June 10, 2022

Mass Excursions

Holy Spirit Parish: Serving Indianapolis’ east side for 75 years

Pictured is Holy Spirit Church in Indianapolis. (Submitted photo by Jennifer Arvin)

Pictured is Holy Spirit Church in Indianapolis. (Submitted photo by Jennifer Arvin)

By Natalie Hoefer

It was two years after World War II, and the east side of Indianapolis was growing. According to Holy Spirit Parish pastor Father Michael O’Mara, the area surrounding the faith community’s future site “was rural farmland.”

“As Indianapolis was growing, it was decided that a parish should be erected to serve the residents that would be building homes on the far eastside of Indianapolis, where large factories employed thousands of people,” he said.

The first Mass was celebrated by the faith community in its new church on the feast of Pentecost, 1947.

As the parish celebrated its 75th anniversary on June 5—the feast of Pentecost—Father O’Mara noted that the parish is still thriving in its changing environment.

“Heading into the third millennium, the large factories were closing and we began to see stores and restaurants closing as the children of long-time eastsiders moved in search of better economic opportunities,” he said.

“At the same time, the east side began to see growth in people from Mexico and Central America who were seeking to live the ‘American Dream,’ like the Irish, Italians, Germans and Europeans before them. … And most important to Holy Spirit Parish, they needed a place to worship God and celebrate their life of faith.

“Latinos now account for 45% of the parish. Holy Spirit celebrates this cultural diversity as we grow in faith and mission with one another together as one parish.”

‘A welcoming community with dynamic liturgies’

Through the changes, the faith community “has been here serving the local neighborhood as a parish is called to do,” said Father O’Mara.

Its largest ministry is its pre-kindergarten through eighth grade school, serving 400 students.

The parish also maintains a strong presence of outreach both locally and abroad.

“Our St. Vincent de Paul Society continually reaches out to the poor and struggling,” he said. “We also work closely with St. John [the Evangelist] Parish downtown in their ministry to the homeless.”

Holy Spirit also has a sister parish in Honduras. This month, 18 parishioners will visit there on a missionary trip, bringing medicine, clothes and school supplies collected by the parish.

The parish also serves up fun at its annual summer festival. This year’s event will take place on July 7-9. (See below for more information.)

While there, take a moment to pray and reflect at the parish’s Our Lady of Guadalupe grotto.

“It’s a place of prayer and contemplation off of noisy and fast-moving East 10th Street,” said Father O’Mara.

He invites all to worship at Mass with the parish community.

“Holy Spirit offers a welcoming community with dynamic liturgies,” said Father O’Mara.

“The parish is especially faithful to daily Mass, with daily attendance of 75-125 people,” he said. “And we have a very active Spanish Charismatic prayer group that meets every Friday for reconciliation, Mass, adoration and prayer.”

For Mass times, go to www.holyspirit-indy.org.

Glass fun and a hole in one

An obvious choice for worshiping at Holy Spirit Church is during its annual summer festival. This year it will take place from 6-11 p.m. on July 7, from 6 p.m.-midnight on July 8, and from 1 p.m.-midnight on July 9.

The festival features live music, midway rides, festival food, beer and wine, bingo, Monte Carlo, Texas Hold ‘Em, a silent auction and a rummage sale. The cost for admission is $10 in festival tickets for those 12 and older. There is no cost for children younger than 12.

Parking and a shuttle to the festival are available at 7140 E. Washington St.

For more information, go to holyspiritfestival.org.

For those not eating festival food, Father O’Mara recommends Jaripeo, Tacos al Diablo and The Patio.

Golf enthusiasts, bring your clubs and enjoy a round of the outdoor game at two courses near Holy Spirit Parish. Morning Star Golf Club is located within the parish boundaries at 271 S. Mitthoeffer Road. Their website invites golfers to “come prepared with your best short game.”

Bordering the west boundary of the parish at 601 N. Arlington Ave. is historic Pleasant Run Golf Course, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

For something a little different, try taking a glass art workshop at GRT Glass Design, located just inside the parish’s south boundary at 6400 S. Brookville Road. Classes range from making sculpted glass flowers to paperweights, birds, bowls and more.

For dates, times and cost, go to cutt.ly/GlassClass or call 317-357-9006.

(Mass Excursions is a monthly feature highlighting an archdiocesan parish and local attractions, encouraging a trip to the area that includes Mass with the members of that parish. Each month will highlight a parish in a different deanery to showcase faith communities throughout central and southern Indiana.)

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