Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Church is scheduled to be sold.
Asbury Park is losing a landmark.
Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Church which has been located on Second Avenue since 1880 will be closing and the building will be sold.
Holy Spirit Parish was formed in 1910 and in 2010 there was a centennial celebration. The church resembles cathedrals built in Europe. It has dozens of soaring stained glass windows and several altars. The main altar is made of marble
Pastor Miguel Virella announced the news at Sunday mass on Oct. 25 and also sent letters, dated Oct. 23, to parishioners.
In his letter Fr. Virella said, “Among the factors that contributed to this decision are the condition of the building, the lack of parking, and the overall suitability for a diverse community with a variety of parish activities.”
Fr. Virella said the sale of the property will allow the parish to pay all its debts and pay for renovations at Our Lady of Carmel Church, Asbury Avenue which combined with Holy Spirit to form Mother of Mercy Parish in 2014.
Some of the changes mentioned in the letter include a bathroom on the main floor and a chapel for daily use and mass overflow.
Dan Lee, former parishioner, was a member of the committee when the church was undergoing renovations, which included an elevator, during the time when Father Bill McLaughlin was the pastor.
Lee said he believed the diocese looked at both churches in the parish and decided that Mt. Carmel was the most cost efficient to keep open, especially because it has a parking lot.
“Of course there’s a lot of history, people put their effort in keeping the church open,” Lee said. “It was losing half a million dollars a year…they wanted to keep it going but it didn’t work out.”
Longtime parishioners Irene and Robert Burney of Asbury Park were active members of the church spanning decades.
Robert was in the church choir and taught CCD classes.
“This is personal,” Irene said.
Irene said she is most upset that parishioners had no input in the decision about which church should be closed and sold.
She said she believed it was because Holy Spirit is on the East side of town and the property was more valuable.
Irene said she and Robert helped raise funds for the churches previous extensive renovations.
She now attends mass at St. Mary’s Church in Deal.