Parish History

Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Parish was established in April 17, 1973. On this date, the Diocese of Phoenix bought a plot of land for a church and a priest’s residence.

Reverend Bernard Colton was appointed the first Pastor and given permission by Marcos de Niza High School to hold services in the drama room. The first Mass was held on Palm Sunday in 1973, and approximately 50 people were present. Daily Masses were held in the garage of the priest’s residence. In less than a year, the parish had grown to 300 registered families. The congregation had to move out of the drama room into the gymnasium of the high school.

Plans for development of a permanent building for worship, classrooms, and social activities for the parish began, and a building committee was appointed. Reverend Michael O’Grady became Pastor in November 1974. By early 1975 the plans were completed and Bishop Edward A. McCarthy granted permission to proceed with the project.

In May, 1975, a Mass and groundbreaking ceremony were held on the vacant lot. On July 4, 1976, the first Mass was held in the first church building. Actual dedication of the church by Bishop James S. Rausch was held on May 29, 1977, for the 1,100 registered families.

By 1984, it became apparent that the worship space was inadequate. The liturgy committee met with liturgical design experts and one was hired to redesign the church. The altar was moved out on a platform and a new back drop was designed and built to display the cross. New lighting was installed and new sanctuary furniture built.

On July 1, 1991, Reverend John Hanley was assigned as Pastor. The present church was built in 2001 as a result of the Vision 2000 Building Program. The first Mass was celebrated on Christmas Day, 2001. Dedication of the building by Bishop Thomas J. O’Brien took place on Pentecost, 2002. In 2003, the parish administration building was completed. The community center was renovated and made available for parish and outside events by January, 2004. Reverend John Hanley remained Pastor for fifteen years and retired in June of 2006.

In July of 2006, Fr. Thomas Hallsten was assigned as Parochial Administrator, and he began the daunting task of nurturing the flock of now 1500 families.

One of Fr. Thomas’ many achievements was working with the Friends of St. Peregrine to build the St. Peregrine Memorial Shrine, welcoming prayer petitions for all who are afflicted with cancer. The shrine was completed and dedicated in May of 2008.

Also, in 2008, the first meeting of the Prayer Shawl Ministry took place. (This ministry has now made over 5000 prayer shawls for many elderly and infirmed senior citizens, as well as others who are ill or injured.)

And, in 2008 the SVdP Food Pantry was renamed the Helping Hands Pantry of Holy Spirit. The generosity of parishioners has helped feed many needy and hungry people, and it continues to this day.

Fr. Thomas loved the yearly “Blessing of the Pets” on the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, and the ceremony grew in size over the years. He also led several pilgrimages, and was involved in many of the parish ministries.

In 2013, the parish celebrated its 40th Anniversary; and as a part of that celebration, Fr. Thomas led a drive to purchase a two tier, electronic organ, and speakers, for the church.

In 2014 the Thanh Linh community of Vietnamese-American Catholics joined the congregation of Holy Spirit Parish.

Also, under his leadership, Fr Thomas initiated other improvement projects, including new fabric on the church pews, new holy water founts, statues in the chapel; and the “old church” was renamed Hanley Hall Community Center to honor the legacy of Fr. John Hanley.

In 2017, Fr. Thomas announced his retirement, and Monsignor Peter Dui Bui was named as our new pastor. Monsignor Peter had recently completed several years of service at the Vatican; and he was also leading a congregation of Vietnamese-American Catholics. Monsignor really helped the Thanh Linh community establish Religious Education and Confirmation classes, as well as social activities.

During his tenure at Holy Spirit, Msgr. Peter oversaw the renovation of the sanctuary of the church with a new altar, ambo, and a refurbished Tabernacle. He also fostered the parish through the Covid crisis, keeping the chapel open for daily prayer.

But finally, with the help of the Together We Go Forth campaign funds, the long-awaited remodeling of the courtyard began in 2021. (But supply and labor issues stretched its completion date to February of 2023.)

In June of 2022, diocesan duties called Msgr. Peter; and our Associate Pastor, Fr. John Clote, took over the reins of our still-growing parish family! (The recent parish census shows that 1,652 families are now registered at Holy Spirit !)

Fr. John’s great love of Jesus in the Eucharist has been the catalyst for expanding the days of Eucharistic Adoration at Holy Spirit. The Catholic Church, as a whole, is experiencing a renewal of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, a wonderful opportunity for prayer before the very presence of Our Lord. And, the chapel is now Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament Chapel, and is accessible 24 hours a day.

Fr. John Clote celebrated a special 50th Anniversary Mass on April 22, 2023, which was the very same date as the first Mass back in April of 1973! A gala reception followed the Mass in the social hall. 50th Anniversary events continue throughout the year until April of 2024, at which time a special Mass will culminate our year-long celebration!

Throughout these first 50 years, many pastors, associate pastors, deacons, retired clergy, priests-in-residence, parish staff members, and many, many wonderful volunteers, have led the charge - from its humble beginnings at Marcos de Niza High School, to the parish that it is today… a vibrant, faith-filled community of over 30 ministries serving many people. And Holy Spirit parishioners have always come through with financial support, from the memorial bricks in front of the church, to the Marian Grotto roses, the Holy Spirit ‘flames’ on Hanley Hall, and generous weekly offerings. We thank you for your support!

As our parish mission so aptly expresses…”As parishioners of Holy Spirit Catholic Church, we are called by God to serve the Gospel of Jesus Christ by forming Eucharistic disciples through prayer, penance, evangelization, and works of mercy. Devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, we call upon her prayerful intercession; and consecrate our mission, ourselves, and each of our parish families to her Immaculate Heart.”

May the next 50 years be as blessed as our “first 50!”