About the Parish

HISTORY OF THE PARISH, CONSTRUCTION AND RENOVATION

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January 29, 1945 The history of Our Lady of the Lake Church began on January 29, 1945 when Fr. James Kirby, pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Westfield announced that a Catholic Church would be erected on Sheep Pasture Rd in Southwick.
September 1, 1947 The new church was started on September 1, 1947 as construction began on a 3 acre parcel on land which had been donated by Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Keenan Sr. The basement church was completed by Easter, 1948 when the first Mass was celebrated.
1st Pastor
June 24, 1951
Three years later on June 24, 1951, Our Lady of the Lake was no longer a mission of St. Mary’s Church, Westfield. Bishop Christopher J. Weldon decreed that a new parish be started in Southwick and he appointed Fr. Thomas A. Shea to be the first Pastor…serving until 1964.
January 6, 1962 Fr. Shea and his parishioners continued to use the cellar church until 1961 when the handsome colonial edifice began to be built. the new upper church was completed by Christmas of that year and, on January 6, 1962, Bishop Weldon solemney dedicated the church.
2nd Pastor
1964-1968
2nd Pastor: Fr. Thomas S. Hanrahan…1964 – 1968… cleared the parish of all debt, purchased the Chapman Estate to the south of the church with a view to it’s use for the parish.
3rd Pastor
1968-1970
3rd Pastor: Fr. James P. Sears…1968 – 1970…renovated the Chapman house for use as a convent and made some necessary improvements to the rectory and church.
1970 In 1970, Bishop Weldon extended the parish territory to include the towns of Granville and Tolland.
4th Pastor
1970-1979
4th Pastor: Fr. James J. Flahive…1970-1979…the church was redecorated, the Sisters of St. Joseph came to the parish to work among the people, and a parish pavilion was built on the church property.
5th Pastor
1979-1993
5th Pastor: Fr. James Menge…1979-1993…The steeple was erected on the church in 1981. The handicap elevator was installed. Renovation of the downstairs hall with handicap accessible bathrooms.
6th Pastor
1993-2003
6th Pastor: Fr. Timothy Hallahan…1993-2003…Interior painting of the church.. Air conditioning installed in the church and hall.
7th Pastor
2003-Present
7th Pastor: Fr. Henry Dorsch…2003-Present…Additional adornments received for the church, capital campaign begun for parish Faith Formation Center projected to break ground in the spring of 2011.
In 2011, the Parish will be celebrating it’s 60th Anniversary.
In 2013, Bishop McDonnell blesses new Faith Formation Center.
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