Holy Family Church403 Union St, Rockland, MA 02370
As a parish family, the Catholic community of Rockland has grown impressively in one hundred twenty years. When Holy Family was founded in 1882, the town had a population of about 4,000 people, of whom only one-fourth were Catholic. Today, Rocklands population exceeds 18,000 and over 60% are Catholics. In 1872, a decision was made to establish a Catholic parish in East Abington, which became known as Rockland upon the incorporation of the new town (March 9, 1874). The first Mass at Holy Family was celebrated on Christmas Day, 1882, in what is now the lower church. This was quite an accomplishment for a small Catholic community, to have funded and completed the construction of a church in such a short time. On May 30, 1886, Holy Family Church was dedicated, with Archbishop John Williams presiding. In the early 1900s, Holy Family was both the spiritual and social home for parishioners. Many Irish, Italian and Polish immigrants had settled in Rockland, home to a then-thriving shoe industry. The parish became central in their lives, as Rockland retained its small-town feeling well into the mid-twentieth century. In 1941, Holy Family Church opened an eight-room parochial school.