The spiritual heritage of Holy Spirit Catholic Church, the heart of Tuscaloosa’s Catholic community, began nearly with the incorporation of Tuscaloosa itself, more than 150 years ago. During that time, first as Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church in 1844, then continuing to grow with the establishment of Saint Mary Magdalene Catholic Church in 1916, Holy Spirit consistently demonstrated a commitment to honor the past while steadfastly preparing to meet the spiritual needs of its current congregation. It was in response to those needs that we received a special invitation to become a small footnote in the church’s rich and meaningful history. The church, originally designed to seat 340 people, was struggling to accommodate a congregation nearing 1,000 families. The church’s leadership decided the time had come to build a new facility, and we were honored to build that church.
A connection between the old and new was vital to the congregation, as the new church was a result of the work and faith of the past. To ensure this link survived, we removed many of the relics and artifacts of the original church prior to demolition. These items, which were later carefully incorporated into the new church, included, among other objects, the main altar, various pieces of marble, statues, chandeliers, the Baptismal Font base, a large amount of stained glass, nearly all artwork by renowned artist Frank Engle, and the beloved Rose Window.
We completed the new Holy Spirit nearly two months ahead of schedule. For Easter Vigil, the church opened its doors to hold Mass for the first time. With a seating capacity of 1,000 people, the new 25,000 square-foot facility includes a 120-foot square sanctuary containing 75 red oak pews, day chapel, day care facility, and various classrooms. Outside the new church, a 100-foot tall campanile soars above Holy Spirit.