Message from the Pastor
Dear Parishioners of Holy Spirit;
2016 marked the Seventy -fifth anniversary of our parish community, which was marked with a parish event in the summer at the Queensbrough Community Centre. It was good to see so many people attend the event. For some present it has been the only parish that they have ever belonged to; Mrs. Elsa Canil I believe is the longest resident of our parish community, sixty nine years!
I received the following letter in the late summer from the “Holy Ghost Father’s” in California it is written by the founding pastor of Holy Spirit Parish – the letter is written to his mother and father just after Christmas in 1942;- (It was written after the first Christmas at Holy Spirit Parish).
“Dear Mom and Dad,
On September 7th, Vigil of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin we started to post the church, make and layout the wooden forms into which cement was to be poured. It took a week to make the forms an set them in solid and level. Then the City engineer had to inspect them before the concrete could be poured. After the 4 rows of forms for the cement blocks (2 feet x 2 feet base 15 inches, high and pyramided were inspected we started to mix and pour 7 cubit yards of concrete. Handling cement all those days made me wonder if my back would stay together very long. We mix our own cement about 30 sacks. To make concrete the proportions is 7 sacks of gravel to one sack of cement. In all, therefore, 240 sacks to be poured – not counting the weight of the water.
September 21st, the beams went on the blocks and that week saw the 2 inch by 10 inch joists for the floor go in 16 inches apart. A week spent sawing planks and driving 4 inch nails. The next week we had it mostly boarded, making the rough floor. I think it was October 3rd that the long sides went up in two sections each, also the sanctuary wall. Monday the front went up. Then that had to be boards with 1 inch by 8 inch board, meanwhile the rains were on and a hired carpenter was cutting and nailing the rafters. He had them all out and half of them nailed by the feast of the Holy Rosary. The day before the feast we saw about six men around at one time and fair weather so he said “we raise the rafters.” We did!
It took us about an hour to raise 12 rafters. Fr. Lacy was showing Fr. McKinnon the works at that moment so they participated in the work. It was a solemn rafter raising! A few days later they were all up and that Saturday we began shingling the roof, an area 32 feet by 48 feet., to be covered. It took a week and half. Thank God the school boys came to help me week days after school. By this time it was dark when the men came home from work so if it rained Saturday afternoon, I had no help from the men at all.
By this time I moved the altar from the dance hall to the new Church – Mass on Sundays in a Church with a part roof. God was with us the first two Sundays, they were warm and sunny – it was rainy most of the week, but I carried on. It was not long before the windows were in and the walls had to be covered on the outside with tar paper. This is a mean job single handed. I wear the scar on my nose from a nail on the end of a lathe that slipped.
The weather got cold – the electricians put in the wiring, and I finished the tar papering. Then the siding had to go on – but had to be painted first! It was already lighter work, but I was working nights now – word got around and then the men began to come.
December 7th, again the Vigil of the feast of Our Lady and the finish, ceiling started to go up. How glad I was to hear the word “finishing” For 4feet from the floor we have only ply wood – the rest of the walls and ceiling is covered in fiber board. I cut all the boards and grooved them. The men put them up. By the last week most of it was up. So we started the choir loft and making benches. It is simple and designed.
December 23rd I made the confessional. 3 pews were nailed together and 9 to be assembled – lumber all over the place! I got to bed at 4.00 a.m. cleaning up.
Two men cam December 24th, in the afternoon. By Supper we had 12 pews, the Church swept, the crib made. By 9.00 p.m. the trees were up and the altar decorated and confessions all heard. Midnight Mass started with the Churched packed also the 11.00 a.m. Mass.
Since the beginning of December, I have been saying Mass at Pitt Meadows at 9.30 a.m. and Queensborough at 11.00 a.m. on Sundays. They are 18 miles apart. I got to be before 1.30 a.m. often up for 6.30 a.m. Mass. I had no time to send Christmas Cards. we just had to have a decent place for Christmas Mass. I felt badly at that, at least I could manage to drop a line home – but I could not. WE have an alter, pews, a stove and a building safe from weather – I can afford to rest a few days and go at it again. It is a miracle that my health still holds out. This I am glad to say – like my father I have built a Church. I still remember another thing – I want da to know that there is a great change in the set of my chin and the look in my eyes when I look anyone in the face – that is the real reason why I anted to come out here – to build a priest out of Edward Malayter. I have done more in that line here in a year and a half than was ever possible in New York. It is 12.30 a.m., I am turning in early tonight. It is chilly and my pen is shivering. I don’t know when I can manage to write again, but remember this – you are always in my prayers and Masses.
Your loving son,