“Honoring Our Past, Embracing Our Future,” is serving as the theme for the Bayshore’s Holy Family Parish, Hazlet, which marks its 75th anniversary this year.
A diamond jubilee celebration will be held June 11 with Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., presiding over the 11 a.m. Mass. A 1 p.m. dinner will follow in Jacques Reception Center, 500 Palmer Ave., Middletown. Tickets at $35 per person may be purchased in the parish office, the religious education office or by contacting Josephine Farley at 732-739-2578.
According to the parish website and other resources, Holy Family traces its roots to 1941 when a small group of Catholic residents from Union Beach petitioned the Bishop of Trenton for permission to build their own church, an accomplishment they realized a year later when the first church was completed. The parish rapidly grew and once again the parishioners petitioned the Bishop for permission to build a larger church. The new church was completed in 1955. Twelve years later in 1967, parish grade school opened, and throughout its more than 40 year history, had been staffed by members of three religious orders, School Sisters of Notre Dame, Baltimore; Carmelite Sisters of St. Teresa, Kerala, India, and the Sisters of Mercy, North Plainfield. The school shuttered its doors in 2009.
Reflecting on milestones and factoids about Holy Family Parish, Grace Fagan, the parish business manager, said Holy Family boasts having some 3,600 registered families, close to 400 children in the religious education program and a number of ministries including Altar-Rosary and Holy Name Societies. The Altar-Rosary Society will observe its 75th anniversary Oct. 1, she said.
Fagan spoke fondly of the accomplishments of the pastors who have been assigned to Holy Family, the significant number of religious women and men who have staffed the parish and former school and how the parishioners and members of the St. Vincent de Paul conference have continuously worked together to assist the poor and those in need. One recent memorable occasion, she noted, occurred in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in 2012, during which the Hazlet/Union Beach area sustained significant damage. The St. Vincent de Paul conference worked in conjunction with the diocesan Office of Social Concerns to help people, including parishioners who lost their homes and possessions in the storm, she said. Fagan also added that for several weeks afterward, the school building served as the headquarters for the National Guard who was called in to assist storm victims.
“This parish has a long history in this area,” said Fagan.