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Holy Family Church's History



Rev Paco Legarra, OAR, Pastor



Rev Dionisio Gutiérrez, OAR






The celebration of the 150th Anniversary of Holy Family Parish came to a close on November 18, 2007 with a solemn Eucharist.  The theme “Conserving Our Heritage and Building the Future” inspired the moment and the Capital Campaign which was organized to repair the buildings.  The following Sunday a tree was planted between the church and the rectory as a remembrance of that event.

The parish began in the year 1857 to serve German immigrants.  Father Joseph Grieff, who served as pastor to the community from 1884 to 1941, constructed the actual church, the school, the Lyceum and the rectory.  He also built the Park Theater and began the “Passion Play” in 1915.  It is the oldest passion play in the United States.

In the 60’s many Cuban refugees arrived in Union City and the city and the parish changed.  The first Spanish-speaking mass was celebrated in Holy Family on October 7, 1973 to meet the needs of the growing Hispanic community.  Archbishop Theodore McCarrick entrusted the parish to the Augustinian Recollects in September of 1997, with Fr. Antonio Lasheras, OAR, the first pastor.  He started the International Festival which is held on the third Sunday in September.  The following year on December 12th in the former parochial school, the same Archbishop inaugurated the Centro Guadalupe for the formation of Hispanic leaders of the Archdiocese of Newark.

Fr. Paco Legarra, OAR arrived at Holy Family on September 1, 2003.  He has witnessed the growth of the community.  The family catechesis has enabled many families to grow spiritually.  The Youth Group guarantees the generational continuity in the parish.  The Youth Group began the reenactment of the Passion of Christ in Spanish in 2006, as well as the Guadalupe Apparitions.