History

On February 10, 1947 under the guidance of Father Harry S. Connelly, the Holy Spirit Community held its first liturgical worship at what was then known as St. Therese’s Shrine.

In August of 1948 Father Connelly was transferred to Holy Rosary Parish and Father John H. Eyerman was named administrator. In November of 1948 a census of the parish showed a Catholic population of 624 with no school, no church building, just devoted parishioners. Mr. O. L. Parks and Mr. Charles Vatterott donated to the parish on August 19, 1950 eight lots on Duchene Lane with all their improvements.

One month later, September 19, the property at East Broad Street and Yearling Road was purchased and four days before the Christmas of 1950 Father Eyerman moved into the new rectory.

The present chapel was blessed by Bishop Ready on April 5, 1951. The two Sunday Masses became four with Father Eyerman being assisted on weekends by Father Edward Healy of St. Charles Seminary. The cornerstone for the school was laid by Bishop Edward Hettinger on July 20, 1952 and 167 children were enrolled that first fall. Classes were conducted by the Dominican Sisters of St. Mary’s of the Springs.

On December 21, 1952 Father Chester LeBlank was named administrator and was succeeded by Father Robert W. Harwick on June 26, 1953. There were now 2269 Catholics in the parish and six Masses were celebrated every Sunday. Father Harwick was named the first pastor of Holy Spirit on September 12, 1954, the same day on which the old church on Duchene Lane was dedicated.

By 1954 the population of the parish had grown to 4517 with 672 students in the school. The school was then staffed by five Dominican sisters, four sisters of St. Joseph, and five lay teachers. In March of that year the cornerstone of the second church was laid with dedication of the church on September 12, 1954.
Plans for Holy Spirit’s new church were drawn up in April of 1959 which was to be built at Broad and Yearling. The new church was built to align with the school so that later it could be converted into classrooms. A new parish, St. Pius, was formed in 1958 and eastern boundaries for Holy Spirit were set at McNaughten Road.

The cornerstone was laid on September 4, 1960. On the first Friday of December 1960, Father Harwick celebrated the first Mass in the new church on an altar built by former parishioner Frank Wesley. The church was dedicated by Bishop Issenman on January 15, 1961.

The establishment of St. Matthew and St. Phillip parishes in the late 1950’s created today’s north and south boundaries of Holy Spirit Parish. From 1974 to 1982 Father John Dreese and Father Anthony Missimi served as co-pastors. It should also be noted that during the period 1979 to 1981, Sr. Pauline Devine was assigned to the parish as an associate pastor. In July 1982 Father Jerome Stluka was assigned as pastor.  The bells in the tower were purchased in 1983 from the former Carmel Community and installed more than 20 years after the church’s completion.

In July 1989, Msgr. J. Colby Grimes was assigned as pastor. The school was remodeled in 1987 and entered the 1990’s with a state-of-the-art computer room and an enrollment of 300 students, again near capacity.

In July 1997 Father Raymond Larussa was assigned as pastor to Holy Spirit Church.  In 2004, an elevator was installed to provide access from the ground to the sanctuary and basement levels of the church. The “Ten Commandments” monument located at the front entrance of the church and funded through the efforts of parishioners was dedicated on September 11, 2005. A Shrine to the Blessed Virgin was erected by the Holy Spirit Men’s Club in 2007.

Father William L. Arnold was assigned as Holy Spirit’s pastor in July 2009. Holy Spirit Parish continues to be a vibrant and diversified Catholic Community under the continued spiritual guidance of Father Arnold.

Today's Date

Wednesday, September 22

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