Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church
In August of 1968, a number of Catholics living Hendersonville, Tennessee, approached Monsignor George Rohling about forming a new parish in Sumner County. Monsignor Rohling agreed that a parish was needed in the growing area of Hendersonville. In fact, in 1965 he had purchased 10.1 acres of land off New Shackle Island Road for the diocese to build a parish center in southern Sumner County.
In February 1969, Father Joseph Wesley began celebrating Mass in an empty two-room schoolhouse off Rockland
Road, in sight of Old Hickory Lake. In June of the same year, Bishop Joseph Durick appointed Father Edward Arnold to organize the new parish named “Our Lady of the Lake” by its parishioners. It was officially established on November 1, 1969 with Father Arnold as pastor. In August 1971, the young parish moved to the newly completed Knox Doss School. During that time the 250 family parish community broke ground for a permanent home on New Shackle Island Road. Bishop Durick assisted Father Arnold at the groundbreaking ceremony along with Ted Malkiewicz, Parish Council Chairman; Fred Dieterich, Vice-Chairman; and Edward J. Meiers, Architect. On May 31, 1972, Our Lady of the Lake celebrated its first Mass in the newly completed parish center.
In 1975, Father James Black became OLOL’s first associate pastor. In August 1979, Father John Henrick moved to Our Lady of the Lake as its second pastor and, Barbara Shinault became the first parish coordinator. Sister Maria Edwards, RSM, joined the staff in the fall of 1980. On December 9, 1985, two parishioners, Thomas E. Bomkamp and John W. Myers, were ordained deacons, enriching parish life with their ministry. Monsignor William S. Bevington (Then Father Bevington) came to Our Lady of the Lake as the third pastor in July 1989. On May 14, 1999, parishioner Jim Carr was ordained as a deacon and continues to serve Our Lady of the Lake in this capacity. During this time, we were blessed with the presence of several associate pastors including Father Mark Hunt, Father Tomy Joseph, Father Luckas Arulappa, and Father Jerry Strange.
As the parish continued to grow along with the city of Hendersonville, the need for more space became evident. On Saturday, August 21, 1999, Our Lady of the Lake Church was dedicated by Bishop Edward U. Kmiec at its present location on Stop Thirty Road. Our current pastor, Father Eric Fowlkes came to Our Lady of the Lake in July of 2008 along with Rhonda Wigger, our second parish coordinator. Our present Associate Pastor, Father Thomas Kalam, CMI joined us in July of 2012.
The OLOL family continues to grow in many ways. The Mass schedule includes a weekly Spanish Mass and a Youth Mass on Wednesdays during the school year. Religious Education classes continue to grow in size and scope. The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults serves those who desire full communion with the Church. Adult Faith Formation classes and seminars are offered on an ongoing basis throughout the year. The parish youth participate in meaningful and challenging activities designed expressly for them. An active and effective Knights of Columbus council builds on its reputation for service to the parish and the community. Organizations such as Mom’s Plus, the Legion of Mary, and other ministries and groups serve their members and the parish as a whole with support and impactful programs. Our pastor is assisted by an elected Parish Council, which helps to coordinate the activities of the Parish.
In June 2014 two parishioners, John Lammers and Mike Rector, were ordained as permanent deacons. This helped address the growing spiritual needs of this family of faith. The newly tiled center aisle of the sanctuary was completed in the fall of 2014. Throughout the tile are beautiful and spiritual symbols of our Catholic faith.
The Our Lady of the Lake family continues to grow. There are now more than 2,400 families requiring a need for another expansion of facilities. The Forward in Faith campaign was launched in 2013 after careful planning by the parish community. Improvements to classroom space, community gathering areas, office and storage space, and parking are currently in progress. These improvements are a priority because they meet the parish’s needs for religious education and facilitation for a growing population. According to the committee this plan addresses, “four key areas to meet our current and projected needs and create a space where everyone has the opportunity to worship, learn, serve, and thrive!” In all we believe it is safe to say, we are ever changing, evolving, and growing in size and spirit. We are so pleased that you are a part of us. Truly, we need one another, and we need YOU.
Our Lady of the Lake Expands and Celebrates its History
Our lady of the Lake Catholic Church (OLOL) celebrate the opening of its newly expanded facilities at a special dedication event on August 15, 2016. The Most Reverend David Choby, Bishop of the Diocese of Nashville, joined Rev. Eric Fowlkes, OLOL pastor, to preside over the celebration of Mass, ribbon cutting and blessing of the new facilities.
Mayor Scott Foster joined Bishop Choby and Fr. Fowlkes for the ribbon cutting ceremony held at the portico entrance of the new building expansion.
The $9 million expansion project added 35,000 square feet to OLOL’s church facilities, including 15 new classroom/ meeting rooms, a large multi-purpose room named St. Joseph Hall, and improved traffic flow/ parking on the church campus. The exterior profile of the space was designed to look similar in appearance to the existing church facilities.
Named in honor of the spouse of Blessed Mother Mary, The patron of OLOL, St. Joseph Hall is the largest meeting space in Sumner County. With 9,260 square feet space, it has capacity to accommodate banquet seating for more than 600 people. With its full-service commercial kitchen, it is the perfect venue for large parish events. St. Joseph Hall can also be rented for community and private functions, such as weddings, banquets, meetings, etc.
“Our Lady of the Lake is a vibrant and growing parish that is one of the largest in the Diocese of Nashville. These new facilities are essential to support the growing Catholic faith community in this area. I appreciate Fr. Eric Fowlkes and Associate Pastor Fr. Thomas Kalam for their pastoral leadership during this stage of rapid growth in this region of the Diocese,” Said Bishop Choby.
OLOL was officially established in 1969. The original parish with 250 families moved into its first parish home on New Shackle Island Road in 1972. For the next 20 years, the parish grew steadily and continuously along with the population of the city of Hendersonville. A thirty-one acre plot of land was purchased on Stop Thirty Road, and Our lady of the Lake built and dedicated its current church facility in 1999.
Since that time, the OLOL parish community has more than doubled in size from 1,000 families in 1999 to over 2,600 registered families today. The new facilities to accommodate OLOL’s growing faith family.
“Today is a historic day for Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church family.” said Fr. Fowlkes. “Today, we give praise and thanksgiving to God as we celebrate the completion of our new parish facilities, which will have a profound impact on our parish community for many years to come.”
“A parish is a place of encounter with Christ where his followers gather in his name to worship and find spiritual nourishment for our pilgrimage of faith. Our lady of the Lake is a welcoming and committed family of believers, centered in the Eucharist, who strive to authentically live as disciples of Our Lord.” Fr. Eric Fowlkes