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THE CHURCH HISTORY CONTINUES – THE HOLY SPIRIT IS ALIVE!

We have updated our church history site to reflect the growth and additions that have been added in our parish, Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church, since it was recorded in the Sesquicentennial 1866-2016 history book and on our web-site. Our church has been blessed and will forever be for us, and future generations, a special place where we encounter the mercy and love of God. 

CURRENT POPE
Our Holy Father, Pope Francis
266th Pope of the Catholic Church

Pope Francis — March 13, 2013- Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, of Buenos Aires, Argentina was elected the 266th pope of the Catholic Church on March 13, 2013. He took the name Pope Francis. While addressing the people in St. Peter's Square after his election, he said:

"And now let us begin this journey, the bishop and the people, this journey of the Church of Rome, which presides in charity over all the churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world trusting for a greater sense of brotherhood ."

 

BISHOP TAYLOR - DIOCESE OF LITTLE ROCK

A man with glasses and a beard wearing a black suit.

Bishop Anthony Basil Taylor was ordained and installed as the seventh bishop for the Diocese of Little Rock on June 5, 2008 at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock. He wore the episcopal ring of the diocese's first bishop, Andrew J. Byrne, and carried the Crozier of the fourth bishop, Albert L. Fletcher.  Bishop Taylor was ordained and installed as bishop for the Diocese of Little Rock on June 5, 2008. His episcopal motto is: "The Humble Shall Inherit the Earth."

PASTORS AND ASSOCIATES since 1973

  1. Father Joseph Enderlin- Pastor -July of 1973 to June 30, 1987
  2. Father George Turner, Pastor, July 9, 1987 to December 1995
  3. Father Henry Mischkowiuski, Pastor, December, 1995 to June of 2001
  4. Father Erik Pohlmeier, Pastor, June l, 2001 to July l, 2003 with

1a. Associate Pastor Father Johnson Peramangalath, from June l, 2003-May 2004 and
1b. Associate Pastor Father Theophilus Okpara, from July 1, 2003 to 2004 and
lc. Associate Pastor Father Matthew Garrison, from June 2004 to June 2005

5.Father Theophilus Okpara, Pastor, from June 2005 to July l, 2018 until end of June,

1d. Associate Pastor, Father Christopher Anabochi Okeke, from November 2003 to Nov 2006 and
1e. Associate Father Chigozirim Dominic Agbara, from December 2006 to October 2007

6. Monsignor Jack Harris, Pastor from July l, 2018 to July 24, 2018

7. Father Stephen Hart, Administrator from July 24, 2018 to Pastor June 12, 2019 - to May 29, 2023.

BISHOP ANNOUNCES NEW PASTORAL APPOINTMENTS – May 29, 2023

 

A man with a beard and mustache wearing a black suit.

Rev. Joseph Friend appointed pastoral administrator of Our Lady of the Lake Church in Lake Village, Holy Cross Church in Crossett and Holy Spirit Church in Hamburg. He is relieved of his responsibilities as associate pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Morrilton, St. Elizabeth Church in Oppelo, St. Joseph Church in Center Ridge and associate minister of Catholic campus ministry in Conway.

A man in black priest 's robe and white collar.

Rev. Stephen Hart appointed pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Morrilton and St. Elizabeth Church in Oppelo. He is relieved of his responsibilities as pastor of Our Lady of the Lake Church in Lake Village, Holy Cross Church in Crossett and Holy Spirit Church in Hamburg.

Father Hart, Ordination: May 27, 2017.  He became Administrator of Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church on July 24, 2018 and Pastor on June 12, 2019 – May 29, 2023.

Upon Father Stephen Hart’s arrival in the parish in the summer of 2018, he met with Debbie Vaughn, the Youth Ministry/Religious Education director to inquire about the programs being offered to members of the parish.

The parish had been given a discounted FORMED subscription through the Diocese of Little Rock which allowed us to offer bible studies developed by nationally known teachers. The website offers bible studies, movies, books, and information on the sacraments for all ages.

FAITH, FOOD, AND FELLOWSHIP IN OUR CHURCH COMMUNITY

 

Two mugs with a picture of a church and trees.

Fellowship Group - Coffee Time

In 2022, Father Stephen began asking Church attendees of the day meet each Friday after Mass around 8:30 a.m. for coffee, refreshments and fellowship in the parish hall until 9 a.m. All are welcome!
OLOL Church cups can be bought for $20.00 at parish office.

 

A group of people sitting at tables with food.

Monthly-Wide Parish Potluck:

 

Father Stephen initiated and has had great attendance by parishioners for a monthly potluck. Those attending are asked to bring a dish and enjoy great food and fellowship with others in the church who are involved in different ministries and those who attend different masses.

 

“MEN OF FAITH”: “As iron sharpens iron”

Proverbs 27:17 proclaims:  “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

A group of people sitting around tables in a room.

In 2022, Father Stephen started a men’s religious group to connect men in their faith journey, who in getting together with other men learn about their church doctrine on a deeper and more intimate level.

Up to 22 attendees of all ages, meet at 6:00 a.m. every Friday. One member is assigned each week to provide breakfast for the group.
This allows our younger men (18-54 years) to make a difference in their church life and in the community.

Father’s reasoning was simple; parish men need to set aside time, space and resources to become mature Christian men.

The group was created for getting a better understanding of the Eucharist, discussing topics with other men, and growing in their own faith. This program encourages them to become better men…better husbands... and better parishioners in leading by example.

His statement has been a calling card for many years to understand that no one is alone in order to make them better; there is a mutual benefit in making others better through mentorship, fellowship, and leading by example. This meeting is open to parishioners, as well, as non-parishioners.  ”Come for coffee, food and challenges!”

WOMEN OF FAITH” - Walking With Purpose: More than a Bible Study

Two women standing next to each other on a green porch.

Gina Borgognoni was appointed as the parish’s pastoral coordinator and Debbie Vaughn as the operational coordinator. By the fall of the year the program’s initial year was a huge success garnering 60 women participating in the program.

The women were split into small groups, either in person or virtually, and given a choice to meet in the morning or evening, to go through the program’s selection of Opening Your Heart. Opening Your Heart is a twenty-two sessions Bible study that integrates Scriptures’ within the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church to point us to principles that help us manage life’s pace and pressures while living with calm and steadiness.

This Bible study is designed for both discussions and interactive personal study. The studies are laid back where women feel open to discuss issues they are facing and offer them to God.

CORPUS CHRISTI PROCESSION, led by Father Stephen Hart

 

A group of people in white robes walking on a path.

The Corpus Christi procession and many of the other Eucharistic devotions seems to have begun in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Renewal of the Corpus Christi procession during Father Stephen’s tenure is one of the ways that we express our devotion to Christ.

The Corpus Christi procession, most often held on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, is a “public “witness of faith and worship” of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Holy Communion, and Worship of the Eucharist outside Mass.

It was founded upon the Church’s belief that Jesus becomes substantially present to us in the Eucharist at Mass.

RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS (RICA)

In 1974, the Rite for Christian Initiation for Adults was formally approved for use in the United States.  Prior to beginning the process of becoming a Catholic an individual comes to some knowledge of Jesus Christ, many by marrying a Catholic or visiting the church or just has a desire to learn more about the Catholic faith.

The Catholic Church has a special process to help you learn about the faith; it’s called the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. It’s a program that honors the faith journey of an individual’s entering the program. RCIA- it is not a commitment to joining the Roman Catholic Church but rather, a learning process through which persons may learn about the faith. This period is known as the Period of Evangelization and Precatechumenate. For some, this process involves a long period of searching; for others, a shorter time.

Two men sitting on a wall wearing robes and hats.

Deacons Tim Sampolesi and David French attended monthly classes in 2008, except July, until November 24, 2012, when they were ordained as deacons of the church in ceremonies conducted by Bishop Anthony Taylor of the diocese of Little Rock.

Deacon French served in the parish until he moved to Conway and currently serves as a deacon at St. Joseph’s Church at Conway. Deacon Tim is currently the coordinator of the RICA program. For more information about this program, do not hesitate to contact Deacon Tim.

HISPANIC FAITH GROWS 

In 1992, the first Hispanic child, Yonic Ramirez, was baptized at Our Lady of the Lake by Father Turner. The first Hispanic population had its beginnings in Lake Village and then surrounding areas of Hamburg and Crossett.

Hispanics are very devoted to their faith and brought many of their faith traditions, food and celebrations to this country. The most celebrated is the Quinceanera as outlined below this article. The Hispanic Ministry continued to flourish as others began to join the church. It was decided there was a need to have a Spanish Mass. In 2001, Erik Pohlmeier was made new pastor. He added a Spanish Sunday Mass at 5:00 p.m.

In June 2003 Father Theo served as associate pastor for one year,  In 2004, he was transferred to Rogers, Arkansas,  He returned  in  June 2005 and assumed pastorate to our church, as well as,  Holy Cross Church in Crossett, Holy Spirit Church in Hamburg, and St. Mary’s in McGehee. In 2007, he was relieved of the parish in McGehee. At that time, the Bishop sent nuns from the Missionary Carmelites to teach religion classes to the children and minister to parishioners of these churches.

Understanding a Hispanic Quinceanera Mass

A church with two people sitting in front of the altar.

Quinceañera, often called Quince is a celebration of a girl’s 15th birthday; it is a coming of age where a young girl renews her baptismal promises with a Mass to honor herself and her religion and is presented as a young lady. It is celebrated in Mexico, Latin America, and the Caribbean, as well as in Latino communities in the United States The Hispanic community is very devoted to this mass. A traditional celebration begins with a Mass, attended by the girl and her family and godparents.

The mass is followed by a reception, or party, to which friends and relatives are invited. It is a cultural ritual with a presentation before God and a promise to honor Him, and solidifies her belief to her faith. The young lady receives communion to the Virgin Mary, she gifts the Virgin Mary with a bouquet of flowers, and receives gifts that are blessed by the priest such a rosary, Bible, ring, a tiara or a necklace.

A collage of pictures with the names and photos.

The reception features food, music, and dancing, with the girl accompanied by her “court” of damas (“maids of honour”) and chambelánes (“chamberlains”). Traditionally, the dance portion of the quince includes a choreographed waltz-type dance that is prepared and is considered one of the main events of the evening. Toasts are often offered, and sometimes the cutting of a fancy cake is also involved.

THEN COVID HIT! – In the Spring of 2020

Father Hart began immediately to find ways to engage the parish in order that we could still have a connection to our Masses.

  • He began streaming Sunday Masses early in the year.
  • The children finished out the spring being sent materials through texts and the app REMIND.
  • He helped devise a plan where the children could return to the classrooms, being socially distanced, masked, and temperatures being taken upon arrival, just as the public schools were doing. He followed all CDC recommendations.

 

YOUNG ADULTS GROUP – DIRECTOR OF ADULT EDUCATION, DEBBIE VAUGHN 

In 2022, Father’s desire for another group’s formation, —was a young adult’s group.  Thirty young people between the ages of (21 and 30) were invited to a supper hosted by Father Stephen and Debbie Vaughn to discuss how best they could help them begin a group specifically for their age.

Suggestions were offered by all parties, visits were scheduled to other parishes in the Little Rock area to see how best to form their group. The group is still meeting monthly, enjoying getting to know each other as well as watching movies and eating together.

His main desire was to increase knowledge of their faith, and find ways to learn about ways how to evangelize in their parish, as well as answer their own call to holiness that comes from their baptism and to put that knowledge to the service to our Lord.

Parishioners meet throughout the year and are taught programs about growing in their faith journey, about where they are, and where they want to be. If you are curious or want to know more about the programs offered by our church, call the parish office and ask to speak with Debbie Vaughn, Director of Adult Faith Formation.  She will gladly be able to help in any way you need.

DIRECTOR OF CHILDREN’S RELIGIOUS EDUCATION, Elisabed Salinas

The Our Lady of the Lady Children’s Religious Education Program helps the Parish youth with formation as they grow in their Catholic Faith.  Children begin the program with the First Communion classes, beginning in the first grade and ending with the Ceremonies of First Reconciliation (Confession) and First Communion.  At this point, they begin taking the Eucharist at Mass.

Classes continue through the 6th grade using the Blest Are We curriculum and in the 7th or 8th grade, students start going to Confirmation classes in preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation.  The Confirmation class is a two-year program that uses the Decision Point curriculum to help the youth understand their role and relationship with God as they continue to grow in their faith.

After the Sacrament of Confirmation, students continue their growth through Parish Religious Education classes as they grow and finish school. Parents and volunteers are always welcome to help teach classes and show our youth that we share the same faith and that their growth is important to use.

Our Lady of the Lake Youth Instructors 2022-2023:

Mrs. Debbie Vaughn - First Communion Year 1
Mrs. Dallas Sims - First Communion Year 2
Mrs. Brandi Skidmore - Grades 3 & 4
Mrs. Anne Hicks - Grades 5 & 6
Ms. Elisabed Salinas - Confirmation
Mrs. Andrea Hill - Post Confirmation Parish Religious Education

A stained glass picture of a hand holding a palm tree.

Current Sacristans of Our Lady of the Lake Church

Father Stephen assigned Rosemary Reginelli and Tom Aycock as Sacristans who do the multiple duties ( too numerous to mention) of preparing for and assisting at Mass each day along with keeping everything within the sanctuary in proper and perfect order and beautifully appointed. Their duties continue after Mass to see that all is left in perfection to begin again for the forthcoming Masses.

RESTORATION OF OUR LADY OF THE LAKE CHURCH

Father Stephen Hart contracted Harness Construction of Harness Roofing of Harrison, Arkansas for the exterior work in 2022. They meticulously sawed, removed and tuck-pointed back all brick mortar joints, water blast cleaned the exterior, cut out and caulked all window perimeters, coated all precast stone with textured acrylic coating and sealed all brick with water repellent

A church altar with flowers and candles on it.

The second week of January, 2023 until the first week of March, daily and Sunday Masses were held in Our Lady of the Lake Parish Hall during church renovations and restoration of the interior.

Father had the work done by Oaks Brothers of Greenbrier, Arkansas. The crew added, sanded and reinforced  plaster on all crumbling and peeling walls painted and matched to original colors of  the designs within  the body and Sanctuary of the church.

BEAUTIFUL RESTORATION OF OUR LADY OF THE LAKE – 2023

A church with a large cross on the wall
A row of pews in front of stained glass windows.

YOUNG ADULTS GROUP – DIRECTOR OF ADULT EDUCATION:

From the Desk of Debbie Vaughn
Learning and Reciting the most Holy Rosary

"I was excited to be able to bring back the "cupcake rosary" last night during Religious Education classes for the children. I had created one of these about ten years ago for May crowning in the month of May. But the majority of these children were not here then so Elisabed Salinas, Director of Children's Ministry, and I wanted the children to pray a rosary in October but with a twist.

We had the High School students lead the rosary and each child in the PRE program stepped forward at their assigned time to turn on their light as their bead was recited. All went well! They loved their cupcake and maybe they grew in their love for the rosary! Thanks to Elisabed Salinas and Charlene Armstrong for helping me bake those cupcakes!"

THE HOLY Rosary
THE HOLY Rosary
2

2023-2028 DIOCESE DIACONATE PROGRAM

Bishop Anthony B. Taylor recently accepted aspirants for the Diocese of Little Rock. Ross and Dallas Sims were among the couples chosen for this program, after psychological evaluations, recommendations from their pastor, parishioners, and coworkers, background checks, and interviews with the diaconate formation team in Little Rock. We offer our prayers and praise needed to complete this program.

The current diaconate formation class includes 63 men from around the diocese. The men and their wives will meet monthly at St. John Center in Little Rock for weekend classes. The classes will be held 11 times a year through May 2028. Their ordination will be held in June 2028. The English-language program will be led by instructors from St. Meinrad School of Theology in Indiana.

Deacons are ordained as a sacramental sign to the Church and to the world of Christ, who came "to serve and not to be served." The entire Church is called by Christ to serve, and the deacon, in virtue of his sacramental ordination and through his various ministries, is to be a servant in a servant-Church. Our Lady of the Lake is honored to have Ross and Dallas Sims make this commitment to join the Diaconate program.