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 Holy Family Catholic Church, Woodruff, Wisconsin

A Brief Historical Perspective

Holy Family Parish was established by Bishop Raphael M. Fliss in Woodruff, Wisconsin on January 1, 2004, after many months of prayer and study, discussion and listening. This new parish brought together the former parishes of St. Patrick in Minocqua, St. John Vianney of Lake Tomahawk, and Our Lady Queen of the Universe of Woodruff. Though separated by parish boundaries, the people of the three smaller parishes were already friends, neighbors, and relatives; the Northwoods has long been home to many such small communities.

St. Patrick Parish was established in Minocqua in 1894 by early settlers in logging camps. During its 110 year existence, 25 different priests served the parish. Our Lady Queen of the Universe, established in Woodruff in 1955, was originally located in the Woodruff movie theater. St. John Vianney was established in 1959 in Lake Tomahawk-the original church building was moved from Boulder Junction to Lake Tomahawk and later a small new church was built.

When the process of merging the three churches into one began, each church was called a chapel of Holy Family parish. St. John Vianney in Lake Tomahawk was the first to close followed by St. Patrick in Minocqua; and finally, Our Lady Queen of the Universe in Woodruff closed its doors on August 10th, 2007. The first Masses at Holy Family were held on the weekend of August 11-12, 2007. Holy Family was formally dedicated by Bishop Raphael Fliss on August 13, 2007.

Near and dear to the heart of Holy Family - and the hearts of the initial members of the new parish, are our Living Stones. On May 21, 2006, all the members of the newly formed parish were invited to come to the site of the new church. The exact spot where the altar would one day stand was identified by a deep pit. Over 1500 persons attended, and all were invited to write their names on stones which were then thrown into the pit. Stones of those not able to attend were also included. Embedded beneath our altar are the stones upon which our sacrifice is given and received; and these Living Stones, our original members, are indeed the foundation of Holy Family Parish!

Father Jim Hoffman continued as pastor until his retirement on January 3, 2011. After a year of transition, Fr. Aaron Devett succeeded Fr. Jim on January 3, 2012.

When you visit Holy Family (we want to be "your Parish away from home"!) take time to browse the photo albums of the three former parishes and of the building of Holy Family. They are located in the sitting areas of the gathering space and colonnade.