10. We are a family-friendly parish. Recognizing that families in the 21st century are very busy, we go out of our way to make it easy for these families with hectic families to participate in many of the activities offered here. Childcare is provided at Sunday liturgies, as well as at Spirit Nite on Wednesdays and other parish-wide activities. Our cry room is equipped with a good sound system with its own restroom. We built a playground in 2014 for children to spend some of their pent-up energy. Programs devoted to the special challenges that parents have are provided.
9. We are devoted to helping parishioners have a loving, working relationship with the Bible. It wasn’t too long ago in the Catholic Church where members weren’t encouraged to read the Bible. Thankfully, those days are long past us; but now many members struggle with where and how to get started reading the Bible. Father Tom helps us at Mass by giving introductions to each of the readings. Parishioners bring their Bible to Spirit Nite, where they become much more comfortable finding passages. Specific Bible studies are offered periodically for in-depth reflection on a particular book.
8. We are committed to service to the poor. The St. Vincent de Paul Society based here at Holy Spirit visits the homes of those who are struggling to make ends meet, and offer tailored assistance to those households. We maintain a food bank for people who drop by. We have joined with three other Christian Communities in the Perdido area to distribute food on a grand scale once a month. The Men of Holy Spirit go to the Alfred-Washburn Center for the poor to feed homeless persons each month. The Holy Spirit Council of Catholic Women sponsor various drives for good causes. There is always a way for you to get involved in helping those less fortunate.
7. We sponsor a Sister Parish in Ecuador. Working with Father Dennis O’Brien at St Bartholomew in Guayaquil, Ecuador, we regularly send financial help. In 2015, we sent our first group of missionaries to meet first hand those living in third-world conditions. Through this missionary work they were able to assist them and grow in solidarity with them.
6. We welcome everyone. No matter what stage of the faith journey one is on, no matter what ethnic community one comes from, no matter what challenges one is facing—we welcome all to experience the mercy and love of God found in Christ Jesus. While always faithfully teaching what the Catholic Church has handed on through centuries, we patiently and lovingly help people to grow in their commitment to being disciples of our Lord. It is frequently said, “Kathy in the office has the most welcoming personality of any parish secretary I have ever known.”
5. Our youth love learning about the faith. From the Sunday morning “Children’s Liturgy of the Word” at the 8:00am Mass, to the religious education classes at 9:15am on Sunday morning, To Vacation Bible School in the summer, to Wednesday night Spirit Nite, to the Edge program offered for middle school-aged kids, and to LifeTeen offered Sunday evenings—our youth are growing in the faith. Parents, of course, are the primary teachers of their children in the ways of faith. But here at Holy Spirit, the dozens and dozens of volunteers who are fully trained and vetted for this ministry help those parents in those duties.
4. We are faithful stewards of your donations. The Finance Council assists the pastor in his role of administrator of the parish funds. Meeting at least six times a year, members of the council make sure that a budget is prepared, expenditures are valid and reasonable, and that the pastor implements all of the best-business guidelines established by the Bishop to ensure that all donations are kept safe. Every three years the Diocese performs an extensive audit to give our benefactors peace of mind that their donations are being used as intended.
3. Holy Spirit feels like family. Beginning with the warm greeting that you receive as you enter the church, you immediately sense that you are welcome. Many parishioners have made some of their closest friends from the people they have met in the parish. When a parishioner is in need from the many ways in which life can be challenging, parishioners are there for them with a shoulder to lean on, and are prayer warriors to storm heaven with their prayers.
2. There is something for everyone. In addition to all that above, we offer Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, events for our Seniors, Al-Anon, Father-Daughter dances, social events, Bible on the Beach for youth and young adults, pet blessings, Day Trips, a Book Club, and others. We have an active pro-life committee. We partner with the community as a voting site, a Red Cross shelter if needed, with the Chamber of Commerce in hosting Snow-Bird Roosts, and with the Kiwanis.
1. Our worship is the best. We love the Lord Jesus and our worship shows it. The beautiful church building with its inspiring stained glass window of the Holy Spirit descending form the Father first captures your attention. Then the excellent music under the leadership of our director, Kathy Johansen, the wonderful singing by our cantor, Valerie Remich, and the enthusiastic sound coming from our choirs encourage your own participation in the hymns. The superior preaching offered by the pastor and deacon inspires you to be a better disciple. The opportunities for quiet, personal meditation during Mass help you connect in prayer with your Lord. The beautiful devotional space in honor of Mary, Star of the Sea, provides you comfort and hope.
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