After 106 years Holy Family Parish was re-created. Established in 1903 as a Polish parish serving the immigrants from Europe, the new Holy Family Parish was officially established as a territorial entity for the borough of Sugar Notch, Pa. by decree of the Most Reverend Joseph F. Martino, D.D., Hist. E.D. effective May 24, 2009. The official paperwork (Decree) was received in September, 2009. The context of this event was the Scranton diocesan process entitled Called to Holiness and Mission initiated in 2005. That Mission encompassed present and future attempts at living and spreading the word of God (evangelization), and our need for growth in spirituality and holiness at the individual and community level. The first phase of this process involved parish restructuring.
Parish restructuring actually began in Sugar Notch on July 7, 1992 when Rev. John S. Terry was appointed the sixth pastor of Holy Family Parish. At the same time he would assume the pastorate of St. Charles Borromeo and Sts. Peter & Paul churches. This was the first time that one priest would be given responsibility for the entire Catholic population of this community that historically embraces three (3) heritages: Polish, Irish, and Lithuanian.
During the pastorate of Rev. Vincent Dang (2004-09) consolidation would move forward. St. Charles Borromeo would be suppressed as a territorial parish on the day it would celebrate its closing Liturgy (Sunday, May 24, 2009).
Currently Holy Family Parish lists in our census files about 417 active Catholic households along with about 255 inactive families. A significant number of these inactive families are our elderly who find themselves in personal care homes, nursing homes, or other long term medical care facilities. Ministry to our elderly is one of our primary endeavors.
Through the vehicle of our Parish Pastoral Council, and with the participation of an Evangelization Team, we are now actively working toward developing a strategy and an action plan of trying to engage our other inactive households so that we bring them to a high level of commitment and involvement. Obviously we must develop some mode of effective evangelization whereby we communicate a message of welcome and inclusion to our lapsed Catholics. With the help of God’s grace may we find a way.
In 2013 our Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) was given the opportunity to join in a 12 month leadership formation process sponsored by the Office of Parish Life of the Diocese of Scranton. The membership readily participated in this first time “pilot project.” With the leadership training behind us, it was the consensus of council members that it was a wonderful learning experience.
Holy Family parish is blessed with a wonderful group of women – the Confraternity of Christian Women (CCW). They cooperate with the local Knights of Columbus Council and the Lions Club of the community. All of the above groups collaborate in a variety of social concerns projects and endeavors.
Some of those collaborative efforts include sheltering and feeding the homeless men of LuzerneCounty once or twice a year in conjunction with Mother Teresa’s Haven. Grace’s Garments and St. Pauly clothing collection are still others avenues of bringing assistance to specific needy groups and individuals.
Religious education for our youth, along with adult education programs are part of the continuous work of our parish. Our PPC has taken the most recent initiative in bringing a kiosk of CD’s, books, and booklets offered by Lighthouse Catholic Media. On display in the church, parishioners and visitors can avail themselves to a variety of titles.
Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration (PEA) has become part of our weekly experience over the last five years. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is available every Wednesday. Purely social activities like “movie nights” along with necessary fund raising projects are found on our annual parish calendar of events.
Stewardship – the offering of time, talent, and treasure – has been a glorious hallmark of Catholics of various ethnic traditions as they lived their lives in this Sugar Notch community for the last 111 years. The challenge of the future is to keep alive our gospel response in Word, Worship, Community, and Service.
Parishioners can be rightfully proud of our clean, well kept, modern facilities which at the same time have kept the flavor of past generations of faithful Catholic worshipers.
We pray, that with God’s help, the work being done today may bear fruit in making Holy Family Parish a vibrant Catholic community in the years ahead.
Update = November, 2014