In 1882, Father Anton Hynek purchased property for a new parish in “Little Bohemia” at the corner of Hamm Avenue and Randolph Street. The first pastor was Father Stephen Furdek. In April, 1883, Our Lady of Lourdes parish celebrated the dedication of its church and the opening of its school administered by the Sisters of Notre Dame. A large number of new immigrants settled in the area, leading the community to break ground for a new church in the spring of 1891, dedicated in 1893 and completed in 1902 at the cost of $65,000.00.
The Church building was designed by architects Emile Uhlrich and J. Vandervelde. The brick structure trimmed in stone contains details typical of the Victorian Gothic style, such as the tripartite entrance with double points, large rose window and wall buttresses. More unique features include the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes above the rose window, the oculus windows on the south tower, and the clock beneath the steeple on the north tower.
In 1915, the large stained glass windows were purchased from a firm inMunich, Germany. Because of the disruption caused by World War I their delivery was delayed until 1920. In 1916, the parish obtained its new pipe organ and electric lighting was installed. In 1961, the replica of the Lourdesshrine in France on the northeast corner of the church.
A sixteen-room school was erected in 1906. Ninth grade classes were added in 1939. In the spring of 1948, the parish honored the first graduating class of Our Lady of Lourdes High School. The high school was merged into the multi-campus Cleveland Central Catholic High School in 1961.
Due to the demographic changes in the area and the resultant dwindling parish census, the high school campus was closed in the mid 1980s. In 1995, the parish grade school was closed. Today the school building is leased toCharter School Hope Academy. The parish still enjoys use of the facility for activities.
In 1977, the community welcomed its first permanent deacon, Reverend Doctor Joseph Skrha. After a long and dedicated medical career and service to the Diocese and the parish, he was buried from the parish in October, 2009.
The former convent is administered by the lay ecclesial retreat movement John XXIII. The movement is part of the Hispanic Ministry outreach in the Diocese and the parish.
The year 2008 was the 150th anniversary of the apparition of Mary to St. Bernadette in Lourdes, France. The parish joined Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine in Euclid and St. Bernadette parish in Westlake for a series of celebrations at the three sites to mark the anniversary.
With much solemnity the parish celebrated its 125th anniversary in April of 2009.
In 2005, Mrs. Diana Lipfird and Deacon Miguel Figueroa were assigned as Co-Parish Life Coordinators. For five years, different priests from the Diocese assisted as Presbyteral Moderators and Sacramental Ministers.
As part of the Vibrant Parish Life initiative and subsequent clustering process of the Diocese of Cleveland it was discerned to maintain the parish open in 2009. In July of that year, full time pastor Fr. Joseph Callahan was named. Many people from recently closed parishes St. Procop, St. Hyacinth and St. Francis are finding a home here at Our Lady of Lourdes. Their presence and participation are making the parish even more vibrant and viable.
Generations of people identify roots at Our Lady of Parish, School and High School. Many return for Sunday masses and special celebrations. There is an active School Alumni Association and a network of Friends of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish is being established.
Today the parish is a multicultural community. Weekend masses are celebrated in English and in Spanish. All are welcome to worship and join this now growing community in historic Slavic Village!