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Parish History

Holy Spirit Parish was established on May 28, 1964, with 250 families, from territory taken largely from the Cathedral of Christ the King Parish. Father John McDonough was the first Pastor, and he guided the fledgling Parish from his residence at the Cathedral.

In October 1964, Father McDonough was named Rector of the Cathedral, and Father Joseph Ware was appointed Pastor of Holy Spirit. He served until 1966, when Msgr. McDonough returned as Pastor. During this time a house on Lake Forest Drive was purchased as a rectory. Mass was celebrated first in the Pace Academy cafeteria, and later at Dykes High School (now Sutton Middle School). 

The present property at the corner of Mt. Paran Road and Northside Drive, formerly a part of the old Fulton County stone quarry, was purchased in 1965. Two years later, in May 1967, the octagonal, multi purpose building was completed and served as Church, education center and offices. In 1971, the first rectory on the property was completed. In September 1972, Msgr. McDonough was re-assigned as Rector of the Cathedral, at which time Father Ware returned as Pastor to Holy Spirit. Father E. Peter Ludden (later Monsignor) was named Pastor in June 1975. During his tenure plans were undertaken for the construction of a separate Church and Education building. The Church was completed in March 1977, designed to seat 320 people; the Education building was completed in 1980. This phase of construction was financed, in part, by the sale of the multi-purpose building and 13 acres. At the time the Parish had 300 households. A Parish Hall was later added.

Father Alan Dillmann was assigned as Pastor in June 1981 and served until June 1987, when Father Edward J. Dillon was named Pastor. By that time the Parish had grown to 550 households.

A long-range planning study in 1988 settled on a number of priorities, which included the development of new physical facilities to meet the projected growth in the Parish. The original estimate was that the parish would be at 1,500 households by the year 2005. Since then the growth has exceeded estimates, and the Parish is currently at 1,984 households.

The present Church was dedicated in July 1995. It seats 808 but additional seating can be added for special needs. The Goizueta Education Center houses education programs during the week and on Sundays. The Sims property was purchased in 1996, and the school property was purchased back in 1997, giving the parish a total property now is slightly more than 33 acres. The new (current) rectory was completed in January 1998, built from a 1960's ranch-style home that the parish bought and renovated. The old rectory was converted entirely to offices.

In 2002 Holy Spirit parish sold 14 acres to Holy Spirit Preparatory School to build a high school. The building's completion in 2004 fulfilled a dream of Monsignor Dillon to build a Catholic school to serve children in preschool through 12th grade.  

As our parish community continued to thrive, we saw an increased need for space for adult activities and a greater capacity for seating in St. Mary’s Chapel. In 2007 Msgr. Dillon worked closely with the Parish Council, Building Committee and the architects to take advantage of zoning approvals Holy Spirit obtained when we built the Church in 1995. We launched a multi-year Capital Campaign to fund a construction project to meet the needs of our growing parish for the foreseeable future.

The project began with the demolition of several existing buildings which were both structurally unsound and insufficient for our parish needs. These buildings included St. Mary’s Chapel, McDonough Hall and the “old religious education building.” The replacement building contains a beautiful new chapel with seating for 150, a parish hall roughly double the size of the “old McDonough Hall” and complete with stained glass windows, an expansion of the education center, including two state-of-the art adult education classrooms as well as a basement for storage.

The construction timetable was tight with demolition occurring in January 2009 and the project being completed in February 2010. A temporary certificate of occupancy was granted so that the Christmas Eve overflow Masses could be held in the newly constructed McDonough Hall. Ministries began meeting regularly in the facility in March, and a blessing and dedication was held in April 2010.

After serving Holy Spirit for 37 years, Msgr. Dillon retired as Pastor on June 30, 2023. Fr. Luke Ballman, who had served the parish as parochial vicar immediately after his ordination to the priesthood, was named Pastor effective July 1, 2023.



  • 1964 - Holy Spirit Parish is established.
  • 1965 - 19.447 acre property in the City of Atlanta purchased.
  • 1977 – New Church is constructed.
  • 1978 – Parish sells multi-purpose building and 13 acres to Mt. Vernon Christian Academy
  • 1980 – Parish Education Building constructed which includes a parish hall.
  • 1995 – New Church is constructed and former church converted to Parish Hall and Chapel
  • 1996 – 13.16 acre Sims property is purchased.
  • 1997 – Parish purchases 13 acres with multipurpose building from Whitfield Academy
  • 1998 – New rectory is built on the former Sim’s property.
  • 2002 – Parish Office Building is constructed.
  • 2004 – Parish sells 14 acres to Holy Spirit Preparatory School and two school buildings are constructed.
  • 2008 – Parish Center is constructed adjacent to the church on the site of the former parish hall and chapel.