Welcome! For more than 20 years now, we have been building the Kingdom of God, not with a few people, but with everyone! Please accept my warmest welcome, and I pray you will come to know St. Maria Goretti as we all do—our Spiritual Home and Loving Community. We are glad you are here and look forward to meeting you! God Bless you.
- Father Kevin
The parish of St. Maria Goretti has accomplished a lot in our short history. We were founded as a mission of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel parish, in Carmel, Indiana. Groundbreaking for the new mission was held on July 6th, 1995. And the first Mass was held in what is now the Parish Hall on December 8th, 1995. In August of 1996, our school opened its doors to nearly 200 students. In 1998, an addition to the school was completed that enabled the school to serve over 350 students. In the summer of 2000, a third addition to the school was completed, along with the Stuart-Gadus Fieldhouse. And in August of 2000, St. Maria Goretti became an independent parish and Fr. Kevin J. Haines was named our first pastor.
In 2002, plans were begun to build our church. It began with a questionnaire that was sent out to parishioners, followed by two town hall meetings to determine what was important to our parish family. The preference was for fan seating, which allows for a more intimate setting. The absense of posts in the church would result in everyone having a clear view of the altar. To this end, the last pew was not to be over 95 feet from the Altar. The design of St. Maria Goretti is a contemporary version of a traditional church. The goal was to raise our minds and hearts to God and to heaven. All of St. Maria Goretti's major beams come together to point to heaven, as well.
On July 26, 2003, ground was broken on the new church, and on December 8, 2004, the 150th anniversary of the celebration of the Immaculate Conception and 9th anniversary of the first Mass of St. Maria Goretti, the new church was dedicated. Bishop William Higi consecrated the altar and building, and fireworks were set off to celebrate the occasion.
Features of our Church
Located in the floor directly under the Main Altar of the church are 13 first class relics, each obtained
directly from the Vatican. In order to be considered "first class", a relic must be a part of the body of the saint (example: bone or blood). A second class relic is one that the saint has touched and used throughout their lives. The relics under the altar are those of: St. Maria Goretti, St. Philip Neri, St. Bernadine of Siena, St. John Bosco, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Clare of Assisi, St. Frances Cabrini, St. Pius V, Padre Pio, and the Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.
Designed to be the focal point when entering the church, the polished brass tabernacle is surrounded by a bronze plate. There is a round disc, cast in bronze, above the tabernacle with IHS etched in it, which is representative of the Holy Name of Jesus. The stained glass screen surrounding the tabernacle is illuminated by light shining through the Holy Spirit window. The light bursting through both the window and screen reiterates the presence of Jesus in the tabernacle. Between the Main Altar and daily chapel Altar are four sliding stained glass pocket doors. These can be opened for additional seating.
Located in an alcove on the south end of the church is a statue of St. Maria Goretti, our Patron Saint. With her hand extended offering a lily as a sign of purity, her devotion to Christ is unmistakeable as a crucifix hangs around her neck. There are red votive candles, signifying our Patroness' status as a martyr, surrounding St. Maria Goretti and all are invited to offer prayer to our patroness at anytime. The figure is the same size as an average twelve-year old girl. Opposite of St. Maria Goretti, on the north end of the church, sites the statue of Mary kneeling. looking up at the crucifix above the altar with her hands in front of her chest, as if offering her heart to the lord and inviting all of us to do the same. Like the St. Maria Goretti alcove, visitors may ask Mary's intercession by lighting one of the many blue votive candles surrounding her.
With windows facing directly east and housing the beautiful window of the Holy Spirit, the Daily Chapel is a wonderfully peaceful place to pray. As the morning sun passes through the 100-seat chapel, the tabernacles's presence is unmistakable. This illuminates the main church as it flows through the stained glass surrounding the tabernacle. In addition to the Daily Mass, Daily Adoration takes place in the chapel from 6am - midnight. Are all welcome to visit with our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.
The most prevalent stained glass window at St. Maria Goretti is the 16-foot circular window facing the east which features St. Michael the Archangel. Composed of over 12,000 pieces of glass, the window portrays to all the powerful image of St. Michael, guarding and protecting the St. Maria Goretti Parish family. St. Michael weighs 1700 lbs...almost one ton! His head alone is over 2 feet tall and his outstretched hand is large enough to cradle a two-year old child.
Below the St. Michael window on the outer wall of the Daily Chapel is the beautifully crafted Holy Spirit window, which is a part of the daily chapel where adoration takes place and the presence of the Holy Spirit is continuous. Morning adorers will appreciate the glorious light as the sun shines through the magnificent stained glass. The window was designed after the window at the Altar of the Chair at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
Upon entering the rear of the church, visitors' eyes will naturally be drawn to the massive crucifix suspended above the Main Altar. Handcrafted in Northern Italy, the crucifix was carved from linden wood with the corpus being 8 1/2 feet from head to toe. The cross is a wooden box wrapped around a metal frame and is 16 feet tall. The Processional Cross is an exact replica of the Crucifix and was donated by the St. Maria Goretti Holy Name Society.
The fourteen Stations of the Cross were made in Assisi, Italy. While in Assisi, Fr. Kevin and a group of parishioners on pilgrimage found the Stations in a small wood shop in the old section of Assisi. Fr. Kevin made an arrangement with the artist to produce an identical set at 2 1/2 times the size. Within weeks of the group's return to the U.S., the artist was diagnosed with cancer and died less than a year later. The original set first viewed by the group was purchased and can be seen hanging in the church. These exquisite representations of the fourteen scenes in Jerusalem, where Jesus walked on his way to die for us, are created in ink embedded in the pinewood, with watercolor tint highlights. An attached olive wood cross from the Holy Land crowns the arched top of each of the Stations.
Not all of our wooden features were crafted in Italy! Parishioners Kim and Mike Lucas were commissioned to create wooden pieces throughout the new church. These pieces included: the Main Altar, Main Ambo, Kneelers, Baptismal Spirals, Candlesticks, Tabernacle Altar, Chapel Altar and Chapel Ambo. Each piece was uniquely handcrafted. The Lucas's applied both Barley Twist and Exodus Spiral carpentry designs to the process. This mix of spiral imagery represents the divinity and humanity coming together in Christ.
Parishioner Tom Harford handmade the Baptismal Font located in the rear of the church. It is an impressive wooden structure holding a lighted acrylic tub topped by a copper bowl continuously "feeding" water into the tub. As we see the living water and bubbles passing through the luminous tub, we are reminded of the sacrament that begins our lives as Catholics. Tom Harford also handmade the Ambry, which is a permanent fixture built into the wall located just outside the rear doors of the church in the Narthex and visible from both sides, to hold all the Holy Oils.