About Our Parish

Our Parish Highlights – 100 Years
The following is a short summary of some important dates and happenings that have taken place over the past 100 years that brought us to who we are today. 

Our history began with a need. With the growth in importance and size of the South Omaha stockyards in the early 1900’s the territory west of the city limits began to fill up with so many Catholic families that it began to create a strain on the pastor (Fr. Charles Mugan) of St. Mary’s Catholic church who was responsible for their spiritual care. So it was when, in 1916, the Most Reverend Jeremiah J. Harty, Archbishop of Manila in the Philippine Islands, was transferred to the See of Omaha. On learning that the Augustinian Recollect Fathers wanted to establish themselves in the United States, he invited them to Omaha to discuss their possible involvement in the diocese. 

June 21, 1917 – Newly ordained Fathers Manuel Fernandez and Gabriel Salinas arrived in the city to discuss the opening of a house of their Order in the Omaha diocese. The Augustinian Recollects accepted Bishop Harty’s invitation to start a parish in the western part of South Omaha near Ralston and got down to business. 

July 7, 1917 – The Fathers set up temporary quarters in the former residence of C.M. Skinner in Ralston, Nebraska that would serve as a mission church and rectory for the Recollect Fathers. The foundation was called St. Augustine's Mission. 

July 8, 1917 – After preparing a large room in the house to be used as a chapel, the first Mass was celebrated. About 18 people were in attendance.

March 7, 1918 – the Augustinian Recollects moved from Ralston to a newly built combination rectory and chapel that was built at a cost of $12,000 on our current property in the location that is now the Child Care Center. The funds to build the first Holy Ghost building were provided by the provincial curia of the Augustinian Recollect Fathers in Bogata, Columbia.  

March 12, 1918 – Archbishop Harty visited Holy Ghost and established the following boundaries for the Parish: 46th Street on the east; Western limit of the town of Ralston on the west; "H" Street on the north; and "Z" Street on the south. The Parish was called Holy Ghost and not St. Augustine's, as the Recollects wanted, because Mr. Leo Hoffman had given $500.00 to the Diocese toward the erection of a parish dedicated to the Holy Ghost.

March 17, 1918 – On this feast of St. Patrick, Holy Ghost Parish was solemnly opened with a High Mass at 10:00 a.m. There were 120 in attendance, 25 of whom received Communion. 

March 24, 1918 – The Holy Ghost Men's and Women's Clubs were established. Peter H. Lubisher and James H. Meagher were the first lay trustees.

July 30, 1919 – A contract was given to John Beloyed to build a hall that could later be incorporated into the basement of a church/school combination. The amount was $6,000. 

January 13, 1920 – The Augustine Mission church in Ralston was closed due to lack of financial support.

February 16, 1920 – Archbishop Harty decided to sell the parish house and lot #149 South Side Acres to the Augustinian Recollects for $12,000. The money was used to pay the parish debt. Henceforth the parish paid rent to use the Recollect house as a rectory.

May 16, 1920 – The Sacrament of Confirmation was administered for the first time in Holy Ghost Parish. 44 adults and 41 children were confirmed.

September 6, 1921 – Work was started on the combination church/School to be built above the church hall.   M.J. Nachtigall was architect and Anton Catteler was to be the builder. The cost was $60,000. 

October 16, 1921 – The cornerstone of the new building was laid. Monsignor Augustine Colaneri, the Vicar General, officiated. During construction, most of the attention was given to finishing the second floor, the part of the building that was to serve as the church.

December 25, 1921 – On Christmas Eve the first Solemn High Mass was celebrated in the new church at midnight. 

September 3, 1922 - The school portion of the building was completed in time for the opening of school and Archbishop Harty blessed the new Holy Ghost School. The Servants of Mary Sisters were given charge of the school and functioned as teachers there for over 60 years (1922 to 1984).

June 17, 1923 – The first graduation class from Holy Ghost school; 19 received diplomas.
September 10, 1923 – Holy Ghost High School was opened with 18 of our grade school graduates. The High School ceased to function after several years.

1927 – The St. Vincent de Paul Society was established in the parish. On May 23, 1933, it was affiliated with the Vincentian General Headquarters in Paris, France.

May 25, 1941 & June 8, 1941 – The first 2 vocations from Holy Ghost, Fr. Gabriel Reisdorff, OSM and Fr. Edward R. Smith, OAR, return to sing their first solemn Masses. 

January 12, 1947 – After a debt reduction drive headed by Assistant pastor Fr. Joseph Autard, the parish had a big celebration for the official burning of the mortgage for the combination church/school.

July, 1950 – Because the school was overcrowded, additional class room space was an imperative need. It was decided to convert the old church into additional class rooms and build a new church. The pastor, Fr. Gabriel Salinas turned the first spade full of earth in preparation for the construction of the new Holy Ghost Church.

October 27, 1950 – On the Feast of Christ the King, Archbishop Gerald T. Bergan blessed the cornerstone of the new church.

October 28, 1951 – A year after the laying of the cornerstone, Archbishop Bergan blessed the new Holy Ghost Church and presided in the sanctuary at Solemn Mass. 

Summer 1952 – The property west of the church where the Augustinian Recollects had originally dreamed to build a minor seminary was leveled in preparation for a youth baseball field by Holy Ghost Athletic Club members Bob Kocanda and John Fibich. In the years that followed other members from the Athletic Club fashioned the lot into a first rate baseball field.

May 15, 1960 – A new rectory, just south of the church that began construction in 1959, was dedicated. 

May 20, 1962 – The original rectory/chapel that was built in 1918 was deemed beyond repair and was torn down to make room for a new convent that was built on the site.  

October 18, 1964 – Dedication ceremonies were held for the blessing of the new Our Lady of Fatima addition to the north side of Holy Ghost school.  The $220,000 addition featured 5 classrooms, a gymnasium, library and Principal’s office. The enrollment of the school at that time was 470 and was staffed by 9 Servants of Mary sisters and 8 lay teachers. With the addition, the school could now accommodate 525 children.

Summer 1973 – The Church is upgraded with air conditioning.

May 1, 1985 – The parish plant is free of debt for the second time in its history.

Spring 1985 – The Apostolic Oblates took up residence in what was previously the Holy Ghost convent and carried out their apostolic ministries from that location from 1985-1993.

June 1, 1986 – The Augustinian Recollect Order leaves Holy Ghost and the secular clergy of the Archdiocese of Omaha begin to administer the Parish.

August 29, 1994 – A new Holy Ghost Child Care Center opened in the building that was previously the Holy Ghost convent after being refurbished by a large crew of parishioners.

May 23, 2013 – Holy Ghost school closes because of low enrollment and the reorganization of South Omaha Catholic schools into a consortium school system by the Archdiocese. 

December 1, 2013 – The Holy Ghost Child Care Center building is leased to Diapers 2 Diploma’s Child Care.

Summer 2015 – The combination church/school structure that was built in 1921 is torn down because of upkeep costs and lack of use.  

July 5, 2015 – Holy Ghost parish temporarily shares a pastor with St. Mary’s church on 36th Q Street. 

July 3, 2016 – The Archdiocesan Parish Study plans recommending that Holy Ghost and St. Stanislaus parishes become sister parishes and share a pastor is implemented.

January 1, 2018 – Holy Ghost begins a year of special events and activities to celebrate the milestones, history and accomplishments of the parishioners of Holy Ghost parish over our 100 years as a parish. Parish records are updated as all current members of the parish are re-registered. 

June 21, 2018 – A fire spontaneously combusted in a trash can in the Parish Hall and created smoke damage throughout the church and lower level. We were invited to worship with our sister parish, St. Stanislaus, during the four plus months our church was being restored from the fire damage.

November 1, 2018 – On the feast of All Saints Day, with the church renovation complete, we were able to once again gather together at Holy Ghost church for Mass.  

January, 2019 and Beyond –Our first 100 years as a parish is a rich history filled with many interesting stories of a faith community who worked together to build a parish where their families could grow spiritually and live out their Catholic faith. 

Our story is filled with many chapters, each of them contributing to who we are as a parish today. In our history there were times when our community experienced great achievements together and there were times when we have felt the sting of great disappointment. We have celebrated together the moments of each other’s greatest joys and have stood by each other in times of deepest need or sorrow. Through it all, as we have watched the changes that have taken place around us in our world, we remain steadfast to our mission and dedication to our parish.  
Our story as a community of faith continues to be written today. We remain a vibrant parish at Holy Ghost Catholic Church where our parishioners are strengthened by the sacrament and motivated by our love for God and for each other. Together we aspire to do God’s will and build God’s kingdom on earth.