983 was the first year that the parish published its Pictorial Directory.
- The church elevator was added in 1986.
- The Parish Activity Center was built and dedicated in 1988 at a cost of $951,649.
- As of September, 2017, we have a total of 1,119 registered families.