540 Joppa Farm Road, Joppa, MD 21085
 
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Church of the Holy Spirit 1963 to 1998
 
Early 1963 “The Planned Community of Joppatowne” was beginning to rise. Bishop Shehan, with the cooperation and assistance of Father Austin Healy, Pastor of St. Stephen’s Parish in Bradshaw, searched in the area for an available site. On April 22, 1963, a ten-acre site was purchased. A Parish was officially established and designated “Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Church”.

On June 15, 1963, the Reverend Charles W. Dausch was appointed Pastor, to the fledgling church community of about 100 families living the Joppatowne. At the time there were only 225 houses occupied, and another 50 under construction in Joppatowne.

Father Dausch immediately established his residence at 1022 Erwin Drive, in the “Park Hills” area of Joppatowne. This small two-story residence became the first Chapel/Rectory of the new Parish. Daily Mass and confessions took place in the Erwin Drive “Church”. Sunday Mass was celebrated at the “Little Red Theater”, which originally was the builder’s sales office (the first offertory collection was $41.83).

Father Dausch’s first priority was to establish the “Confraternity of Christian Doctrine” (CCD). This group was to become Father’s right arm, and helped to steer the future direction of our Parish. The first order of business was to establish a religious education program for the children of the Parish.

It soon became obvious that more space was needed for this fast growing Parish. Early in 1964, a small “L’ rancher at 820 Foxwell Road was rented from the Joppatowne builder. This building became the center for all Parish activities. “CCD” School was held on Saturday morning and again in early afternoon. After the last session, volunteers would come and convert the school into a chapel. This was done week after week for about one and a half years.

All through the calendar year 1964 plans were being made to start the first building phase. Planning was completed and construction started in the spring of 1965. Two buildings were erected simultaneously; the “Sexton’s House” and the rectory. Today the “Sexton’s House’ is the rectory and the rectory is the Parish Center.

The Parish Center as we know it today was originally built in an “L’ shape form. The section facing Joppa Farm Road was the Rectory. The perpendicular arm was a multi-purpose hall. The hall, which would be used for Mass and all other activities of the Parish, was dedicated on August 8, 1965.

By the spring of 1969 more space was needed for weekend Masses. An addition was planned. That addition, known today as the “The Rear Wing” was built by the then in house Sexton, Mr. Ralph Bowers, with help of parishioners. It was completed in April 1970, and doubled our worship area from 2400 square feet to 5000 square feet. This was to be our church for many years. The construction of Joppatowne was completed in the early seventies. The parish census leveled off at approximately 550 families. This “slow down in physical growth” presented our parish the opportunity to grow spiritually.

By 1974 our religious education program had 700 children being taught by 35 dedicated laymen and women. The “CCD” was still a driving force, and the “Parish Council” was coming into its own. Lay people were now becoming involved in the celebration of the Eucharist. Existing Parish activities were flourishing. Right to Life Committee, Parish Action Committee, Knights of Columbus, and the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO), were just some of the new activities just being started. Our first Christmas Bazaar was held and made $4,262. The building debt of $195,000.00 was paid off n May 1977. This wonderful occasion was celebrated with Mass, a dance and mortgage burning in the Parish Hall. As we went into the 1980’s the Parish was beginning to think “New Church”. Several different plans were being developed.

Our Pastor, Father Dausch, became it early in 1982 and died on September 7, 1982. A Mass of Christian Burial was held here at the Church of the Holy Spirit.

On October 24th, Father Joseph Simmons was appointed the new Pastor of our Parish. Father Simmons was installed as Pastor on January 30, 1983. Archbishop Borders officiated.

One of Father’s first initiatives was to invite and train men and women of the Parish to be extraordinary ministers. These ministers would be the first lay people to distribute the consecrated Host during Mass. This was such a new idea it was not unusual t see receivers jump from the layman’s line into Fathers’ line to receive communion.

As the new Pastor, Father Simmons’ first question was, “What does the Parish Want?” The answer came loud and clear. His first major task would be organizing the Parish to build a church. The church building committee was formed early 1984. A “Capital Fund Campaign” was organized. The campaign raised $315,000.00. This was the first of three drives to raise $1,000,000. An architect was engaged and design of the church was begun. It took three years of hard work and decision making to complete the plans. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on September 17, 1987. A 25-year dream was coming to fruition.

The church building was dedicated in November 1988. Today, as you read this history, our Parish is celebrating its 35th anniversary. Due to new construction within our Parish, we are, once again a growing community. We have many folks within the ministries of the Parish, and we are looking to the future.


Written in 1998 by: Ed Stricker