The Early Beginnings
Holy Family Parish was established on August 18, 1897 when Bishop Cosgrove appointed Fr. Loras J. Enright as pastor. The site of the new parish was the western outskirts of the city, completely surrounded by farm land.
The Start of the Current Building
The first Holy Family Church was built this year. It almost immediately proved to be too small for the needs of the people. In the same year, the present church building was begun. Its basement, the present Enright Hall, served as the church for almost 10 years. The entire church building was completed in 1909.
Before the turn of the century, the original small church building was utilized as a two-room schoolhouse. It remained the education center of the parish until 1944 when Msgr. T.V. Lawlor, Holy Family’s second pastor (1943-1961), purchased the old Jackson public school for Holy Family students. The original small church and school then became a home for the parish caretaker and his family. Later it was renovated into a residence for the pastor. During the time of Father Robert Welch (1971-1982) it was affectionately known as “Camp Swampy.” It is currently the site of the Holy Family Teddy Bear Club Preschool.
New School and Convent
During the pastorate of Msgr. B.L. Barnes (1961-1971) a new school and convent were built on land adjacent to and across the street from the original church site. Holy Family School was staffed by the Sisters of Mercy until the 1970s.
Major Remodeling Projects
The current church had three major remodeling projects in its first 100-year history. The most extensive one was done in 1990-91 under the pastorate of Father Thomas Mohr (1988-1994). The church was completely renovated with the addition of the special Blessed Sacrament Chapel, a new elevator for easier access for the handicapped, and a new modern air-conditioning system.
Holy Family successfully completed a major Capital Campaign raising just over one million dollars for much needed improvements to its facilities. The entire church was re-carpeted in December 2007. A new parish administrative center, youth center, and an expanded parking lot next to the church were blessed and dedicated in February 2008. In 2013, the Holy Family Rosary Garden was completed to improve the landscaping on the north side of the church. In early 2015, restoration of the original stained glass windows of the church was completed.
Our Current Church
A major social event at Holy Family over the years was the annual Parish Summer Festival, which was enthusiastically promoted by Father Edward Leahy (1982-1988) and restored by pastor Father Michael Phillips (1994). In more recent years, this has been changed to an annual Parish Picnic. Other activities involving a greater participation of the laity in parish life are also taking place. The stewardship of time, talent, and treasure is encouraged with special emphasis being placed on the spiritual renewal of the whole parish, through the Eucharistic Liturgy, Reception of the Sacraments, Holy Hours of Adoration, Prayer Groups, and Bible Study. With gratitude to God for all of this, we continue our second 100 years as a Holy Family in the Lord.