“The final mass was a beautiful tribute to the church’s hundred-plus years of history.”
-Jessica Varian Maldonado,
It was where children were baptized, couples were married and young people made their confirmation.
Holy Spirit Church in Asbury Park was filled to capacity as the final mass was said at the beautiful, much-beloved church at 11 a.m. June 6.
Current and former parishioners flocked to the site to be a part of the historical mass, celebrated by Pastor Father Miguel Virella.
When news of the closure of the church was first reported, several longtime parishioners expressed their sadness and tried to find a way to keep the church doors open.
The Roman Catholic church, which has been located on Second Avenue since 1880, was sold earlier this year and will be turned into condominiums. However, the outside of the building will not be changed, the new owners have said.
Holy Spirit Parish was formed in 1910.
Jessica Varian Maldonado, whose family has a 70 year, four-generation long history with the church, welcomed attendees to the mass on June 6.
“The final mass was a beautiful tribute to the church’s hundred years plus of history,” she said. “The church was jam-packed right out the back door; parishioners, old students, neighborhood friends, and incredible priests past and present.
“As difficult as it was, I felt they did a tremendous job honoring the final mass and I am grateful to have taken part of it as I know my mother and grandmother were with me there in spirit.”
Pastor Virella announced the news of the closing at mass on Sun., Oct. 25. He had also sent letters, dated Oct. 23, to parishioners telling them that factors such as the condition of the building, lack of parking, and overall suitability for a diverse community led to the closing.
Longtime parishioners Robert Burney and his wife Irene attended the final mass. Burney taught CCD there and belonged to the choir.
The church was packed for the mass, even with temperatures over 90 degrees and no air conditioning.
The cathedral-like church has numerous stained glass windows, three altars made of marble, a finished basement, a choir left soaring high above the pews, and an elevator.