Our Parish History
The Roman Catholic Parish of Holy Family, founded in 1945, is a suburban Roman Catholic parish of the Archdiocese of Boston located approximately 35 miles south of Boston, MA along the Atlantic coast.
Turn of the Century
Holy Family Church began as a mission parish at the turn of the twentieth century. At that time, priests from St. Peter's Church in Plymouth, Massachusetts served the small Catholic population which had settled in the town of Duxbury, Massachusetts. When the neighboring community of Kingston became a parish of the Archdiocese of Boston in 1908, Duxbury continued as a mission church served by the priests of Kingston, who were often assisted by the fathers of Miramar. In 1906, land on St. George Street, Duxbury, was purchased by Rev. John J. Buckley, the pastor of St. Peter's Church in Plymouth, as the future site for Holy Family Church. However, construction was not immediately initiated and Masses continued to be celebrated in homes, summer hotels, the Duxbury Town Hall, Mattakeeset Hall, and even tents in the years from 1902 through 1934.
By 1934, there were about 200 winter parishioners, with the numbers swelling to about 1,000 during the summer season. With the growth in numbers, it was determined that construction should begin at the St. George Street site as soon as feasible. The cornerstone for the new church building was laid in June 1934. The completed construction costs of $30,000 were paid in advance.
On November 21, 1945, then Archbishop Richard J. Cushing designated Holy Family as a separate church of the Archdiocese of Boston and named Rev. John M. Manion, a native of Plymouth, as the church's first pastor. In the years that followed, Father Manion reflected on his years as pastor of the fledgling parish:
A cute church, all paid for, but no rectory. There were 50 families when I took the census the first year. Since my own home was in Plymouth, 10 miles away, I chose to stay there, coming to Duxbury every morning and afternoon. After two years of this, I decided a rectory had to be built. The Cardinal wanted me to wait a while longer (for construction cost to go down!!)...My first collection came to $16.00 and after paying the housekeeper $15.00, I had that extra dollar to spend as I wished!!!! I ran the bus each Sunday and so got a number [of parishioners] who wouldn't have come except for it. It turned out to be a lovely little parish, and the people, both Catholic and Protestant, were friendly and helpful. When I left, after four years of service, there were 121 families and we were getting by nicely, and I think Catholics felt that they were firmly established as a religious group in the town.
Father Manion was succeeded by Rev. William P. Conley. In 1954, Father Conley spear-headed the purchase of the Point School, as the parish hall for Holy Family Church from the town of Duxbury. Father Conley named the parish center building in honor of Father Manion. Rev. Timothy H. Howard was the third pastor and shepherded his growing Holy Family flock from 1955-1963.
Holy Family Parish continued to flourish and, in 1964, Father John Cosgrove, our fourth pastor, urged Cardinal Cushing to authorize the creation of an Associate Pastor position for Holy Family. The request was granted, and Holy Family has been blessed to be served by both a Pastor and an Associate Pastor since that time.
Monsignor William F. Glynn was assigned to Holy Family in September 1981 and served continuously as the pastor until his retirement in 2007. During his years as the pastor, the church thrived and the census swelled to over 2000 families. The "cute church" on St. George Street was rapidly being outgrown. In 1986, the Archdiocese purchased 12.7 acres of land on Tremont Street in Duxbury from the Herrick family as the site for the new church building, and in June 1987, the groundbreaking for the church and parish center took place. His Eminence Bernard Cardinal Law officiated at the dedication of the church on Sunday, May 8, 1988.
Following Monsignor Glynn's retirement in 2007, Very Rev. Bryan K. Parrish was assigned as pastor and served until 2010. In June 2010, our current pastor Rev. Robert J. Deehan was assigned to shepherd Holy Family Parish.
Holy Family Parish Today
Throughout the years, Holy Family pastors have exhibited strong leadership with a clear vision for the future of the parish. Holy Family is currently the spiritual home for more than 2,700 families. The parish supports over 40 ministries which serve the needs of our own parish community and the wider community of Duxbury and beyond.