History of Holy Spirit

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In February, 1975, The Church of the Holy Spirit was established as a parish. Fr. William J. Kleiser, the first pastor, began with 11 faithful folks. Six months later, Fr. John R. Batson became Pastor. The growing community of 60 families celebrated the Eucharist at St. Joseph Hospital East (now St. Francis Hospital), then at Christian Brothers High School, and next at the Balmoral Cinema. In September 1978, the new church on the 4.5-acre site on Hickory Crest Drive was dedicated. During the last six months of 1978, membership doubled from 200 to 400 families. An additional four acres of land was acquired, and the Family Life Center (now called The Batson Center) was dedicated in September of 1985. Portraits of the two founding pastors hang in the Pastoral Office. In 1992, the parish purchased twenty acres south of the church, including the wooded area that provides our beautiful “natural stained glass” windows. A new Pastoral Office building, athletic fields, expanded parking and a new entrance off Messick Road were completed in 1994. A pipe organ was dedicated October 10, 2010. Parish membership now averages around 900 families. 

When Msgr. Batson retired from full-time ministry in 1996, Fr. Albert E. Kirk was named Pastor by Bishop J. Terry Steib. In 2012 Msgr. Kirk retired from full-time ministry, and Fr. Michael Werkhoven was named Pastor by Bishop Steib. In 2017 Fr. John Hourican was named Pastor by Bishop Martin Holley. In 2020 Fr. Mathew Panackachira, M.C.B.S. was named Pastor by Bishop David Talley. 

Fr. Mathews Payyappilly, M.C.B.S., presently serves as our Parochial Vicar. 

We thank God for the dedication of the clergy and staff, the founding members, and the many individuals and families who have worshiped and worked here at The Church of the Holy Spirit.