Holy Spirit Catholic Church is a diverse and multicultural community of living faith in Jesus Christ, called by him to seek constant renewal in His Spirit, dedicated to the Sacred Scriptures and the living Tradition of the Church. We are centered on celebrating the Sacramental life nourished by the Sacred Eucharist and our Christ-given commission to be disciples by imitating our Lord in working to be compassionate, healing, joyful, hopeful people that others may come to know personally the saving death and resurrection of the one we call “Lord of our lives”.
Values Holy Spirit Catholic Church’s values are: healing, discipleship, formation, charity, compassion, joy, justice, service, and stewardship.
- To continually be afaith-filled and faith-active community centered around the Eucharist.
- To enrich our spiritual heritage through prayerful liturgies, formational and discipleship opportunities as well as varied and diverse prayer experiences.
- To encourage generous stewardship of time, talent and treasure as a means to fulfill the Gospel mandate for justice, peace, and charity.
- To provide a joyful and welcoming community through social activities that include people of all cultures.
The first recorded Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to be offered in the vicinity of Lake Wales was celebrated in 1915 by Rev. A. Latiolais in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Kirch at Starr Lake. For several years, Fr. Latiolais alternated the place of Mass at several Catholic homes in the area, coming every month or two.
In 1921, the French Colony was established on the shores of beautiful Lake Helen by a small group of Canadians seeking a winter residence. A small church was built and Mass was offered on Sundays during the winter months. This church was known as St. Anne Shrine. It was not until February, 1928, that it became a mission of Holy Spirit. Today the original grotto is used to celebrate Easter sunrise Mass.
In 1925, a group of approximately twenty families formed a building committee for a church. It was to be built on the corner of Hesperides Road and Eleventh Street on property purchased by Bishop Barry for the Diocese of St. Augustine. Plans were for a mission church; however, due to the so-called real estate “boom” in Florida, the church plans changed from a simple frame building to the present structure. On December 11, 1927, the Church of the Holy Spirit was educated by Bishop Barry.
On July 23, 1961 ground was broken for the construction of the Academy of St. William, which was made possible by a grant from the William P. McDonald Foundation. The Academy was dedicated on May 6, 1962 and opened on September 4, 1962 under the guidance of the Dominican nuns from Kenosha, Wisconsin. In 1968, the Academy of St. William closed, and since then it has been used as an education building for the church. In 1999, Fr. Leo gave generously of his time, energy, finances, and love to remodel the Academy of St. William.
In 1977, the Holy Spirit Parish celebrated its fiftieth anniversary with a solemn Mass offered by Bishop Thomas Grady. By this time the parish which began with 20 families had grown to 900 registered families. The need for one or two Sunday services had grown to two Saturday Masses, four Sunday Masses, as well as Masses offered at Nalcrest, Saddlebag and Indian Lake Estates.
Although many families were reluctant to give up their beautiful small church; Fr. Baños, with patience and understanding, hand the Holy Spirit family ready to respond to a pledge drive, which began in February, 1986. Groundbreaking for the new church on Ninth Street took place on February 22, 1987, and the site was blessed by Bishop Thomas J. Grady.
On April 10, 1988, the beautiful new Spanish style church was solemnly dedicated with Bishop Grady presiding. The original stained glass windows with the dove symbolizing the Holy Spirit that were above the altar in the old church were transferred to the front of the new church.On March 1, 1989, the final Mass was said in the old church. At this time, the church keys were turned over to the Mrs. Arch Updike, Jr. parishioner, representing the Lake Wales Art Council.
On December 4, 1988, ground was broken for the parish center, and on June 18, 1989, it was used for the first time by the Men’s Club, for parish Sunday morning coffee hours. The parish center was dedicated on November 12, 1989.
With the retirement of Father Baños, Holy Spirit entered a period of transition. The parish was served by a series of priests, each blessing us with a different set of gifts. The last of these transitional priests was Fr. Anthony Bluett, who served the parish as his last assignment before his retirement to his childhood home in Ireland.
High Resolution Photo of the Exterior of the Church 4MB JPG download
Medium Resolution Photo of the Exterior of Holy Spirit Catholic Church 1MB JPG Download
Holy Spirit Stained Class Window @ Holy Spirit Catholic Church 1MB JPG download