At 12 noon, May 28, 1966, the eve of the Feast of Pentecost, by decree of the Most Reverend Patrick A. O’Boyle, D.D., Archbishop of Washington, D.C., the Parish of the Holy Spirit, Forestville, Maryland came into being. A new family was added to the household of God.
Ground Breaking Ceremony, Dec. 14, 1969 — Ed Crough, Builder; Paul Goettelmann, Architect; Rev. (now Msgr.) Michael Farina; Msgr. Peter Rakowski; and Colleen Brinson playing guitar.
Upon a temporary altar draped in red and adorned with flowers of red and white, a new pastor, Rev. Michael F. Farina celebrated the Feast of Pentecost by offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the multi-purpose room of the John Bayne Elementary School on Walker Mill Road. There gathered about the altar in a semicircle was the new family of God.
As Pentecost signalled a new beginning, so too the first Mass and the first Blessing signalled the beginning of this new parish family. In the first year we celebrated our Sunday Liturgies at John Bayne Elementary School. Later that year Sunday Liturgies were transferred to North Forestville Elementary School and Arrowhead Elementary School where they remained until the dedication of our new church in October 1971. In the meantime, we were taking the concept of “Parish Family” introduced by our new pastor and slowly developing a living, caring, parish family.
Dedication of New Church – Most Reverend Patrick O’Boyle, D.D. (Cardinal of Washington, DC) in October 1971.
In the earliest days of our establishment, the Friars of the Atonement volunteered to assist us in any way they could. These Friars spent their weekends and occasional evenings helping in various parish activities. They assisted in CCD programs, teen activities, liturgy preparation, choir activities and community outreach programs. Their service was a Godsend to us and, for them, we provided an experience in parish life that was invaluable on their journey to the priesthood.
The Sisters of the Holy Cross were interested in the opportunity for a few sisters to live in and participate in parish activities. When the parish house was moved from Alberta Drive to the present location, the Alberta Drive residence was refurbished as the residence of the sisters. Upon their arrival in the parish, the sisters were immediately incorporated into our parish family. Their efforts focused on Social Concerns. Sister Julia McMurrough, CSC, made us all aware of the needs of our neighbors and showed us ways to meet them. Under her direction, a trailor was acquired by the parish and located on Jeanette Diggs’ property on Lincoln Avenue. This served as a parish outreach center for the Apostolate of Charity to provide food and clothing as well as classes in Arts and Crafts, Bible classes for the children, and occasional liturgies. Sisters Patricia McCabe, CSC and Agnes provided professional direction for our CCD programs. Sister Mary Margaret, Sister Helen Claire, and Sister Rosalind contributed to the development of our parish family and all of them provided us with the opportunity to know, work with, and love these dedicated servants of the Lord.
Meanwhile we wrestled with such post-Vatican II concepts for the laity as Parish Councils, Lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, and Permanent Deacons, as well as the more traditional ones (such as pledge drives, parish census and the construction of our new church). The dedication of our new church in October 1971 was a tremendous milestone in our development as a parish family. In five and one half years we had come together, prayed together, worked together and now we had a beautiful church where we could all worship together.
A small parish at our inception, we have remained so due to a critically timed building moratorium and subsequent changing economic and social conditions which have altered the original demographic projections. As a result, the struggle to pay off the mortage has been a continuous struggle throughout most every year of our existence. However, we can now say that, by the grace of God, the debt is finally paid off.
Throughout the years, each time a challenge has been presented to our people they have responded with enthusiasm resulting in an impressive series of accomplishments for a parish so small. This has been in no small part due to the quality of the priests with whom we have been priviledged to be associated. We were one of the first parishes in the Archdiocese to conduct the We Care/We Share Evangelization Program and we were the first parish in the Archdiocese to conduct the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. We were enthusiastic participants in the past two Renew Programs. We have been one of the founding parishes in the Interfaith Action Community, a multi-denominational community effort to focus on critical needs of the community and participate in partnership solutions with government and community. We were also one of the founding parishes in such efforts as the Anti-eviction Fund and family Counseling Centers.
A notable example of our parish family’s faith and generosity is the sacrificial giving practiced by so many of our parishioners. Looking back over the years, we have been blessed with the appointment of our clergy (see below). Many permanent deacons have served here, too: Rev. Mr. Anthony Barasso, Rev. Mr. William McNally, Rev. Mr, Frank Clarke and Rev. Mr. Michael Kronschnabel. We owe all the priests and deacons an everlasting debt of gratitude. Each of these men has left his mark on various facets of our parish life and in the process of doing so, touched the hearts of the parishioners involved.
RETIRED – Residence at St. Patrick, DC
DIRECTOR – Permanent Diaconate
Residence at Blessed Sacrament
Rev. Francis Benham (Removed from Ministry)
Rev. William C. Tepe March 1, 1981 (dec.)
Rev. John P. Noel O’Callaghan May 6, 1984 (dec.)
Rev. Joseph Bennett (dec.)
Rev. Jeffrey LaRouere, (dec.)
Rev. Godfrey Mosley
Rev. Salvatore Sciurba (Dis. Carm.)
Rev. Paul Herbert (Tribunal)
Rev. Karl Chimiak (Sacred Heart, LaPlata)
Rev. David Mudd (Navy)
Rev. Fred MacIntyre