In the summer of 1959, Bishop William A. O’Connor was seeking to establish a fifth parish in Decatur. He asked Fr. Raymond Franzen to survey Decatur and distinguish which area was best suited for this parish. Fr. Raymond Franzen’s finding was that the South Shores area was best suited for this parish and would serve approximately 260 families. Arthur Trauber, Sr. and Thomas Fitzgerald were appointed to serve as trustees of the parish.
On October 4, 1959 the First Mass was held in the auditorium of the South Shore School. The Decatur Board of Education leased the auditorium to the parish every Sunday and Holy Day for Mass, for the first few months. The temporary rectory was purchased in December 1959. Father Franzen was finally able to move within his own parish boundaries after several weeks of living at the St. James Rectory. A chapel was also built in the temporary rectory.
Mass was first offered in the new, not yet completed, building on the first Sunday of October, 1961. This marked the second anniversary of the parish. In September, 1961, Holy Family School opened with the first six grades consisting of 204 pupils and was administered by the Dominican Sisters of Sacred Heart Covenant, Springfield. When the Sisters arrived to open the school, the covenant was not yet completed so the temporary rectory was the temporary covenant. All the while, Fr. Franzen moved to the chaplain’s headquarters of St. Mary’s Hospital.
October 5, 1959 marked the date of the first meeting of the men of the new Holy Family Parish. Plans for the future of the parish were discussed and a nominating committee was formed. The first officers were elected in December 1959. These men wrote a constitution and by-laws and outlined the main purpose of the organization. To fulfill the purpose they formed active committees such as Catholic Action, Ushers, Program, and Arrangements. They plan events such as dances and put forth many volunteer hours.
October 22, 1959 was the election of officers for the Holy Family Altar and Rosary Society. They focus on increasing devotion to the Blesses Sacrament, the Blessed Virgin, and the Holy Family. This also serves as the local unit of the National and Diocesan Council of Catholic Women. These women provide many benefits for the parish such as, recitation of Rosary on funeral eve and a Requiem Mass. They offer many charitable and social fundraising activities.
Other committees of the parish included the Holy Family Parish Confraternity Board, Choir, and Building Committee, A new church brings more committees. Some more of these consist of the new building committee, Ladies’ Guild Officers, The Parish Council, Sunday Sitters, Liturgical Volunteers, Youth Guitar Group, and Extraordinary Ministers of The Holy Eucharist.
- Fall 1959
Holy Family Parish established by Bishop William A. O’Connor; Father Raymond Franzen appointed as Pastor of 260 families
- October 4, 1959
Parish Mass offered in South Shores School Auditorium
- September 1961
Holy Family School opened with 204 pupils
- October 1, 1961
First Mass offered in own building
Rectory and Convent Built
- June 15, 1975
Ground-Breaking ceremonies for the new church
- July 4, 1976
First Mass offered in new church, and the 200th Birthday of our nation
- October 3, 1976
Dedication of the new church, followed by the first major event in our Parish Center