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Holy Spirit Catholic Church

Insider Guide

What is Holy Spirit Catholic Church?

Holy Spirit is one of the largest and most traditional Catholic Churches in the Atlanta area. Even though their congregation is large, Holy Spirit does not miss out on a close community feel. They have an extensive network of ministries and new member outreach programs to help parishioners get connected. Catholic traditionalism is a foundation for Holy Spirit and can be seen in the mass style, music, and the ornate glass windows that ring the Sanctuary. They have close ties to the Archdiocese and follow their directives closely, ensuring that masses are comfortingly consistent with Catholic practice. Homilies are always heavily rooted in Scripture, however, Holy Spirit makes classic Catholicism accessible for modern families and young adults.

Skip to: Church Size | Leadership | Goals & Objectives | Dress Code | Worship & Music Style | What to Expect | Doctrine | Messages | Demographics | Atmosphere | Find Your Community | Local Outreach | Other Fun Facts | Contact & Social Accounts

Church Size

Holy Spirit is one of the larger parishes in the Atlanta area. It is home to over 2000 families, which can be comfortably accommodated by the church’s large sanctuary space. Morning masses on Sundays are the most heavily attended. Parishioners should arrive early to ensure that they get a good parking place. The congregation is typically split into alternate worship spaces for special masses (such as Christmas and Easter Mass), allowing ample seating for everyone that attends. There are always Ushers present to ensure that elderly or disabled parishioners find comfortable accommodations.

Even though it is a large parish, Holy Spirit offers tons of smaller ministries to help keep members connected. These can range in attendance anywhere from 8 to 40 people and give members a chance to connect with people of similar interests, age groups, or service desires.


Monsignor Edward J. Dillon, J.C.D.Pastor
Monsignor Dillon has served as the Pastor of Holy Spirit since 1987. He is often more difficult to connect with, seeing as he’s a practicing Canon Lawyer who works with the Archdiocese of Atlanta on many issues. This gives parishioners the advantage of having access to an incredibly knowledgeable resource when it comes to church law.

Father Tamiru AtragaParochial Vicar
Father Atraga is originally from Ethiopia. Parishioners turn to him for spiritual connection and guidance through their faith journey. He loves hearing confession and is well known for helping people grow in the Holy Spirit.

Deacon Stephen DemkoDeacon
Deacon Demko is a former Professor of Mathematics at Georgia Tech. He also worked as a software developer. At Holy Spirit, Deacon Demko is involved with teaching religious education classes on the Catholic faith at Centro Católico (Holy Spirit’s sister parish), participating in the liturgy, and visiting the homebound. He is particularly interested in the Hispanic Mission and work at the children’s shelter.

Deacon Bill McCarthyDirector of Pastoral Outreach
A native Georgian with a gentle Southern drawl, Deacon Bill oversees community outreach, baptism preparation, and certain support ministries. Recognizing the mission of bringing faith to the people, he brings a sincere character and a reputation as a good listener to the ministry. He enjoys a reputation of being an approachable and down-to-earth minister.

Deacon Jose T. Merlo Quintero (Deacon Trini)Deacon
Deacon Trini was born in Monterrey, Mexico, and has been an American Citizen since 2008. Deacon Trini has been serving since 1988 when he became a missionary with the Mexican religious order, Servants of the Word. He founded the Kyrie Eleison choir in 1990. Deacon Trini was ordained as a permanent deacon in 2011 and serves Centro Catolico in a full-time capacity.

Deacon Mark MitchellDeacon
Prior to being ordained in 2012, Deacon Mitchell worked as a geochemist and hydrogeologist specializing in the evaluation and remediation of environmental impacts to land and water. He is currently the president/owner of an environmental consulting firm called the Genesis Project, Inc. At Holy Spirit, Deacon Mitchell is involved in adult evangelization and education, participating in the liturgy and ministering to those who have experienced the loss of a loved one. He is also a member of FIDELES, a men’s ministry that prays the rosary, during Eucharistic Adoration, on a weekly basis in St Mary’s Chapel.

Deacon Froilan (Allen) UnderwoodSacramental Registrar
Deacon Underwood is a native of Samal Bataan, Philippines. He has been involved in many ministries addressing prayer and spiritual development, community outreach, small faith groups, visiting the sick and homebound, and providing logistical service to the parish. He is particularly interested in prayer and spiritual development programs, especially in ministering to the sick, the needy, the home-bound, and the lapsed members of our parish family. Deacon Underwood is also interested in assisting with Adult Enrichment.

Mr. Orlando CaicedoDeacon Candidate
Mr. Orlando Caicedo was born in Bogota-Colombia and came to the United States in 1990. He has offered assistance to the church as a volunteer in countless ministries, always working for the Hispanic community.

Goals & Objectives

The purpose of Holy Spirit Catholic Church is to make God’s Kingdom present in the world. They follow four main guiding principles which are: to sanctify, to teach, to guide, and to reach out. These manifest themselves in dedication to Mass and the Sacraments, the celebration of Church Law, opportunities for learning, accessible leadership, and community outreach. Their main refrain of spiritual guidance is “First, do no harm.” All of these principles allow for an environment that pushes members to grow in their faith and serve their community.

Dress Code

The dress code depends somewhat on which mass you plan to attend. The evening masses are typically more casual. Men and women wear jeans with nice shirts. The morning masses tend to be more formal and closer to a Sunday Best style. Men wear button-downs and khakis. Women wear dresses or nice slacks and a blouse. Some parishioners do still wear jeans to the morning masses, though.

Worship & Music Style

Holy Spirit has traditional music at all services. Traditional hymns (some in Latin) are performed by a full choir accompanied by an organ. The performers are seated above the congregation in a choir loft, so as not to distract from the service as they provide beautiful accompaniment. Hymnbooks are provided in the pews so that parishioners can sing along if they would like to. A Children’s Choir performs at special services throughout the year, showcasing the young talent that Holy Spirit helps nurture.

What to Expect

A vestibule (i.e. gathering area) is located at the front of the sanctuary, where parishioners gather before mass to enjoy fellowship. The Clergy love to greet newcomers in the vestibule. Ushers—who can be identified via name tags—are also there to help guide churchgoers. With the large attendance rate, it can sometimes be difficult for church leadership to identify everyone that is new. Many parishioners also chose to wear name tags so that newcomers can introduce themselves and be welcomed into the Holy Spirit community.

If you arrive early, feel free to enter the sanctuary and sit wherever you like. If you are running late, find one of the ushers and they will escort you to an open seat.

After mass, the priest will get up and give announcements about upcoming events and ways to get involved in the Holy Spirit community. There will be a bulletin handed out as you exit the sanctuary that gives greater detail on these. There is also a station where you can register to become a parishioner. Anyone with a name tag can direct you there and assist you in filling out the membership form. You can also fill out the same form on the church website if that is more convenient.

Confession is offered Saturday evenings from 4:15 pm to 5:00 pm and Sunday mornings from 9:30 am to 1:00 pm. Saturday confession can be found near the Tabernacle in the church, while Sunday confessions are held near St. Mary’s Chapel.


Monsignor Dillon works closely with the Archdiocese of Atlanta. Therefore, Holy Spirit adheres strongly to the traditional Catholic doctrine. Non-Catholic visitors are welcome to join in the service in every regard, except receiving the Eucharist. During this portion of the mass, non-Catholic or non-receiving visitors are encouraged to come forward with their arms folded over their chest to receive a special blessing from either the clergy or one of the Eucharistic ministers.

If you are interested in the steps to becoming a receiving member of the Catholic Church, parish leaders and any parishioner wearing a nametag would love to help you begin that journey. For those familiar with Catholic tradition, Holy Spirit will offer a comforting consistency through established prayers—such as the Our Father and Apostle’s Creed—spoken at every mass. These prayers are heavily rooted in Catholic heritage. Reciting them together allows parishioners to unify in their desire to be forgiven of sin, glorify God, and give thanks for His sacrifice.


Homilies at Holy Spirit are a blend of analytical and emotional takeaways from Scripture. They cover a wide range of topics, but every Sunday’s message is heavily rooted in the readings. Father Atraga has a more anecdotal style, while Monsignor Dillon dives deeply into applying the text. Regardless of who is giving the homily, a call to action is always incorporated. Since Holy Spirit does service a large number of families, family-oriented readings are usually accompanied by a more family-targeted message. However, the Priests make sure that these services are relatable enough to speak to everyone in the congregation. Occasionally big current events or growing struggles in the community are discussed to ensure that parishioners are supported as they navigate these issues in their faith.


Young professionals and families make up the majority of the Holy Spirit congregation. Holy Spirit’s regular members are often residents of the surrounding Sandy Springs communities. These tend to be English-speaking, upper-middle-class individuals. Holy Spirit does occasionally offer a Spanish mass, but if you are seeking one more regularly, their sister Parish (Centro Católico) is home to an extensive Hispanic Catholic community. Holy Spirit welcomes everyone of all backgrounds and orientations to attend mass there.


Holy Spirit has a beautiful, cathedral-style sanctuary with ornate glass windows and classic wooden pews. Coming into the sanctuary is a very reverent experience. It is incredibly easy for parishioners to enter into quiet prayer there. The vestibule is a more social space. The service is also broadcast over the speakers in the vestibule so that families with restless infants can still enjoy the mass. That is where most fellowship occurs before and after mass. Family activities are typically offered in different buildings surrounding the church campus.

Find Your Community

The best way to get involved at Holy Spirit is to register as a member. This can be done in the vestibule space or online. Once you register as a member, the New Parishioner Outreach Coordinator will be in touch with you to offer you a tour of the church and help you connect with ministries. You will also be invited to a monthly new parishioner dinner, where you can get to know the clergy more personally, as well as some of your fellow parishioners.

Holy Spirit offers children, teen, and young adult programs, as well as an Over 50’s Supper club! Since the parish is home to many families, there is also an extensive list of Family ministries and communities to get involved with. Additionally, Holy Spirit shares several Hispanic Outreach ministries with their sister parish of Centro Católico.

Local Outreach

Holy Spirit partners with the Buckhead Christian Ministries to do yearly food drives for those in need. They also work with a shrine downtown that services a homeless ministry in Atlanta.

Other Fun Facts

One of the most notable features of Holy Spirit are the stained glass windows. Donated by parishioners, the stained glass windows in the church feature saints and biblical scenes as well as crests of important Catholic figures and chivalric and fraternal organizations.

Contact & Social Accounts


  • Website:
  • Address: 4465 Northside Drive, NW
  • Phone: 404-252-4513
  • Email:

Social & Other

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