Our Lady of the Lake’s vision is to equip all parishioners to follow Jesus Christ by emulating the perfect discipleship of the Blessed Virgin Mary, celebrating the liturgy prayerfully, receiving compassionate care, connecting with the parish community, living according to the Gospel mission, and sharing the Catholic faith in Holland, on the Lakeshore, and to the ends of the earth.
Individually and as a parish we are called to:
Our staff and programs are organized into five ministry departments:
Get to Know Our Parish
A Welcome Message from Our Pastor
Wherever you are on your journey of faith, I invite you to walk with our Lord and our Lady as a member of our parish community.
Jesus has given all of us a mission: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20a). Under the patronage of our Lady and in union with all of Christ’s disciples throughout time and space, parishioners at OLL strive to carry out this mission of making disciples. Our parish has five ministry departments designed to equip all parishioners to live Christ’s mission:
- Community Life: God is a perfect communion of three Divine Persons, and we are all created in God’s image, so we all need community. At OLL, we see our local parish as our primary community within the universal Church. We seek meaningful connections with our fellow parishioners through guilds and social groups, parish events, communal prayer, and parish communications.
- Discipleship: Our goal is to emulate the perfect discipleship of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We do this through a culture of lifelong learning that empowers parents, families, and individuals to live their call to holiness and intimacy with the Holy Trinity. Adults have opportunities for ongoing formation through the Lakeshore Academy for the New Evangelization (LANE), and we offer a variety of Discipleship Classes for children and youth to assist parents in teaching the Catholic faith and to prepare our young people to receive the sacraments.
- Parish Care: Each of us has a joyful obligation to love our fellow parishioners, especially those on the margins. Through visitation ministry, our parish nursing program, recovery ministries, funerals, support groups, and more, the people of our parish care for each other’s minds, bodies, and souls. Whether you are able to care for others or are currently in need of care yourself, there is a place for you in our compassionate community.
- Mission: We are also called to love and serve our neighbors who are not members of our parish, particularly the poor and vulnerable. At OLL, we perform the corporal works of mercy through partnerships with local charitable organizations, including the St. Vincent de Paul Center, Holland Rescue Mission, and City on a Hill. We also have a relationship with our sister parish in Haiti, and parishioners participate in diocesan programs such as prison and jail ministry.
- Worship: At OLL, we endeavor to celebrate the liturgy with reverence, faithfulness, beauty, and joy. Many parishioners serve as liturgical ministers, sing in our choir, or play musical instruments during the liturgy, and we are all called to actively participate in the holy sacrifice of the Mass. We recognize that the Eucharist is the source of our communion with Christ and with each other, as well as the place from which we are sent on mission: “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord!”
Corpus Christi Catholic School is also an important part of our parish’s mission. Our parish school authentically educates children in and through the Catholic faith in an environment centered on the Word of God, the sacraments, and the teachings of the Church. Students discover truth, goodness, and beauty in all fields of study in an academically rigorous and culturally diverse learning community. Whether you have school-age children or can support our school with your time, talent, and treasure, please consider getting involved!
When he gave us our mission, Jesus also made his people a promise: “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20b). As we come together at our parish and then go out into the world, we know that our Lord is always with us in the members of his Body, in the poor, in the sacraments, and most especially in the Eucharist. Through Christ’s presence and our Lady’s intercession, we receive the grace to grow in holiness, to seek the lost, and to build God’s kingdom.
Once again, I offer a warm welcome to all who worship at our parish, and I invite you to join us on mission. I encourage all Catholics, all those who wish to return to the Catholic faith, and all those who are curious about Christ and his Church to come and see the goodness of the Lord!
In Christ’s peace,
A Tour of OLL
On April 1, 1979, it was announced during Masses at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Holland that Bishop Joseph Breitenbeck had decided that a new parish would be developed on the north side of Lake Macatawa. By May 6, land at the corner of 152nd Avenue and James Street had been acquired. Fr. Denis Nash was named as pastor and at a meeting on July 31, parishioners were given tasks to get the parish started. On September 1, 1979, the first Mass was held on the site.
Parishioners were given the opportunity to submit potential names for the church. Our Lady of the Lake received the most votes, beating out St. Brendan, St. Michael, St. Ann, and St. Nicholas. By the end of September 1979 we were officially “Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church.” For the next three years, Mass and parish programs were held at Waukazoo Elementary School on Lakewood Boulevard. Each Sunday morning, dedicated parishioners set up an altar, ambo, sound system, banners, and chairs, which then had to be taken down after the 11 a.m. Mass. Catechists carried materials to and from the school in plastic tubs and cartons.
A building committee was soon created so our growing family could have a home of its own. DeBrincat Architecture was selected after refining designs that would allow the church building to grow as its membership increased. Ground was broken for the new church on November 15, 1981, just two years from the date the parish was formed. Pioneer Construction completed the church building on schedule and under budget in less than one year. The original church cost was $1,350,000, including all furnishings and initial supplies. Due to the generous nature of our parishioners and benefactors, close to one million dollars were paid in cash, leaving the parish with a nominal mortgage.
The cornerstone was laid on August 15, 1982, and on October 31 it was time to move to the new church facility. Following the final Liturgy of the Word at the school, a procession of over 900 parishioners followed the cross bearer and the baldaquin from Waukazoo School to the new church to celebrate Mass for the first time. St. Francis School provided a bus for those who could not make the walk. The original church could seat 685 people, with 540 in the main body of the church, 75 in the attached chapel, and 30 in the cry room. The hall was used for religious education and had six classrooms. The dedication Mass was held on March 6, 1983.
In June of 1986, Fr. Nash was appointed pastor of St. Dominic’s in Wyoming and Fr. Richard Lawie was appointed to replace him. By this time, the church had grown to approximately 500 families and was beginning to feel the growth. In 1989, a report was made to the community about the growth of the Holland area and its impact on our church facilities. A report was sent to the Diocesan Planning Task Force for their consideration. Before any decisions had been made at the diocesan level, Fr. Lawie was transferred in May of 1993 and was replaced by Fr. Bill Duncan. With new pastors at both Our Lady of the Lake and St. Francis de Sales, a new initiative to address the needs of the Catholic community in the Holland/Zeeland area began. “Mission and Ministry 2000” was comprised of many teams researching demographics, educational needs, family and faith formation, finances, and facilities.
During this time, St. Francis suffered a devastating fire that required a new facility to be built on the site of their old church. Our Lady of the Lake was given permission to pursue expansion to accommodate the growing church population, and the desire to provide a new education facility for the Holland/Zeeland Catholic community was approved in concept. St. Francis began their new facility almost immediately and Our Lady of the Lake once again conducted a building campaign. GMB Architects of Holland was selected to design and engineer the remodeled facility.
The renovation began in May of 1997 with the expansion of Fr. Nash Hall so Masses could continue during the expansion of the church to accommodate almost 1,300 worshipers. Some of the original stained glass windows, designed by Richard Handley, were reused, as were the original pews from Kawkalin Church Furniture. An original stained glass window, designed by Mary Porter of the parish, was placed near the library. The statue of the Risen Christ that had been donated in memory of Ken Decker, one of the founding members of the parish, was once again placed over the baptismal font, and the statue of the Holy Family was moved to Fr. Nash Hall. A beautiful new chapel seating approximately 100 was added, incorporating wood from the original church. The original tabernacle was moved to the new chapel, as was most of the original church’s altar furnishings. The Blessed Sacrament chapel was dedicated on March 18, 1999.
A dedicated group of parishioners made it their mission to accelerate the building of a learning facility, and as a result, Corpus Christi Catholic School opened its doors in September of 1999, a year ahead of schedule. It is located at the corner of Quincy Street and 120th Avenue and is home to preschoolers, K-8 students, and teachers and support personnel.
In May of 2001, Fr. Duncan was chosen to pursue studies in canon law in Washington, D.C., and Fr. Phil Nguyen returned to the diocese after serving as a chaplain in the U.S. Air Force for eight years to become pastor of Our Lady of the Lake. In 2009, Fr. Charlie Hall was assigned to replace Fr. Phil Nguyen. Then in 2016, Fr. Michael Cilibraise was assigned as the new pastor.
Fr. Mike and other parish leaders initiated a strategic planning process for Our Lady of the Lake that resulted in an exciting vision for our parish’s future based on the Great Commission, Christ’s words at his Ascension, and the Nicene Creed. We also reorganized the parish’s staff and programming into five departments that represent critical elements of this vision: Community Life, Discipleship, Parish Care, Mission, and Worship. As we go forward under the leadership of Fr. Michael Burt, our pastor as of July 2021, we will be guided by our vision and strive to live more fully in the light of Christ in the context of our parish community.