The History of Holy Ghost Church

In the beginning were people with a common bond of faith.

holy3In 1944, a small group of 150 Catholic families from Wood Dale, Itasca, and surrounding communities began a mission church in Wood Dale.  They celebrated their first Mass on March 26 at the Wood Dale Public School.  Father Niess, then pastor of St. Alexis, Bensenville, officiated.

The old St. Vincent Ferrer Church building located in River Forest was purchased.  The building, an organ, and a Communion rail cost $400.  All were moved to our present site on July 6, 1945. holy2 It took almost two years to complete the church because materials and contractors were hard to get during World War II.

Father Joseph E. Wagner was appointed our first pastor in autumn of 1946 by Cardinal Samuel Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago.  Father Wagner said the first Mass in the church basement on November 1, 1946.  The Cardinal dedicated the Church of the Holy Ghost on June 1, 1947.

In September of 1948, Holy Ghost School had a humble beginning with only ninety- six pupils and three classrooms in the church basement.  A four-room school building was erected in 1949 under the leadership of the School Sisters of St. Francis. That same year Holy Ghost Church became a part of the newly established Diocese of Joliet.  Pope Pius XII appointed Most Rev. Martin D. McNamara as the first bishop of this diocese.

holy1Father William D. Ryan became the second pastor of Holy Ghost on June 14, 1961.  Under his guidance and through the efforts of the people of Holy Ghost, we continued to grow physically and spiritually.  It soon became necessary to plan larger facilities. holy5 A building fund drive was underway by 1975. Father Ryan helped to raise the funds and supervised the building of our current church building, parish center, and offices.  Most Rev. Romeo R. Blanchette gave his approval to begin work on a new church building in autumn of 1978.  Work began in May of 1979.  The dedication by Most Rev. Joseph L. Imesch was March 23, 1980.

holy7In June of 1980, Father Thomas J. White became pastor. holy6 During his nine-year tenure, Holy Ghost grew and prospered.  His welcoming style encouraged the people to become involved and participate in parish activities. Father White was followed by Father Thomas J. Fleming who became pastor in 1989, leaving after three years for health reasons. holy8

Father Kevin Farrell, our retired Pastor, came in June of 1992. He initiated a Stewardship Program emphasizing time, talent,and treasure  and supported the parish with thoughtful, timely, and on-target homilies.  Father Kevin Farrell served Holy Ghost for 23 years before he retired. On the weekend of June 13-14, 2015 Fr. Kevin celebrated the 50th anniversary of his priesthood with his Faith Community of Holy Ghost. Members of his family, friends and special guests – like members of the Addison Police Department, for which he has been a chaplain for more than 40 rev-kevin-farrellyears, and members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, with whom he has served for over 25 years –  also joined our Holy Ghost community over that weekend to celebrate this milestone in Fr. Kevin’s life. The Parish celebrated Fr. Kevin’s retirement/anniversary at all three of the weekend liturgies, after which everyone had the opportunity to congratulate and visit with Fr. Kevin in Ryan Hall. These celebrations were provided with the generosity of the Council of Catholic Women, Knights of Columbus, and Boy Scout Troop 65.

Following Fr. Kevin’s retirement, Bishop R. Daniel Conlon installed Fr. John Hornicak as Holy Ghost’s next pastor on June 27, 2015. Father John was born and raised in Joliet, Illinois. rev-john-hornicak He went to Catholic grade school and high school, and received his law degree from the John Marshall Law School in 1991. He went to Conception Seminary College and the University of St. Mary of the Lake- Mundelein Seminary and was ordained in 2003. Fr. John has served at St. Joseph in Downers Grove, St. Liborius in Steger, St. Lawrence in South Wilmington, and Sacred Heart in Kinsman before being assigned at Holy Ghost. He has also worked at the Matrimonial Tribunal of the Diocese of Joliet as a Delegate of the Bishop. While at Holy Ghost Fr. John has overseen many capital improvements to our parish. He established the Capital Campaign, “Caring for Our Parish, Caring for One Another” which helped provide a new roof and skylights for our church, a repaved parking lot, a pay down of our old debt, and a beautiful new Tabernacle.
His next goal is to replace our outdated HVAC system.

Our Worship Space

Tabernacle and Holy Spirit


The brass tabernacle, embossed with images of the Eucharist and angels, along with the marble slab it rests upon,  was obtained through donations. It was refurbished and installed in June of 2017. Fr. John has desired to upgrade other religious images in Holy Ghost Church. He also obtained the framed image of the Holy Spirit, our Patron, from donations and had it installed in the former tabernacle area in December of 2017. 



The Encounter

“Daughter, your faith has made you well;
go in peace and  be healed of your disease.” 

The Encounter, by Daniel Cariola, portrays the image of a woman suffering 12 years from a bleeding disorder who reaches out to touch the corner of Jesus’ garment. Being impure, and likely an outcast, Jesus’ words and presence have a multi-layered healing effect. Jesus not  only cures her physically, but offers her the ultimate healing gift, that of salvation.

“Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”   Mark 5:34

This Faith Filled work of art was donated and installed on the wall outside of the Emmaus Room in Fall of 2018.


Walking on the Water


“Lord, save me!”

When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the sea they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear. At once Jesus spoke to them, “ Take Courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” After they got into the boat, the wind died down.

Those who were in the boat did him homage,

saying “Truly, you are the Son of God.” Mathew 14: 26-34

This Faith Filled work of art was donated and installed on the wall outside of the Emmaus Room in Fall of 2019.

Christmas Altar

Easter Altar

Community of Saints Stained Glass Windows

John Paul II

St. Peter, St. Mary Magdalen, St. Maximillian Kolbe, St. Augustine and St. Monica, St. Kateri Tekakwitha, Pope John Paul II, St. Joseph, Mother Teresa, St. Anne and St. Joachim encircle the assembly.  The saints in our church depict a variety of traditional and modern day saints which serve as a support and reminder to all who worship in our space that we are all called to be a holy people.  The saints represent Christians of various ages, professions, life styles, genders, and time periods.  The John Paul II window is one of the first stained glass representations in the world of our Pope since his passing.  The windows were designed and fabricated by Light Haus, Inc., in Madison, Wisconsin by Don Pellett.

The Stations of the Cross

The painted black on white glass Stations of the Cross in a triptych form are located on the back walls of our space.  Jesus’ journey from death to new life is depicted in scenes placed within a cross.  The scenes are unique in that they require the human eye to complete the scene of each station.  The stations are set in mahogany and iron hinged in three piece frames which open for the Lenten Season and close during the rest of the liturgical year.  When closed, a combination of mirror and baffled glass which mimics the pattern in our stained glass windows adorns the front panel.  The stations were designed by artist David Wilson of South New Berlin, New York, and Rick Findora of Morning Glory Studio in Lodi, Wisconsin.

Station 1


The Cross

The Cross


Our cross is a magnificent rendering of Jesus in transition from Death to Resurrection. It is made of mahogany, lead, and glass.  Jesus is suspended in front of the cross and hangs in mid-air as if ascending into the arms of His Father.  The cross was designed by Rick Findora of Morning Glory Studio in Lodi, Wisconsin, and the artist that sculpted the corpus was Jay Hall Carpenter of Gaithersburg, Maryland.

The Mary Shrine

A shrine honoring Our Lady is in a cove-like area for special devotion to Our Blessed Mother. Sculptors of the statue, Anna Koh and Jeffrey Varilla of the Koh-Varilla Guild, located in Chicago, Illinois created Annunciation, our beautiful kneeling Mary Statue. Ted Okreglak, a master woodworker, designed the mahogany shrine for the Mary sculpture, along with the ambry ( oils cabinet).

Mary Shrine

The Donor Book of Honor


The book is located in the narthex of our church. It is a gold covered engraved book which honors all of the past and present benefactors that make the mission and most recent renovations of our parish possible.  The book is located under the stained glass Holy Spirit logo in a niche just outside the sacristy.

The Book of Remembrance

Our parish history includes the keeping of a record book with a listing of all the deceased members of our parish community.  The list of names of all the deceased are recorded into our “Book of Remembrance” which is prominently displayed amongst the foliage and living waters in our baptistry area.

The Farrell Faith Formation Center

Farrell Faith Formation CenterThe Farrell Faith Formation Center is located at the northwest entrance of the Church near the portico, and was dedicated on May 15, 2009. It is a tribute to Fr. Kevin Farrell for his lifelong commitment and dedication to education and faith formation.





The Emmaus Room

The Emmaus Room

The Emmaus Room, located on the north end of the narthex, is an adult prayer, meditation, adoration, spiritual counseling, and formation space managed and maintained by the parish Faith Formation Director. It was dedicated on Oct. 28, 2011 by Fr. Kevin Farrell. The warm neutral tones of the furnishings and works of art provide a quiet, prayerful and reflective space for adults. The renovation and décor was made possible through the generosity of parish donors. The space continues to be maintained by and through the generosity of parishioners. Donations and memorials to honor loved ones are always welcome. Posted on either side of the doorway is a calendar of events and the donors’ plaque.

The Welcome Center

Welcome CenterIn order to be more inviting and hospitable to those who come to worship each weekend, Holy Ghost Parish added a “Welcome Center” in our narthex during November of 2014. Parishioners had the opportunity to make a Christmas gift to the parish in memory of a loved one by making a donation for the Welcome Center.  This structure respects the beauty of our worship space. Ted Okgrelak, who made the “home” for our Mary statue and the “garden” around our font, has built this small but quality structure to match the mahogany wood that was used for other furnishings in our narthex and church. Having a Welcome Center opens up the opportunity for a new ministry at our parish.   Welcome Center Ministers come 15 minutes early to the mass of their choice to be scheduled monthly to stand at the welcoming center and answer questions or give out requested forms or envelopes. One person is scheduled before each Mass and one person after Mass for each week of the month.  

Adoration of the
Blessed Sacrament

Monday - Thursday
7:00 a.m. - 8:00 a.m.

More Info Here


Eucharistic Revival Events

Welcome Home!

We are celebrating our Reuniting in Christ with the Photo Collage Art Piece that is displayed in our gathering area and was dedicated on the first Sunday of Advent, November 28, 2021.  

Welcome Home Photo Collage Art

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