OUR LADY OF LOURDES CHURCH
The Catholic group in New London was established in 1853. The first pastor, the late father, Michael Healy, traveled from Elyria to New London to serve the spiritual needs of the Catholic group here and also in Greenwich. The parish purchased a home on High Street and converted it into a chapel around 1856. They called it St. Mary's Church. In 1861 the property for the parish cemetery was purchased. The first church was built on James Street in 1896 during Father J.J. Powers term as pastor.
The present church on Park Avenue is the former Congregational Church built in 1886 and was purchased in 1936 during the pastorate of Father Francis Fate. Two early pastors went on to serve as Bishops. The late Father Thomas O'Reilly served from 1908 to 1910 and later became Bishop of Scranton, Pennsylvania. The late Father Edward Mooney served from 1910 to 1911 and later was named Cardinal Archbishop of Detroit, Michigan.
Five sisters of Notre Dame also entered the religious life from Our Lady of Lourdes. They were: Sister M. Lauren, Dorsey; Sister M. Magdelida, Dorsey; Sister M. Alioys, Loyer; Sister M. Maris, Geiger; and Sister M. MaIden, Watts. The first resident pastor was Father Raymond Atkins in 1932.
The Parish entered a colorful period in 1947 when Father John Duffy, a disabled Army Chaplin, who served with General McArthur in World War Two, was named pastor. Father Duffy had been in the infamous Bataan Death March and was wounded five times while a prisoner of the Japanese. Father Duffy supervised extensive renovation and building projects in the Parish. The brick facing was covered with Permastone which makes it one of the most attractive buildings in town. New stained windows were installed. Within, two side alters have been erected and the sanctuary was enlarged. A wrought iron Communion rail was installed. Asphalt tile was placed in the aisles, choir and vestibule. The woodwork was replaced and a new confessional and baptismal font added. Father Duffy was the first whole time pastor at the church.
Some of the early pastors were Fathers Sidley, Hyland, Horst and Powers. Father Andrew Blasko came in July of 1977. He succeeded Father John Sherbno now on the Lake Erie Islands. Father Screibner followed Blasko and the present Pastor is Father Robert L. Haas.
The Church has over 700 parishioners from New London and nearby communities of Olena, Nova, Clarksfield, Collins, Fitchville and Ruggles.
V.K. Neel from Foskett's History of New London