In February 2018, a small group of Catholic dads met to pray about and discuss their responsibilities as fathers in educating their children, and to evaluate the schooling options available to them. They looked at schools within reasonable proximity, finding only a small handful of schools providing good academic training and an even smaller number providing good spiritual formation and nourishment – but none that were doing both in tandem. Faced with this dilemma and wanting the best education for their children (both academic and spiritual), they ultimately decided to form Holy Family Academy.
Within a few days, these dads nominated a governing board and drew up organizing documents, filing them with state authorities. Soon thereafter, they filed for 501(c)3 status with the Internal Revenue Service to allow individuals and businesses the opportunity to provide tax-deductible donations to our new academy. Next came hiring a Principal to lead our new school and subsequently the hiring of several teachers. We searched for and ultimately found a beautiful and fitting facility to house our school. Along the way, other courageous families began to join in the effort and enrolled their children. Many hands contributed to developing school forms and documents – e.g., registration forms, policies, procedures and various handbooks. We have been particularly blessed that a number of families stepped forward and provided essential financial and volunteer support.
On August 13, 2018, Holy Family Academy officially opened with fifty-four students in grades K-12. Our faculty and staff included a Principal, six full-time teachers, three part-time teachers and a host of volunteers; mostly parents, grandparents and older siblings of Holy Family Academy students.
Of course, we wouldn’t be where we are today without a generous amount of Divine assistance. Two critical breakthroughs occurred following two novenas prayed by our families to St. Thomas Aquinas and the Holy Family – when we found our Principal and our new facility, respectively. There have been many other examples where things that weren’t supposed to happen, happened.
In the midst of a pandemic, with our children and teachers forced to quarantine and pivot to online learning, a search was already underway for a new location for HFA. The property that Providence had gifted us for our first two years of operation was ending its lease, and we were growing.
The Board of Directors, after a 6-month search, and with the generosity of the new “Friends of HFA” were able to close a deal on the former headquarters for the Grand Canyon Council of the Boy Scouts of America. This beautiful building, built with care in the 1980’s would prove to be a perfect home for HFA – after, of course, a remodel.
During the hottest summer in Phoenix’s history, the renovation began, and the doors opened to the new HFA campus with fanfare and excitement on August 16, 2020.
The four-year dream of having a permanent chapel for the students at Holy Family Academy became a reality on August 20, 2021.
A 170-person chapel was constructed in the heart of the school as a tangible reminder of Holy Family Academy’s commitment to providing an education that cultivates wisdom and virtue by nourishing the souls of our students on all that is true, beautiful and good.
The chapel has been the home for weekly Mass and Confessions, as well as daily Rosary and other services based on the liturgical calendar and school schedule.
On March 7, 2022, Holy Family Academy was officially recognized as an independent, Catholic School in the Diocese of Phoenix. The announcement came in a formal decree issued by His Excellency Bishop Thomas Olmsted.
We are most grateful to Bishop Olmsted for this acknowledgment of HFA’s faithfulness and its commitment to providing Christ-centered, traditional Catholic education.
HFA received the wonderful news in May 2022 that His Excellency Bishop Thomas Olmsted issued a decree to “extend permission for Holy Family Academy to reserve the Most Holy Eucharist in the tabernacle of their chapel.”
Fr. Alonso Saenz was designated as the person responsible for the Most Holy Eucharist. The sanctuary lamp was lit for the first time after Mass and May Crowning on May 13.