Our Parish History

Our Parish History

 In 1916, the home of  Johanna Ennis served as the site for the Celebration of the Eucharist   in Kinston.  Five years later, Holy Trinity Church grew brick by brick  on the corner of Vernon Avenue and Perry Street.  Modeled after 13th  century Gothic churches, Holy Trinity presented the city with an  impressive landmark.

On the other side of town, the first Catholic Church for blacks, Our  Lady of Perpetual Help, opened over a grocery store on East Bright  Street.  Later, the Franciscan Order of the Society of Atonement sent  Father Michael Shugue to Kinston in order to establish a mission for  blacks.  Ironically, Father Michael also opened a chapel over a grocery  store on East Bright Street.  In 1938, Father David Gannon succeeded  Father Michael as pastor of the black mission.  Considered the founder  of Our Lady of the Atonement, Father David supervised the erection of  the various buildings on the five-acre site on East Washington Street.

Over the years, Holy Trinity responded both to the history of Kinston  and of the world in its distinctive fashion.  For example, Father Thomas  Williams rendered outstanding service to displaced and transient  persons during World War II.  As new industry and military services  swelled the local population, Holy Trinity expanded.  The post-war  growth culminated with the September 3, 1950 opening of Holy Trinity  School for 150 students from grades 1 through 5.  In October of that  year, the school's name changed to Christ the King.  In 1969, the  student body and faculty of Our Lady of the Atonement School and Christ  the King School integrated with one another which played an important  part in the history of Catholic education in the community at large.

Father Daniel Egan, an assistant pastor at Our Lady of the Atonement  during 1945, was instrumental in establishing a nurturing religious  family which led to bringing a number of converts to Atonement.  Also,  Father Daniel started what is believed to be the first Catholic Youth  Organization (CYO) branch in North Carolina.  Like Holy Trinity and  Christ the King, Our Lady of the Atonement School was staffed by the  Sisters Adorers of the Precious Blood.  After the merger of the Catholic  schools in 1969, the building that housed Our Lady of the Atonement  School continued to serve young people by housing the diocesan youth  program.  Throughout all these phases, Our Lady of the Atonement School  maintained its vital presence in the neighborhood.  The service of the  St. Martin Guild, the outreach of the Neighborhood Center, and the work  of the Catholic Child Development Center were typical of Our Lady of the  Atonement's loving involvement, under the direction of Father John A.  Wall.

Another part of the greater Kinston Catholic family was St. Jude's in  Grifton which, from 1930 until 1981, provided residents in the  surrounding communities a country mission dedicated to promoting the  values of down-home hospitality and spiritual warmth.

In 1985, Holy Trinity Church and Our Lady of the Atonement Church became  more visibly bound in a partnership of love and service.  Father Thomas  Hadden paved the way for our becoming one Catholic Church and Catholic  Community.  The Covenant of the Catholic Community called us to grow in a  relationship where there would be no distinction based on race, sex, or  economic status.  From this belonging to one another in God were drawn  the resources and the commitment to confront the injustices in our city  and our world.

Our coming together under one roof on December 17, 1989, marked another  step in the journey implied by our mission as a Catholic Church.  Father  Jerry Sherba served as pastor from July 1989 through June 1998.  On  March 2, 1990, twenty acres on Academy Heights Road was purchased as the  site for our new parish facility.  Father Jerry is credited with  developing the plans for the new Parish facility at Academy Heights  Road.  Father Douglas Reed oversaw the construction of the new combined  parishes facility.  The multipurpose building was completed in February  1999 and named Holy Spirit Catholic Center.  It consists of an  administrative wing, with office and parlor, and an education wing,  consisting of twelve classrooms and library.  There is a chapel, large  multipurpose room/social hall, kitchen, and atrium with baptismal pool.   Mass continues be held in the social hall until the church is built in  the future.

The mystery of the Holy Trinity proclaims the loving communion that  gives life and promise to our world.  The title of Our Lady of the  Atonement proclaims the self-giving of Mary that brings healing and  reconciliation to our world.  Through the mystery we share, may our  histories and our future be one.  May our name Holy Spirit tell the  story of a new life we create as "Church" under the movement of the Holy  Spirit in our hearts and lives calling us to live God's love