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Holy Infant Parish Celebrates 40th Anniversary

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This October, members of Holy Infant Parish in Durham celebrated the community’s 40th anniversary. A Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge. Among the concelebrants were Father James Greenfield, OSFS, Provincial of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales; pastor Father Joseph T. Brennan, OSFS; former Oblate pastors; and other Oblate and Diocesan priests. 

Father Greenfield was the homilist and praised the people of Holy Infant for “painting a picture of God by...radiating God's wide compassion and letting your love embrace beyond race, creed, gender, religion, ideology, orientation and differences of every kind. By tending to 'widows, orphans, and strangers,' reaching out to those most vulnerable, feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, visiting the sick and imprisoned, working for justice. By working for peace, when in both your personal lives and your politics you strive to radiate God's non-violence. And by grounding your vision and your energies in the power that God revealed in the resurrection of Jesus.”

Holy Infant was built on 15 acres of donated land and dedicated by Bishop Vincent S. Waters in 1970. At that time, 70 families belonged to the parish. Since its inception the parish has been staffed by Oblates of St. Francis de Sales. The church was severely damaged by a lightning strike and fire in 1981, and for a year and a half parishioners worshipped at Parkwood Elementary School. Out of necessity, many parish activities took place in neighboring churches and in parishioners' homes during that time. In November 1982, Bishop F. Joseph Gossman celebrated the rededication of the renovated church. Today, Holy Infant serves 850 families.

The anniversary Mass was followed by a celebratory reception, and a few days later a family picnic was held, attended by some 500 parishioners.

Above: Father James Greenfield, OSFS, homilist at 40th anniversary celebration of Holy Infant Parish in Durham. (Photo courtesy Chris Elam.)