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A Brief History of Holy Spirit Church
Holy Spirit Church was born on July 25, 1946 when then Archbishop Joseph Ritter ordered the Parish creation in response to rapid growth on the Eastside of Indianapolis. Since then, the Church has gone through many changes under four Pastors.
When Archbishop Ritter first began looking for an appropriate site for an Eastside parish in 1946, he discovered that the perfect parcel of land was already owned by one of his priests. Francis Early had suggested the site years earlier but, Indianapolis was smaller before the Second World War, and no need was seen for another outskirts parish. When Father Early sold the land, he requested he be named its first Pastor.
During Father Early's tenure as Pastor, the parish grew from literally nothing to its first congregation of 85 members, to the construction of the rectory, school and convent (now the Parish Center) and the Church itself.
Father Joseph Grothaus became Holy Spirit's second Pastor after the death of Father Early. During his tenure, the primary school building opened, and a Lay Board of Education was formed to administer the School. A PTO was formed two years later in 1971. Father Grothaus retired in 1973 and was replaced by Father William Munshower.
During Father Munshower's twenty years as Pastor, the Holy Spirit community grew to include several new groups, including the RCIA program, CCD classes, and CYO. The parish adopted a St. Vincent de Paul chapter, a Stewardship and a Scouting program.
The Church went through a major physical overhaul including a complete facelift of the Church itself and a redesign of the Convent into our current Parish Center that saw the Sisters moved across the street to the Rectory and Priests to the upper floor of the newly renovated center. The lower floor became the hub of all Parish business and was linked to the Church by a new vestibule. Most stunning was the addition of the great etched-glass sculptural wall that unifies the Church and Chapel areas. Over time, several instructional stained glass windows were added along the East, West and North walls of the Church. Father Munshower was appointed Pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in 1993.
Father Joseph Riedman became the 4th Pastor in 1993. Soon after his arrival, Father Riedman oversaw a project to update the Parish's physical plant, including the replacement of the school's heating, ventilation and electrical systems. Long standing outside drainage problems were corrected and the Parish Center was made handicap accessible. The bus garage was converted into a Preschool and Religious Education facility. The Social, Liturgical, Administrative and Educational groups of the Parish were organized into six Commissions under the umbrella of the Pastoral Council. Father Riedman retired in 2009.
In July 2009, Monsignor Paul Koetter, joined Holy Spirit as Pastor. He will also assume the duties of dean of the Indianapolis East Deanery. Fr. Paul was ordained in 1977 and comes to us most recently from a 12 year assignment at St. Monica. He is not new to the Eastside, as one of his first positions in the archdiocese was Associate Pastor of St. Therese of the Infant Jesus (Little Flower). We are happy to welcome Fr. Paul as our 5th Pastor!
Fr. Paul has started the Small Church Communities (SCC) here at Holy Spirit. Small Church Communities are small groups of 10-16 people who gather twice a month to share the gospel and learn about each other. Fr. Paul has been in a SCC for years and is enriched by the experience, so he would like everyone to get involved! It makes Holy Spirit a smaller place. Fr. Paul was also instrumental in directing the renovation of the Parish Rectory. The original building, at 7138 E. 10th Street, was the site of the first church services, then the rectory for the first priests, and in later years, a convent for nuns. In 2011, construction began to convert the convent into a modern rectory. Fr. Paul and Fr. Chris moved in in July, 2011, and are enjoying their new residence. Many parishioners were involved in the renovation by cleaning, building, painting, gardening and more.
Holy Spirit began a twinning mission with St. Francis de Aziz in Texiquat Honduras in late 2010. Many parishioners have opened their hearts to the people of our sister community through mission trips, contributions, fund raising dinners, shoe drives and many other activities. Fr. Paul and Fr. Chris have both made trips to Honduras to solidify the relationship.
In July 2013, Fr. Juan Jose Valdes, came to Holy Spirit as Associate Pastor. Fr. Juan was ordained in 1991 in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. He has been in Indianapolis since 2007. Fr. Juan has traveled to Honduras with the Twinning Ministry and has started a Wedding series for engaged couples as well as Quinceanera Preparation classes for girls getting ready for this event.