Holy Family celebrates 75 years of faith, growth, service

by Susan McFarland

North Texas Catholic

December 14, 2017

Holy Family Catholic Church moved to its current location in 1965. (NTC photo/Juan Guajardo)

FORT WORTH — From 65 families in 1942 to almost 2,500 families today, parishioners at Holy Family Parish have plenty of reasons to celebrate the church’s 75th anniversary.

A small, white frame building at the corner of Camp Bowie Boulevard and Locke Avenue in Fort Worth held the very first Mass on June 7, 1942 at St. Alice Church, the parish’s original name. Twenty-three years later, the church family moved to a new home on Pershing Avenue and became Holy Family Parish.

At that first Mass, Father Ernest Langenhorst encouraged the people to be a “living parish, more than just a territory and buildings, but a people to whom a parish must be a thing of vital interest so that it might become ‘a living organism of the Mystical Body of Christ.’”

One person at a time, the “living parish” has indeed grown during the last 75 years, embracing people dedicated to ministering to each other and the community.

Cam Ryan, chair of the 75th anniversary steering committee, joined the parish 26 years ago after a friend she worked with at a charity organization invited her to visit.

“It’s interesting how one person can pull you in and you get so involved,” Ryan said.

Ryan helped plan the many celebration activities held throughout the year including a Lenten Mission Retreat, Holy Family Feast Day, and a parish picnic complete with food trucks and children’s activities. Closing out the year, an Advent Family Night is planned for December 1. Coming up in the spring, a cookbook is in the works with a range of recipes old and new from St. Alice and Holy Family parishioners.

Joe Rodriguez, director of Liturgy and Formation, who also served on the steering committee, said activities throughout the year provided “an opportunity to look back and treasure past memories; and also to look forward with renewed energy and hope for the future of this community.”

 Father Ernest Langenhorst at the altar of St. Alice Church.

One of the highlights was Sister Mary Frances Serafino, SSMN, presenting a Lenten Series. Sr. Mary Frances, who served as a teacher and principal at St. Alice School and taught several of the current parishioners at Holy Family, gave three talks during Lent.

“The first focused on how our past had shaped the present life and ministry of this parish. The second evening focused on what sacred Scripture challenges our community to in the present. The third focused on God’s desire for the future of this community,” Rodriguez said.

Other celebrations included the completion of a new parking garage and additional parking lot, and the addition of a connector from the front of the church to the garage which provided much needed restrooms, an ushers’ room, bride’s room, reconciliation room, and vesting sacristy, Rodriguez said.

Deacon Michael Mocek said a significant part of the celebration was helping revitalize the very neighborhood where St. Alice began, with a Habitat for Humanity project in the Como area.

“We celebrated that as part of returning to our roots to revitalize the neighborhood,” Mocek said. “I thought it was a significant reflection of where we’ve been in our contribution to the community.”

Looking back at the growth and comparing the small frame church that was St. Alice in the 1940s to the present facility seems surreal to some.

“We’re at the point again where we are busting at the seams, so the needs will continue,” Dcn. Mocek said. “And accommodating the needs of the people in our community, that’s a big challenge.”

Father Hoa Nguyen, pastor, said looking at the 75-year hallmark is “a reminder of many sacrifices of the people before us.”

“What we inherited today, we accept as a privilege, but that comes with a responsibility to move forward and become stronger,” Fr. Nguyen said. “We pray we will continue to carry it out, to help the community at large, help the poor, and be a witness not just to our community but outside the parish.”

Fr. Nguyen said every person and every family at Holy Family is “a bridge that fulfills a beautiful and solid church.”

“Through the grace of God and the Holy Eucharist, we nourish the family and have a stronger church,” he said. 

FORT WORTH — From 65 families in 1942 to almost 2,500 families today, parishioners at Holy Family Parish have plenty of reasons to celebrate the church’s 75th anniversary.

Published (until 12/14/2030)