On Nov. 20, Holy Family Catholic Church in Orange officially welcomed Father Sy Nguyen as the parish’s newest pastor. Bishop Kevin Vann presided over Fr. Sy’s installation Mass – The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.
A chance for the community to come together as a whole to celebrate and welcome Fr. Sy, the installation Mass saw all of Holy Family’s priests present, including Fr. Rudolph Alumam and Fr. Cheeyoon Chun, as well as Bishop Emeritus Tod Brown. Both the Knights of Columbus color choir and Holy Family’s
full adult choir contributed to the Mass as well.
Fr. Sy came to Holy Family on July 1 of this year after serving as pastor of St. Martin de Porres in Yorba Linda for 12 years. It was a bit of a homecoming for Fr. Sy, as he was ordained as a priest 31 years ago at Holy Family when it served as the First Cathedral of the Diocese of Orange.
With several of his family members in attendance, Fr. Sy felt the Mass was “solemn and beautiful” and thanked Bishop Vann for presiding, as well as for his faith in him as Holy Family’s newest pastor.
“Thank you, Bishop, for entrusting me with the flock of this particular church here at Holy Family,” said Fr. Sy. “I am grateful for your trust and your confidence in me, and I promise that Holy Family Church is going to be the best parish in the whole Diocese.”
Bishop Vann also reciprocated the gratitude and thanked Fr. Sy for his willingness and commitment to Holy Family.
“Fr. Sy, I am grateful for you coming here,” said Bishop Vann. “I was blessed to work with you for a number of years at St. Martin’s, and I know that you bring that pastoral care and zeal that you had there, you bring it here to Holy Family. I’m very grateful for that.”
The momentous occasion of a new pastor for Holy Family comes during the parish’s 100th anniversary year. Holy Family Catholic Church was established on Dec. 18, 1921, to serve the spiritual needs of a growing Catholic community in the city of Orange.
In 1976, the newly created Diocese of Orange separated from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and with that move, Holy Family was named the Cathedral Church, a designation held until the consecration of Christ Cathedral in 2019. Rectors of Holy Family Cathedral during that time were Msgr. Donald Strange, Msgr. Brian Coghlan, Msgr. Arthur Holquin, Msgr. Donald Romito, Msgr. Douglas Cook and Very Rev. Patrick Moses.
Holy Family outgrew its original location on East Chapman and Shaffer Street and moved to its current location on the corner of LaVeta and South Glassell in 1949. In August of that same year, Holy Family Catholic School opened. Today, the school serves nearly 450 students, and the parish serves approximately 3,000 families.
Over the last 100 years, Holy Family has served as the site for many ordinations, large events and celebrations, including the Red Mass and Chrism Mass. Additionally, Auxiliary Bishop of Orange, Most Reverend Timothy E. Freyer was ordained at Holy Family.
On Dec. 18, 2021, in honor of the centennial anniversary, the parish hosted a 100 Year Anniversary Mass and reception that kicked off a number of events held throughout this last year to celebrate and recognize the milestone.
Fr. Sy announced during the Mass that, at his request, Bishop Vann had petitioned the Holy See (specifically, the Apostolic Penitentiary) to declare that one who attends Mass at Holy Family may earn a plenary indulgence each day for one year, provided the person meets the requirements of being free from attachment to sin, makes a good confession no more than twenty days after having attended to Mass, prays for the intentions of the pope, and intends to gain the indulgence.” The Holy See responded affirmatively, with a decree written in Latin and since translated into English, granting the request, stating that the one could gain such an indulgence from Oct. 1, 2022 Sept. 30, 2023. “Thank you so much Bishop Vann for petitioning for us this privilege,” said Fr. Sy. “This is a great way to celebrate our 100th year anniversary.”
After the conclusion of the Mass, Holy Family’s 100-year committee hosted a reception. Fr. Sy expanded on hopes for the parish in that that the parishioners of Holy Family are praying for him to be a saint and that he in turn is also praying for his parishioners to be great saints.
“That’s my outlook, my philosophy about being the pastor here,” said Fr. Sy. “If you have people who aspire to be saints, you’re going to become the best parish. The people are going to pray for me, and I will pray for the people. We can help each other to be saints, and then we become the best parish around.