The Church of the Holy Spirit was officially established by Cardinal Francis Spellman on May 17, 1966. Initially there was no church building, only the rectory at 1969 Compond Road.
The first liturgical celebration was held June 19, 1966, in the auditorium of Villa Loretto on Crompond Road in Peekskill, with 300 people participating. By September, the parish was offering three Sunday Masses at the Villa in the chapel of the Sisters of the Good Shepard. A Confraternity of Christian Doctrine program enrolled 95 children.
A year later, Masses were moved from the Sisters’ chapel to the Beach Theater (now a child care center) at the edge of the Beach Shopping Center.
Realizing that the theater could be only a temporary home, the parish built the all purpose Parish Center next to the rectory, with the inaugural Mass celebrated on the First Sunday of Advent in 1976.
Our Parish Activity Center was dedicated in January 1995, giving a permanent home to our Religious Education program, whose travels had included Mount Florence in Peekskill, the former Franciscan High School in Mohegan Lake and the First Hebrew Congregation in Peekskill. In addition to the education of more than 600 youngsters in the faith, the Parish Activity Center provided much-needed space for parish groups and activities.
As of this writing (March 2011), the number of registered families is just over 1,300 and our Religious Education program has over 650 students.
As our population continued to grow, the need for larger worship space became evident. A committee was established in 2004 to address this need, and in early 2008 we received the long-awaited permission from the Archdiocese of New York to renovate and expand the existing church.
After a futile quest for temporary worship space elsewhere, the parish expanded the Parish Activity Center to accommodate a sanctuary. In Spring of 2010 work began on the church to turn our plans into reality.
Thanks to the grace of God – and a lot of prayers and hard work – Holy Spirit has been blessed with a church that should serve us well into the foreseeable future.
Compiled by Jeff Canning