We are a Roman Catholic parish in the Diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri. Our membership is made up of people from all walks of life. We offer many opportunities for worship, education and fellowship.
For adults, we offer various small group studies on topics important to our faith journey, as well as multiple bible studies and presentations on different aspects of our faith. We invite adults to consider serving in various ministries such as Liturgical, Social Concerns, and Christian Education, as well as becoming active in an array of volunteer opportunities.
We have a Catholic grade school on site for grades K through 8th. Fr. Tolton Catholic High School, in south Columbia, offers grades 9 through 12. For those not in Catholic school, we offer Religious Education Classes for Pre-School through 6th grade, and youth group for junior high & high school students. Students in 4th grade and beyond are invited to train as altar servers. Our Confirmation program is for high school Sophomores, Juniors, or Seniors.
We also gather for fun & fellowship several times a year with our annual Lenten soup suppers, Summerfest, Oktoberfest, and more. Our vibrant parish community offers many opportunities to build the Kingdom of God through work, play and worship.
Please explore our website; you’ll find information on almost every aspect of our parish. If you have any questions please call the office at 445-7915.
Our Lady of Lourdes Parish may be said to have grown of a second birth of Catholicism in Columbia that took place after World War II. Mass was said here as early as 1831 by priests who came from Salt River in Ralls County and from the neighboring towns of Boonville, Glasgow and Mexico. Sacred Heart was the first permanent parish in Columbia, established in 1881. It served the needs of the Catholic community until the mid 1950’s. In early 1956, Archbishop Joseph E. Ritter of St. Louis (later Joseph Cardinal Ritter) approved the purchase of the site chosen for the new parish – a 30 acre cornfield bordering on what was then Conley Lane and Worley Street. Before the purchase could be finalized, however, a change occured. A new diocese – the Diocese of Jefferson City – came into existence due to a realignment of the dioceses of the state of Missouri. So, when the sale took place, it became part of the brand new Diocese of Jefferson City.
Originally, the parish site included all the property from Worley Street to the current intersection of Stadium Boulevard and Bernadette Drive. The long range plans included a Catholic high school along with a small stadium. Bishop Joseph Marling, the first bishop of the new diocese, asked Father Raymond Weis to oversee the construction and establishment of the new parish. Fr. Weis blessed the ground on August 15, 1957, the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The parish was named Our Lady of Lourdes to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Mary’s appearance to Bernadette Soubirous in Lourdes, France. The new church was dedicated on October 19, 1958.
A grade school was established in 1960 but financial difficulties forced Our Lady of Lourdes to sell some of its property and abandon its plans for a high school. In 1969, 13 acres were sold to K-Mart (currently occupied by the Hobby Lobby, Best Buy, etc.) and in 1974, 3.7 acres were sold to State Farm Insurance for a parking lot (State Farm used to sit on the property now occupied by Taco Bell, Marshall’s, etc.).
In 1971, Fr. Weis was succeeded by Msgr. John Flood. Under his leadership, the parish council was established and the sanctuary was completely remodeled. In 1977, Fr. Henry Reichert became the third pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes. In 1983, overcrowding in both the church and school was evident. A new wing was added to the church and additional classrooms and a gymnasium were added to the school. They were dedicated on February 12, 1984.
In 1984, Bishop McAuliffe announced that the Benedictine Monks of St. Pius X Abbey of Pevely (Missouri) had agreed to come to the Diocese of Jefferson City and they relocated their monastery to Our Lady of Lourdes. The transition took place on July 1. In order to accommodate the monks, extensive renovation of the former convent, rectory and sanctuary were necessary. Some of the monks that served as pastor during their 6 year tenure were: Abbot Edwin Cole, Fr. Lucien Bianchi, and Fr. Thomas Kraus.
In 1990, the monks withdrew from the parish and Fr. Richard Cronin was named pastor. Due to health concerns, Fr. Cronin resigned in December of 1990. He was succeeded by Msgr. Michael Flanagan who served as pastor for 25 years and remains as Senior Associate. Fr. Chris Cordes became pastor in July, 2015.
Our Lady of Lourdes and Columbia Catholic School reached its capacity in the mid-1990’s. The Parish Council held weekly meetings to discern what path our parish should follow. Should we move the parish and the school to another part of town where we could grow and possibly add a high school? Should we stay where we are and build on to the church and school? Should we stay where we are and ask the Diocese to establish a new parish in southern Columbia? In the end, the Parish Council chose to build on the current property. In 1996, a fundraising campaign was begun and in 1998, groundbreaking took place on the new Church, eight additional classrooms for the school and a school cafeteria expansion. On October 17, 1999, Bishop John R. Gaydos dedicated the new sanctuary that would hold 800 people. Today Our Lady of Lourdes Interparish School (previously called Columbia Catholic) educates over 600 students in Kindergarten through 8th grade.
In addition, we have been blessed to be served by Permanent Deacons. Deacon Fred Fritsch, now retired but still very active, was ordained in 1984. He works with the nursing home ministry in Columbia. Deacon Joseph Puglis was ordained in 2004 and teaches our monthly baptism class as well as being involved in the Religious Education and Youth Programs. Deacon Jim Leyden was ordained in 2007. He has been a CCD teacher for a number of years and works with the altar servers in the parish. Deacon Tom Miller joined us from the Diocese of Biloxi (Mississippi) in 2007. He currently works with the St. Vincent de Paul Conference and is very active with the Knights of Columbus and Fix It Crew.
We thank you or invite you to be a part of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic community. Our parish staff strives to fill the needs of our parishioners. We encourage you to be active. We have many ministries and opportunities in which to become involved. If there is a need that you believe is not being met, we encourage to contact one of our staff members pictured on the following pages; don’t be shy. It is only through the many part of the body of Christ that we succeed in our mission to proclaim the word of God through teaching, preaching and living. We are called to be a community, not a group of individuals. With our Father’s guidance and wisdom, we pray that we will come together to serve His will and the greater good of our parish and the world.