History of Our Lady of the Lakes Church
Our Lady of the Lakes began in a very humble way with the first Mass being celebrated on a dairy farm. On Sunday, April9, 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. On 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. On November 12, 1967, Father Goni celebrated the first Mass in Spanish. Christmas Midnight Mass was celebrated outdoors at the Barn Theatre.
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. 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 to 2011 the parish grew to new dimensions under Father James Murphy as pastor while characterizing itself for conducting many outreach programs.
Today under the leadership of Very Rev. Jose Alvarez, V.F. as pastor of the parish serves the needs of over 4,500 multi-cultural families through its vibrant and numerous ministries, programs and services.