Holy Family of Nazareth Catholic Parish was established by Most Reverend Thomas K. Gorman on August 1, 1964, with Reverend Robert C. Rehkemper as the first pastor. Father Rehkemper resided in the St. Luke Catholic Church rectory until the HFN rectory was built. Father spoke at all Masses at St. Luke on August 2, 1964 and asked the people who lived within the boundaries of the newly formed parish to begin attending Mass on the following Sunday in the cafeteria of Thomas Haley Elementary School.
The four Masses on the first Sunday had a combined attendance of 916. The new parish used Thomas Haley School, which is located on Northgate Drive at Cheyenne Street, until the spring of the next year. As the weather began to warm, Colonial Funeral Home offered the congregation the use of its air-conditioned chapel. The offer was gratefully accepted and Masses were celebrated in the chapel at Colonial until December 25, 1965.
A 15-acre site at the corner of Cheyenne and Rainier Streets, which had been acquired before the parish was founded, would serve as the permanent home for Holy Family. Ground was broken for the first church and school buildings on February 21, 1965. Construction on the rectory for Holy Family, at 2330 Cheyenne, was finished on March 7, 1965. And in December of 1965, the first Mass was offered in the church at midnight.
Father John V. McCallum succeeded Monsignor Rehkemper as pastor for five months. He was succeeded by Father Joseph J. Weinzapfel, who served until Father Thomas P. O’Connor took his place on May 31, 1978. Father Richard Brown served as administrator from February to June of 1985 during Father O’Connor’s medical leave of absence. Father O’Connor resumed the pastorate on June 3, 1985. Father Jerome Duesman was appointed by Bishop Tschoepe to serve as pastor of Holy Family beginning September 1, 1987 and retired September 1, 2012.
The first ministry formed at Holy Family was the Altar Guild. Shortly thereafter the Religious Education Program was established and the Home and School Association (now known as the Parent Teacher Organization, PTO) was founded. A full scouting program was soon in place for the youth of the parish, followed by a music ministry. Eventually, a parish council was organized, school board formed, and various other ministries were established.
Parish expansion plans were in progress in the summer of 1986. The Dallas Diocesan Presbyterial Council granted permission in December 1988 to proceed with the expansion that included a new church and new elementary school building. The ground breaking ceremony was on October 7, 1990. The Eucharistic Celebration of the Rite of Dedication of Holy Family of Nazareth’s new church facility was celebrated on the First Sunday of Advent, December 1, 1991. The newest building on campus is the Family Life Center, dedicated in February 2003. It includes meeting rooms and a full-size gymnasium with bleachers for spectators.
Father Dominic Colangelo was appointed by Bishop Kevin Farrell to serve as pastoral administrator of Holy Family effective September 12, 2012. On May 22, 2013, Father Albert Becher came to serve as pastoral administrator. In September 2015, Bishop Farrell appointed Father Becher pastor of Holy Family; the Bishop officially celebrated with the congregation on November 8, 2015, with Mass and a reception.
The school opened in September of 1965 with the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth Order, with Sister Zephyrine (Loretta) as its first principal. She was succeeded by Sister Joan Pitsch in 1971. Sister Eloise Thornquist became principal in 1976. Sister Lilliannne Murzyn replaced Sister Eloise in May of 1978. Mrs. Elena Hines became Holy Family’s first lay principal in June 1983. Dr. Catherine Donahue succeeded her in June 1991. Mrs. Nalana Dzivak became principal in July 1995 and served until December 1997. Mr. Frank Romero served as principal until May 2003, when Mr. Dennis Poyant, M.A., became principal and served until June 2013. The current principal is Ms. Janet Muelschen, M.Ed., M.A., BSCD, and the current school director is Kathy Carruth, M.SL. On Sunday, January 24, 2016, Bishop Farrell celebrated the 10:00 a.m. Mass in honor of the school’s 50
th Anniversary, and then on February 19 he revealed that St. Luke School had been chosen to join Holy Family School “to become the second academy-model campus in the Diocese of Dallas” with an upgraded facility and enhanced curriculum beginning with the 2016-2017 school year, under the name Holy Family Catholic Academy.