History of Holy Spirit Church

Holy Ghost Church 1897-1980 – Holy Spirit Church 1980-Present

Centralia, Missouri


Catholics in the Centralia area were first served in 1857 by Fr. John J. Hogan, the first bishop of St. Joseph and later the first bishop of Kansas City Missouri. Parish records show that he celebrated sacraments at Allen, a small village north of Moberly in 1859 and Sturgeon from 1860-1865.


In later years, St. Stephen Church in Sturgeon and Holy Ghost Church were known as the “Prairie Queen Missions” and were attended by priests from various places including Mexico, Columbia, Moberly, Fulton and New Franklin.


By 1869, a Catholic Church was built in Sturgeon which was then closed so parishioners worshipped at Centralia or Moberly. According to Chancellor Vander Sander’s old directory, Centralia was established as a mission of Columbia in 1897. A wood-frame church erected through a generous donation, opened in Centralia in 1904.


In 1915, the church was listed for the first time as Holy Ghost in the official Catholic Directory. Various priests served the church from 1915-1938.


It is interesting to note in 1939 the address for the church was 623 S. Clark; in 1941, 412 S. Rollins. In 1943, 404 S Rollins became the address of the church.  The cornerstone of the church is inscribed as follows: For it was founded on a rock. Luke VI, 48. This Church is dedicated to God the Holy Spirit, May 25, 1941. The present church and rectory were built in 1941 for $16,000. The windows of the present church tell the gospel stories.


From 1942-1945, the parish operated a school. Until the arrival of Mill Hill Missionaries from Britain in 1951, the parish was attended by diocesan priests.


Holy Ghost offered the first priest to the new Diocese of Jefferson City in 1957, Father John W. Buchanan. The rectory and church was renovated and a new garage built in 1971, in 1981, the church name was officially changed from Holy Ghost to Holy Spirit. In 1981 Fr. Robl helped to organize the Knights of Columbus in this community. The official name is Fr. Raymond Weis council NO. 7841.


In 1987, a multi-purpose building was constructed. In 1996, parishioners built a new altar, pulpit and outdoors, a grotto to Our Lady the rest on stones from Sturgeon. The parish celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the present church building on August 28, 1991. In 1999, Father J. James Offutt became pastor of Holy Spirit and continues as its pastor.


Use to have Masses at different times, like for the summer and the winter. Schedule of Masses: Sunday’s June though Aug. at 7 and 9 am, Sunday’s Sept. though May at 8 and 10 am.



from Sunday July 6, 1941                                                                     from Sunday, June 23, 2013



from 1991



           from 1903 First church built                                             St. Stephen Church & Chapel-Built in 1869 in Sturgeon, MO

  Chapel was second church budding in Centralia



from 2010 to 2012                                                                               Father Offutt and Bishop Gaydos



Priests who have served this Parish


  1. Rev.  John J. Hogan                              Pioneer Priest
  2. Rev. P.F. O’Reilly                                1897-1898
  3. Rt. Rev. C.E. Byrne                              1898-1900
  4. Rev. Aurthur O’Reilly                           1900-1902
  5. Rev. William E. Randall                        1902-1904                               Built first church building
  6. Rev. John B. Pleuss                              1904-1908
  7. Rev. Thomas J. Lloyd                           1908-1915
  8. Rev. Joseph Gilfillan                              1916-1920
  9. Rev. Peter S. Dempsey                         1919                                        Assisted caring for this parish
  10. Rev. Daniel Courtney                            1921-1923                               First Parish Pastor to reside in Centralia
  11. Rev. Aloysius Canning                          1923-1931
  12. Rev. M.J. Connor                                 1931-1933
  13. Rev. William C Kunz                            1933-1934
  14. Rev. Karl Enig                                      1934-1938                               Shot to death in old rectory
  15. Rev. Aurthur B. Leibinger                     1938-1943                               Built present church and rectory in 1941
  16. Rev. Lloyd Sullivan                               1943-1944
  17. Rev. Francis Hyland                             1944-1946                               Administrator
  18. Rev. Anthony J. Grellner                       1946-1949
  19. Rev. Jacob Noser                                 1949-1950                               Administrator
  20. Rev. Francis X. Reker                          1950-1951
  21. Rev. Francis Figil                                  1951                                        Administrator Mill Hill Fathers London, England
  22. Rev. Anthony Schmidt                          1951-1957                               Mill Hill Fathers
  23. Rev. William Berkel                              1957-1959
  24. Rev. Henry Figge                                  1959
  25. Rev. William Savage                             1959-1962
  26. Rev. William Forst                                1962
  27. Rev. Michael O’Donovan                     1962-1965
  28. Rev. Robert Wiesmann                         1965-1966
  29. Rev. Gottlieb Steinwachs                      1966-1971
  30. Rev. Raymond Weis                             1971-1979
  31. Rev. Egene Robl                                   1979-1984                               Administrator 1979
  32. Rev. Patrick J. McMyler                       1984                                        Never resided in Centralia
  33. Rev. James Niemeyer                           1984-1985                               Administrator
  34. Rev. Msgr. Charles H. Patterson           1985-1992                               1924-2010 died
  35. Rev. Frank Westhoff                            1992
  36. Rev. Russell Judge                                1992-1995
  37. Rev. Robert H. Fields                           1995-1999
  38. Rev. J James Offutt                               1999-Present