A Brief History of Holy Family Catholic Church
Holy Family Parish in Caledonia was formed in 1969 with the merger of St. Mary's Cascade and St. Joseph's Leighton. St. Patrick's Bowne was incorporated into the parish in 1981.
St. Mary's Church in Cascade was built in 1856 by Irish immigrants. The church was served by priests from St. Patrick's in Parnell and St. Andrew's in Grand Rapids until 1891, when Father James Bryne became the first resident pastor. A new church had been built in 1888, and it served the parish until Holy Family's church was constructed in 1970.
St. Joseph's Church in Leighton Township, Allegan County, was built in 1872 or 1873. It was a mission of Hastings, New Salem, North Dorr, Cascade, and Gun Lake before becoming part of Holy Family Parish.
St. Patrick's Church in Bowne was founded as an outgrowth of St. Patrick's Parnell, about 1866. A Small chruch was built in 1868 and a larger one in 1887. Priests came from Parnell, Hastings, and Grand Rapids until the mission was attached to Cascade in 1891. After 1969, St. Patrick's was a mission of Holy Family Caledonia. When St. Patrick's Church burned down in 1981, the members joined Holy Family Parish.
In 1965, the three church communities of Cascade, Leighton, and Bowne established a combined religious education program. With their old churches becoming increasingly inadequate, the Cascade and Leighton congregations chose to consolidate into Holy Family Parish in Caledonia. The merger was completed in 1969. The people of St. Patrick's, Bowne, chose to retain their separate status as a mission of Holy Family until their church was destroyed in 1981. Holy Family Parish was constructed in 1970, with Fr. Schafer as our first pastor.
In the 1980's St. Augustine Parish in middleville was closed by the Diocese of Kalamazoo, and many families came north to join Holy Family. Since then, families from many places have moved to the Caledonia area and joined the parish. The growing parish community currently numbers over 900 families. Over 15 ordained and religious sister vocations have come from the parishes. The parishes of our history are held in memory by the naming of St. Mary's halls, St. Joseph hall, and St. Patrick blessed Sacrament Chapel, as well as the Narthex stained glass windows which holds the parish patron saints, St. Mary, St. Joseph, St. Patrick, and St. Augustine. Facility additions were made in 1979, 1983, 1987 and most recently with the addition of the Holy Family Center in 2006.
Holy Family is part of the Diocese of Grand Rapids, which was established in 1882 and originally consisted of much of the northern and western parts of Michigan from the Indiana border to the Straits area. Since 1971, when Vatican II called for smaller diocese so the bishops could better tend to their flock, the diocese includes 11 counties around Grand Rapids, serving 191,000 Catholics and 82 parishes, with Bishop J. Wolkowiak serving as the bishop since 2013.