The traditional architecture of Holy Spirit follows the design of the Romanesque Revival period, which began around the beginning of the 20th century. The style is similar to Richardsonian Architecture, after H. H. Richardson, who used brick and stone to create heavy, solid designs, reflective of Romanesque architecture of the 11th and 12th centuries. The brick detailing of Holy Spirit is based on that period, and the color is similar to churches in Tuscan, Italy. Among the notable masonry features is the stair-stepped pattern over the entrance, which juts over three feet from the main surface of the wall. It won the 1994 Award of Excellence, first place, from the Masonry Association of Georgia. The exterior walls were built with 350,000 bricks; 88 tons of green Vermont slate was used for the roof. Within the roofline there is a series of copper lightning conductors, the last of which is encased in a five-foot-tall finial in the shape of a fleur-de-lis. The cross at the apex of the tower is of lightweight aluminum. Parishioners signed the base member and capping steel beam before the cross was set in place.
The crucifix in the sanctuary of the main church is a replica of that which hangs in St Mary's Chapel (in the older building). Both represent Jesus as High Priest rather than the two more often-seen representations: the crucified Christ and Christ as the Risen Lord. The original (St. Mary's Chapel) cross was hand-carved in Chicago in 1945, and is of hydra stone. The one in the church was hand-carved in Italy and appears to be floating above the altar; it is suspended from the ceiling with piano wire.
The sanctuary lamp was installed in Immaculate Conception Chapel at Mount Saint Mary's Seminary and College, Emmitsburg, Maryland, in 1911. During modernization of the Chapel in the late1970's, the lamp was removed. The college donated the lamp to Holy Spirit in 1994. Originally an oil lamp with an elaborate counter-balancing weight system, it was electrified and the weights removed for this installation. Whenever the Blessed Sacrament is in the tabernacle, the sanctuary lamp is lit.
There are six candelabra - two on the altar, four on the floor. They were designed/crafted by Larry Gunney, a metal smith in Dublin, Ireland. The candelabra represent the Light of Christ shining on those in darkness. The Celtic design at the base and neck mimics the Celtic designs found throughout the church. The floor lights weigh 60lbs each.
The tabernacle was carved locally by German craftsman Herbert Ernst out of red oak and was gold-leafed by a craftsman who "unretired" specifically for this project. It contains 160 leaves of 24-karat gold. The ceremonial key for the tabernacle is also gold-leafed. The design, drawn by the church's architects, is based on the tabernacle in the Basilica of St. Francis, Assisi, Italy. It rests atop a base of Botticino marble, the same marble used to build the altar in the main church. Consecrated hosts that are not used during the Mass remain in the tabernacle.
The altar stands alone as the Altar of Sacrifice, elevated above the level of the nave, symbolizing its sacredness. It is made of Botticino marble, carved and polished in Carrara, Italy, by the Mario Padrini family. Shipped to Holy Spirit in 24 sections and assembled on site, it weighs 4 ½ tons. In the floor, directly beneath the altar, is a stone, taken by Monsignor Dillon from the Sea of Galilee at the site of the Primacy of Peter, the location at which Jesus told Peter, "You are Peter (Rock), and upon this rock I will build my Church."
The ambry is a recess in the wall to the left of the sanctuary where the sacred oils are retained. The three oils are: Oil of Catechumens - used during Baptism; Oil of Chrism - used during Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders, and other sacraments; Oil of the Sick - Anointing of the Sick. At a special Holy Week Chrism Mass at the Cathedral of Christ the King, the Archbishop blesses the oils. During this Mass all priests renew their obedience to the Archbishop (or bishop) and his successors. There is an ambry in both the main church and in St. Mary's Chapel.
Holy Spirit's monstrance was made in the early 20th century by Benzinger Brothers. The brass-plated exposition case and stand is used to display the Eucharist for certain processions and devotions. Fr. Tom Hennessey acquired it in Pennsylvania for use at Holy Spirit. The monstrance is most often used when we celebrate the benediction or exposition of the Blessed Sacrament as part of a Mass or during First Friday Adoration. It is set on the altar and offers the concept of visual communion as it contains the lunette, the large consecrated host used by the priests during the celebration of Mass.
Also called the censer, the thurible is an ornamental container in which incense is burned, especially at religious rites. Holy Spirit's baroque-style thurible is plated in 14-karat gold and was made in Spain for Holy Spirit. The smoke emitted by the burning incense represents prayers rising to God.
Offertory set: Two Waterford crystal flagons and an antique silver-topped claret jug; gold and silver tray. Water and wine fill the flagons and the wine flagon is placed in the center of the tray. The tray, a gift from Patrick Reese, contains the coats of arms of the Dillon, Reese and Gunning families. The plate is 58 oz. of silver and 24-karat gold, hand chased in a Celtic design, made for Holy Spirit by William Fleming in Ireland. The claret jug, used as a water ewer, was made in London in 1838 by Joshua and Albert Savory. It is on permanent loan to Monsignor Dillon.
Known as a lavabo set, Holy Spirit's hand washing set contains three pieces: a pitcher, bowl, and towel. Parishioners Bill and Pat Reese donated the silver pitcher and bowl to Monsignor Dillon. Crafted in Ireland by Larry Gunning, they posses the same Celtic design found on the altar candles. The set is used prior to the consecration of the body and blood of Christ, when the priest recites the prayer, "Lord wash away my inequities and cleanse me from my sins."
Reliquaries: Located above and below the ambry in St. Mary's Chapel, the reliquaries offer elaborately detailed, framed displays of several saint's relics.
The baptismal font and candle are located to the left of the altar in the Baptismal Chapel. The baptismal font is carved from Botticino marble, the same marble used in the altar and the base of the tabernacle. The baptismal candle's decorations include much symbolism: Five nails represent the five wounds of the dying Christ; the Alpha and Omega symbols represent the beginning and the end; and the olive branch symbolizes peace. This same candle is lighted as part of the Easter Vigil (Holy Saturday).
Located along the right aisle (ambulatory) in the nave, the votives are lighted by the faithful as an expression of prayer and devotion. An accompanying ledger lists the individual intentions.
Located on either side of the altar in the Baptismal Chapel and the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, the twin chandeliers are fashioned of Waterford crystal.
The confessionals are located in the church transepts. They offer a choice of contemporary style face-to-face confession as well as the more private behind- the-screen option. The confessionals were carved by Herbert Ernst and were adapted from the design of the confessional in the Coronation Church in Budapest, Hungary.
Donated by parishioners, the stained glass windows in the church feature saints and biblical scenes as well as crests of important Catholic figures and chivalric and fraternal organizations. Perhaps the most unique among the windows is the rose window located directly above the altar. It reflects an image of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Rarely is the Father portrayed in human form. Lynchburg Stained Glass of Lynchburg, Virginia, crafted the windows, painted panels with lead overlays.
There are four pillars in the nave - two at the front of the church and two at the rear - on which hang brass candleholders and Celtic crosses. The crosses represent the place at which the Archbishop anointed the walls during the church's dedication ceremony. The candles are relit each year on the anniversary of the dedication.
Located on the right and left outer walls of the nave, the Stations of the Cross are artistic renderings of the last 14 events of Jesus Christ's life. Made of Linden wood, they were carved and painted in Italy. The wall paneling was designed to incorporate each Station in a cross pattern, with a square frame across the transverse member of the cross. A small spotlight highlights each Station.
The multi-toned bells, which hang just inside the church doors, are rung at the beginning of the Mass to signify the break from all things secular and the beginning of the spirituality of Mass. The altar bells are used during the consecration. Many churches have abandoned the use of bells, however, Holy Spirit has reintroduced their use following the popular demand of its parishioners.
Sts. Francis and Anthony Chapel: Located outside to the west of the main church, the Chapel was donated by the Leudtke family.
Memorial Garden: The cremated remains of parishioners are buried in this hallowed ground located on the terrace level at the west end of the church.
Statue of the Blessed Virgin: Located in an arched recess in the wall beneath the church's front steps.