History of Our Parish
Our purpose is to share the mission of Christ and the knowledge of our faith to inspire and nurture in the faithful, the desire to build a community of love led by the Holy Spirit.
April 9, 1967
Our Lady of the Lakes began in a very humble way with the first Mass being celebrated on a dairy farm. On Sunday, April 9, 1967, 321 parishioners attended the first Mass in their new parish with their new pastor, Father Miguel Goni, a Spaniard, at the Barn Theatre. These families on learning that the parish was to be named “St. Bernard” asked Bishop Coleman Carroll to name their new parish in honor of Our Lady and under a title that reflected the area’s geographical character.
October 15, 1967
The first evening Mass was celebrated, this time at the United Church of Christ at the invitation of Father Bertram Miller and his congregation.
November 12, 1967
Father Goni celebrated the first Mass in Spanish. Christmas Midnight Mass was celebrated outdoors at the Barn Theatre.
September 1, 1968
Groundbreaking for a multi-purpose hall, chapel and bell tower with an administrative building to provide office space and residential area for priests took place on September 1, 1968.
June 12, 1969
Bishop John Fitzpatrick, Auxiliary Bishop of Miami, dedicated the chapel and new buildings on June 12, 1969, just two years from the foundation of the parish. Monsignor Francis Fazallaro shepherded a growing parish from 1970 to 1974 when Father Edmond Whyte became pastor and oversaw the opening of the parish school in 1987 under the direction of Sr. Carol Koester, RSM, and the building of a permanent church.
From 1989 through 2011, the parish grew to new dimensions under Father James Murphy as pastor while characterizing itself for conducting many outreach programs. Upon Father Murphy’s retirement in 2011, Father Jose Alvarez became our new pastor. Under his leadership, our parish and school community continued to grow and thrive. In 2019, Father Flavio Montes became our new administrator, and lead our parish until June 2023.
Today, under the leadership of Father Ivan Rodriguez as our pastor, Our Lady of the Lakes continues to serve the needs of over 4,500 multicultural families in the community through its vibrant and numerous ministries, programs, and services.