The History of Holy Spirit Parish
Holy Spirit Catholic Church began in 1962, with the return to Mitchell of Rev. Thomas J. McPhillips, a past assistant at Holy Family Catholic Church. His mission was to begin a second parish, Holy Spirit. The parish was created by uniting over four hundred families from the Western part of Mitchell. The first worship was held June 29, 1963 with a Mass in a funeral parlor chapel.
With a congregation formed, they needed somewhere to meet so they moved to the second floor of City Hall where the crowds were better accommodated with the larger facilities. The next step was to build a rectory that would provide space for meetings and a chapel for daily mass. Construction was started on the new rectory.
Groundbreaking for a new school building took place in 1963, and construction was finished before the opening of school in the fall of 1964. The school was under the direction of the Presentation Sisters for the first seventeen years. The school auditorium became the parish church as well as the school cafeteria, gymnasium, and parish social center. To accommodate the changing needs, the auditorium was converted almost daily from one use to another. The men became great interior decorators with their practice moving chairs and kneelers after Mass to set up the dining facilities.
During this time, the Altar Society ladies often tantalized the people with the aroma of fine foods which were prepared for dinners that helped pay for the new facility. Along with the dinners, dances on the parking lot also helped pay for the building costs.
In August, 1968, Rev. McPhillips passed on his duties to Rev. James M. Joyce, the second pastor of the parish. It was during this time that the parish began to seriously consider a new church building. In December 1975 the Parish Council began making plans to build. Groundbreaking for the new building was on July 26, 1976. In the time of about a year, the new building was almost complete. The Mass of Dedication was offered by Bishop Lambert Hoch on Pentecost Sunday, 1977.
The new contemporary design for the church was worked in to the design of the main school and adjoined the to the school at the north. With a capacity of 570 people, the new church dominated the sight at 1401 West Cedar due to its unusual design and architectural lines. With the guidance of God and the cooperation of the parish, the new church was created.
On August 1, 1980, Rev. Joyce was transferred to Woonsocket and Rev. David Melmer, TOR, Woonsocket, became the new pastor at Holy Spirit Parish.
During this same time, two other disciples served Holy Spirit Parish. Rev. Colman McGarril, TOR, served as Chaplain at St. Joseph Hospital and Rev. Earl Jennings, TOR, served as Spiritual Life Director. Rev. David Melmer was with Holy Spirit Parish only a short time when he passed away on November 16, 1981. Rev. Colman McGarril was appointed to fill his shoes. Rev. McGarril served the parish until May, 1988.
Rev. Steve Barnett became Pastor in July, 1988. He served our parish until July, 1995.
In 1995, Fr. Richard Fox was assigned to Holy Spirit. During his time in Mitchell, it was determined that both Holy Family and Holy Spirit Parishes should construct an addition to the existing school to bring Catholic education in Mitchell to one location. Groundbreaking was held for the new school on May 1, 2000. The dedication Mass for the renamed John Paul II Elementary School was held by Bishop Robert Carlson in February, 2001. Fr. Fox was transferred to Flandreau and Egan in July, 2001.
Fr. Andrew Swietochowski became Pastor in July, 2001, and was transferred to White Lake and Kimball in July of 2010.
Fr. Michael Schneider became Pastor of Holy Spirit on August 3, 2010, and was transferred to Huron in July of 2016.
Fr. John Short became Pastor of Holy Spirit Church on July 6, 2016, and is our current Pastor, and was transferred to Redfield in July of 2020.
Fr. Ken Lulf became Pastor of Holy Spirit on July 1, 2020, along with his duties as Pastor of Holy Family Church in Mitchell.