On Pentecost Sunday, June 8, 1975, the Most Reverend Walter F. Sullivan established Holy Spirit Parish, appointing Father William H. Carr as founding Pastor.
The first liturgies were held at Holland Elementary School for 315 families. A Saturday liturgy was added when the pastor of the Plaza Methodist Church offered his building for our use.
As Holy Spirit grew, Holland Elementary School became inadequate for the Sunday liturgies; Plaza Junior High (Plaza Middle School today) became our next home.
With no permanent building to call home, religious education classes for 600 children, baptisms, and first communions where held in parishioners’ homes.
From the beginning, it was the people who provided pastoral care for the sick, homebound, those in jail, and the needy within the parish and community. The people planned the liturgies, experienced Family Learning Teams, established the Sunshine Club for older adults, the Men’s Club to handle dinners, picnics and various repair projects, and the Women’s Guilds that hosted a variety of activities and provided food and support for families experiencing loss through death. There were parish picnics, dances, plays, bazaars and International Pot Luck suppers that fostered a sense of community among people from many diverse backgrounds.
Everyone was eager to start the construction of the new church building. A group of parishioners envisioned a lasting commitment from people. In November 1976, a Stewardship Committee was formed. Stewards went to parishioners’ homes to pray and to spread the word about the need for stewardship. This concept was new for Catholics and Holy Spirit was the first parish in Virginia Beach to endorse this principle. The concept of Stewardship is still a vital part of our parish today.
On August 6, 1978, ground was broken for a building and on August 22, 1979, Holy Spirit Parish Center and Worship Space was dedicated.
The 1980’s was a time of rapid growth within the parish and the community. Established programs grew and new ones emerged: Children’s Liturgy of the Word, Adult Education, Bread Ministry, Peace and Justice, Social Ministry, Food Pantry, Meals on Wheels, Right to Life, Soup Kitchen, and a Preschool. In addition, Holy Spirit sponsored families through the Refugee Resettlement Program. Parishioners assisted with the basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, and transportation. They helped the newcomers get acquainted with the area and with the customs in a place so far from their own land.
In 1983, Father Fred Feusahrens succeeded Father Carr as our pastor. It was during the three years Father Fred was with us that our Mission Statement was developed.
Father Tom Caroluzza became our third pastor in 1986. Our parish community was eleven years old and ready for renewal. The Renew process was designed to focus on three basic themes: Teaching and Witnessing to the Word of God, Developing Faith Communities, and Establishing Justice Formation and Action. We organized our parish into small communities. Today these small communities meet regularly to explore God’s Word, to share faith stories, and to reach out into the community.
New ministries continued to emerge. In the 1990’s, Holy Spirit joined several other area churches in the Winter Shelter program, providing food and a place to sleep to homeless people for a week every January. The project continues with young and old parishioners participating fully during the week. Parishioners prepare and serve food, donate needed items, and spend time talking and playing games with our guests.
In 1993, Holy Spirit established Spirit House. Spirit House is a transitional house for women with mental disabilities. A resident director was hired and parish volunteers assist her in a variety of ways.
The third project of significance is our mission to Haiti. We stand in solidarity with the people of Haiti by “twinning” with the parish of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Saut D’Eau. We have made two trips to Saut D’Eau, provided financial assistance, and given them a processional cross.
Thanks to good stewardship, the debt on the Parish Center was liquidated in April 1994 and the mortgage was burned by the parishioners at the annual parish picnic. In May 1995, it was decided at an open meeting that a building committee be established to study the renovation and expansion of our parish facilities. On July 11th and 12th, 1998, ground-breaking ceremonies were held during all weekend liturgies. The new worship space, chapel, and education wing were dedicated on April 18, 1999.
The Parish Annex was acquired in June, 1987 and used over the years for religious education classes, nursery, and offices. It was renovated and blessed as Spirit House II on September 30, 2000. After a brief term as a ministry to men, the women of Spirit House relocated to the home in 2002.
After 15 years as our pastor, Msgr. Tom Caroluzza left Holy Spirit in May of 2001. He was replaced by our fourth pastor, Fr. Tom Ianucci. The Memorial Prayer Garden and Columbarium, constructed in the spring of 2001, was dedicated in honor of Msgr. Tom Caroluzza on August 18, 2001.
On March 22, 2003 Rev. Mr. Robert Durel was ordained to the permanent deaconate by Bishop Walter Sullivan for ministry at Holy Spirit Parish.
On June 1, 2003 Rev. Tom Ianucci left the Richmond Diocese for special ministry as a military chaplain. Rev. Kenneth E. Wood was named the fifth pastor of Holy Spirit.
The parish celebrated its 30th Anniversary on Pentecost Sunday, May 15, 2005 with the return of former pastors Rev. Msgr. William Carr, Rev. Msgr. Thomas Caroluzza, and Rev. Thomas Ianucci concelebrating the mass with Fr. Ken.
Rev. Jesse Enciso served as our pastor from June 2005 to January 2006. Rev. Salvador Añonuevo served as our Parish Administrator from January 2006 until June 2006 when he was named pastor in addition to his ministry as pastor of neighboring St. Luke’s. Rev. Timothy Kuhneman, ordained at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart on June 10, 2006, was assigned to Holy Spirit and St. Luke’s as Parochial Vicar.
Fr. Salvador returned to St. Luke’s full time in June 2008. Fr. Fr. Tim Kuhneman served as our Administrator from that point until his assignment as our eighth pastor in June 2009. During Fr. Tim’s tenure, the parish has grown to over 2100 families with over 45 ministries serving the parish and our community.
On October 13, 2012 Rev. Mr. Arthur Thompson was ordained to the permanent deaconate by Bishop Francis DiLorenzo for ministry at Holy Spirit Parish.