As a community we started gathering under Fr. Jerry Bevilacqua's O.S.A. guidance in 1975. The way Fr. Jerry teaches the bible is very inspirational and pierces your heart to follow the Lord more closely. The bible community was named Fountain Ministries. It had the leadership support of the Fountain of Life Community. We first gathered at St. Augustine Chapel for the Monday night Bible Class. We gathered in Christ to pray for healing and would go from parish to parish for Mass and Healing Services. The parishes we routinely visited then were Our Lady of Grace, Holy Family, Mary Star of the Sea, St. Rose of Lima, St. John of the Cross.
To support and train the FOLC prayer leaders we started training in many different ways. Some of the programs were 8-day retreats at El Carmelo Retreat House, Ignatius Spirituality Retreats at Manresa, weekend retreats at Prince of Peace Abbey and monthly leadership training on spiritual direction. The leaders of the FOLC set up small groups in their homes for weekly prayer sessions. The FOLC leaders started meeting monthly at the St. Didicus parish hall to pray for themselves and for those that would come for prayer to the Bible Class and Masses.
The FOLC prayer leaders supported Fountain Ministries through the busy schedule of events for over 25 years. Some of the events were first Friday Masses for the Charismatic Renewal, Masses in various locations including Los Angeles. The FOLC made the commitment to attend the Monday night Bible Class. The Holy Spirit helped the leaders tirelessly pray, intercede and discern the various requests and needs that would present themselves at the Bible Class prayer circles and at the Masses. The FOLC helped Fr. Jerry with organization of scheduling and planning because the ministry and its needs were expanding. The Charismatic Renewal was growing and prayer community and organization was needed. When Fr. Jerry took a 3-year sabbatical and the FOLC would still meet to pray with each other to prepare and be ready for ministering to the Lord’s people when Fr. Jerry returned. Fountain Ministries and FOLC prayed for healing, witnessed to many people the glorious love and forgiveness of the Lord.
The FOLC was also the starting point of the tape ministry. This enabled us to record and archive the valuable Bible Class lessons. This was very important especially for those that have purchased the tapes. They can’t thank the community enough for the gift of being able to hear the teachings over and over.
The parishes that kindly opened their doors to us for our Monday night Bible Class were St. Patrick’s, St. Vincent’s and we now worship at Holy Spirit Parish. The churches that hosted Mass and Healing services over the years are to numerous to mention yet rest assured that the ministry holds them in prayer daily for the work they did then and continue to do to minister to the Lords people and live the Word.
As the ministry grew yearly retreats were set up for Men and Women at Hi-Pass Camp, Contemplative Retreats at Holy Trinity Hermitage, and eventually Life in the Spirit Seminars and regular monthly Masses and Healing services.
Fountain Ministries ultimately changed its name to Spirit Ministries to commemorate the placement of the Board of Directors. The ministry has grown with the same faces from Fountain Ministries melding with the new faces of Spirit Ministries into a great community of open hearts to serve and learn about the Lord. Our workshops and retreats have changed as well, we now have annual retreats at Whispering Winds Catholic Conference Center near Julian, Ca. and two 8-week workshops a year. The Life in the Spirit Seminar travels where we are invited from parish to parish.
There are many people to thank for the starting and maintaining of this community. On behalf of Spirit Ministries we thank all the founders, prayer leaders, volunteers and attendees past and present. We also thank God for all the answered prayers. God is good all the time and all the time God is good.