Holy Spirit parishioners mark completion of sanctuary renovation with procession, Mass
By Jeff Miller
Special to The Texas Catholic
DUNCANVILLE — Holy Spirit Catholic Church’s months-long “Come Follow Me” initiative led parishioners back into their renovated sanctuary last Sunday. The parish’s nearly 45-year-old church was rededicated during a Mass celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Greg Kelly and concelebrated by Father Eugene Okoli, Holy Spirit’s pastor, weeks after the completion of the $103,000 project.
“Come follow me back here to this newly renovated place, and you have built on the work that other people did,” Bishop Kelly said during his homily. “You have renewed it, and all this to prepare for the future, for other people to come here and encounter the mercy of Christ.”
The center of the project was the sanctuary flooring. Out went decades-old carpeting, replaced around the altar by decorative porcelain tile and throughout the seating area by polished concrete. New flooring was also provided in the narthex, adjoining classrooms and a small kitchen. From mid-May until early August, Masses were held in the community center’s gym.
Sunday’s rededication Mass was preceded by a procession that included prayers in the church courtyard and followed by a grab-and-go reception.
Bishop Kelly preceded his homily saying, “This is really beautiful. Good job to all of you.”
Father Okoli called the project and the day’s events “a blast.”
“The parishioners are amazing,” he said. “I’ve seen a deep sense of heartfelt generosity here in this parish. It gives me some kind of pride to keep doing more. I love it!”
The renovation was paid for by a combination of direct donations from parishioners and parishioners’ contributions to The Catholic Foundation’s Our Faith, Our Future campaign.
Two parishioners trained in engineering — Dan Sheridan and David Dybala — provided valuable guidance throughout the project and even some elbow grease.
Father Okoli also literally rolled up his sleeves and joined in when members of Holy Spirit’s Knights of Columbus Council 8157 removed the pews and moved furniture into the nearby community center in late May and then moved it all back in mid-August. Other parishioners under the direction of youth ministry participant Hannah Erdman stained the pews and painted doors and walls.
“Without our parishioners uniting as one under God, we would not have accomplished this project,” said Leonardo Zapata, Holy Spirit’s business administrator.
To reflect the parish’s diversity, the Mass’ first reading was said in the Filipino language of Tagalog and the second in Spanish.
Other groups that took part in Sunday’s celebration were Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus from Assembly 2799, African dancers from the Catholic Women’s Association based at St. Jude parish in Allen, Gabirel Torres’ “Come Follow Me” Hispanic musicians and Grupo Guadalupano singers plus the first collective performance by parish music ministry members since March 2020.
Carol Lemmon and Lyndora Castro organized Sunday’s Mass and events along with the pastor and parish staffers. The volunteers were led by Molly Alfers, Carmen Gonzales Cavazos and Anne Araki.
“It was a blessing for me to have the opportunity to collaborate with such a fine group of people who were so committed to our parish and our Lord,” Castro said.