Holy Family Parish was established in 1947, with the first Mass being celebrated by our new pastor, Fr. Vincent McKenna, and 63 families at the Sparta Township Hall. By 1949, nearly 100 families were worshipping in a new church building built with their sacrifices of time, talent, and treasure. Initially Fr. McKenna taught religious studies, but by 1950, Sisters Mary Evangelista and Mary Leonard were teaching Saturday morning catechism. Early parish organizations were the Altar Society, Holy Name Society, and in 1951, a Knights of Columbus chapter was formed but later joined with Conklin at the KC Hall.
In 1954, Msgr. Joseph Walen became the second pastor of the Holy Family. Significant growth and progress was made during his tenure as several committees, guilds, and choirs were formalized. By 1963 our current church building and rectory were constructed, with the help and support of 200 families. Msgr. Walen left in 1964 and was replaced by Fr. Julius Amman, who served Holy Family for two years.
Msgr. Thomas Martin arrived at our parish in 1966 as many changes suggested by the Second Vatican Council were ushered in. Lay persons from our parish were now able to participate in the liturgy as lectors, Eucharistic ministers, and religious education teachers, plus a Parish Council was formed. Sisters Laurentia Bauer and Loretta Semposki came to Holy Family in 1970 and began coordinated religious studies and the many Christian Services offered to the poor and elderly. Also, Fr. Ron Schneider was ordained.
Msgr. Anthony Arszulowicz was assigned to Holy Family in 1971. While he was here, the building debt was paid off and a capital improvement fund was established. He retired from parish life in 1979 and was replaced by Fr. Melvin Fox. As pastor, Fr. Fox greatly enhanced religious education and the involvement of lay people in liturgical ministries. Sisters Paula Mierle and Jean Marie Wojtas came to Holy Family to help with the transformation. The Order of Christian Initiation of Adults was also established, and Fr. Rock Badgerow from Holy Family was ordained during this time.
By 1985, Membership at Holy Family had grown to nearly 500 families, so once again a building committee was formed to begin the process of expansion. Fr. Martin Kurylowicz was appointed to Holy Family at this time, and he became very involved in the fund raising and construction of our new religious education center, social hall, and enlarged entryway to the church. Once again the members of Holy Family sacrificed their time, talent, and treasure, to not only pay off the debt, but make full use of the facilities with religious, social activities, and community events.
By now, several parish organizations such as Cursillo, Adoration, Degagè, Mary Martha, Ushers Club, St. Ann’s Guild, Little Flower Guild, Youth Groups, Bible Study Groups, Committees to support Diocesan efforts, and a new chapter of the Knights of Columbus were up and running. In 1997, Fr. Philip Shangraw came to Holy Family and helped develop a five year plan to help bring these groups together as the Body of Christ working in the Sparta/Kent City area. Also during this time, our beautiful organ was donated, our new sign erected, and the old church building razed.
In 2002, Msgr. Terrence Stewart was assigned as pastor of Holy Family, Sr. Bernadine Gazda followed in 2003 as pastoral associate and director of religious education. Together, they have brought reverence, professionalism, and dedication to our parish that was been well received by the parishioners. In 2005, our own Larry Hoogeboom was ordained as a Deacon at the Cathedral.
In September, 2010, Msgr. Terry celebrated his 40th Anniversary of Ordination and enjoyed a wonderful Parish Party which was attended by more than 500 parishioners and guests.
Currently Holy Family has both a strong Religious Education program and Youth Ministry program that are building and nourishing the faith of the Elementary, Middle School, and High School youth of the parish. There are 47 parish ministries available in which parishioners can become involved, and which keeps Holy Family active and engaged in the building of community and in service to one another and to the Kingdom of God.