Holy Family Parish celebrates 60th anniversary

Cove Leader-Press

Dozens attended the Holy Family Catholic Church’s Holy Family Feast Day and 60th Anniversary celebration Sunday afternoon. 
The feast was held in the church’s Faith Formation Center, located adjacent to the sanctuary. 
December 31st is designated as the Feast of the Holy Family, which consists of Joseph, Mary and Jesus. The Feast is usually held the Sunday after Christmas. 
“It’s also the [60th] anniversary of our Parish, coincidentally named Holy Family,” said Tom McNew, who is on the Parish Council and also co-chairs the Pro-Life ministry with his wife, Anne Marie. “We were founded 60 years ago by the LaFountains.”
The LaFountains were Joseph LaFountain Jr. and his wife Neomie Jane LaFountain, who owned and founded the Hy-Way Hardware and Supply store from 1956 to 1972. 
The couple attended church at St. Joseph’s Parish over in Killeen. There was also St. Mary’s Church over in Lampasas, which was established in 1885, but there was not a place in Copperas Cove for Catholics to worship or have Mass. 
The LaFountains offered their home and began holding Mass in their house starting in 1956, with Father Weber from Saint Joseph’s coming over. That first Mass had around 35 people present, according to the Holy Family website. The Copperas Cove Mission, as it was called, was then moved to the Hy-Way Hardware and Supply building which is where the Town Square Shopping Center is currently located. 
Father Weber purchased a surplus barracks and a mess hall from Fort Hood and moved it to the LaFountains’ property on Highway Avenue near Highway190, and the first mass in this building was held in November 1956. The first resident priest was Father James A. Donnelly, who arrived in September 1962. He was appointed Pastor on March 10, 1963, with the establishment of the Holy Family Parish. 
It wasn’t until later that enough money was raised and permission from the Diocese was granted to build a permanent church in Copperas Cove, according to McNew. 
Father Donnelly had raised approximately $300,000 for the construction of the church and rectory, and by 1967, Bernard Meuth broke ground for the church which was dedicated on May 12, 1968 by Bishop Louis J. Reicher, the founding bishop of the Diocese of Austin, according to the Holy Family Parish’s website. By 1973, the Social Hall was completed.  
“We’re celebrating today the many families, the many cultures that make up Holy Family in Copperas Cove with a potluck, and then everybody’s intent was for it to bring something that kind of represents their culture or their background, their heritage,” McNew said. “We get to celebrate all the different backgrounds and ethnicities and the different cultures that make us one big family.”
Some of the dishes featured at the potluck included corned beef and cabbage, cornbread, sauerkraut, Japanese mochi, various pasta dishes, an assortment of cookies, soups, and more. 
McNew said that recognizing the diversity amongst the Parish members was important. 
“A vast majority of us have some connection to Fort Hood or Fort Cavazos and the military in some form or fashion, and we all come from somewhere else,” McNew said. “Although there are some multigenerational Cove-ites, the vast majority of us came from somewhere else, and that blending of cultures and different families is what makes this Parish so great and so strong because we are able to blend all that into one big family.”
Orie Sanchez is one parish member who has been attending the Holy Family Catholic Church since 1977. She shared memories of how back when she first started attending, parishioners had to use plastic school chairs, and how the ladies from the Ladies’ Society made cushions so parish members could kneel more comfortably. 
“It’s really been quite an experience,” Sanchez said. “I mean, I’m going to be 83 years old next year, pretty soon, God-willing, and just to be a part of one of the people that have been here for a while, you appreciate everything you’ve got.” 
“One of the greatest things that’s happened in this parish is that the average age of the parishioners is probably 62, but we’re getting a lot of new, younger generations to keep us going,” Sanchez added. 
Long tables filled the main room for families to come in and sit and eat, while more tables filled the lobby area, holding the different food items. Along the wall inside the dining area was a series of photos detailing the timeline of the parish and its founders and priests and deacons. 
Other walls held photos and collages showing how the different families have celebrated life within the parish, from different ministries, different sacraments to baptisms and First Communions, confirmations and weddings. 

Copperas Cove Leader Press

2210 U.S. 190
Copperas Cove, TX 76522
Phone:(254) 547-4207