1742-1808: Jesuit Missionaries visited New Holland as a mission station in central Pennsylvania and said regular Masses in private homes. The Mission House was based at St. Mary’s in Lancaster.
1914: Two Redemptorist missionaries purchased a farm in Ephrata as a mission house for their work in the Diocese of Harrisburg, to all of PA and neighboring states. Father William White, C.SS.R. came to Ephrata as a parish priest.
March 25, 1916: Fr. White purchased a harness and a buggy in New Holland to be used for parish visitation.
May 20, 1919: Fr. White negotiated to rent the former Town Council Chamber on Main Street in New Holland for $7/month. As of July, 1919, Masses were celebrated on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of every month at 10:00 AM.
1920: Fr. Lawrence Jung, C.SS.R. was assigned here and the chapel was moved to the 3rd floor (formerly the Legion Hall) and dedicated to St. Theresa, the Little Flower. Mass was offered every Sunday and every Holy Day until 1940. Industrial growth around the New Holland area caused an influx of Catholics and the need for a new church.
July 16, 1940: Ground was broken on the corner of Custer and Conestoga Streets for a chapel with seating for 90 people, designed by Reading architect, Cleveland Freeman, to be built on land donated by the Lewis Storb family. The first Mass was celebrated on Christmas Day in 1940. On April20, 1941, the new chapel was dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes with Fr. Jung in charge of the New Holland Mission where he stayed until 1945.
1968-1975: Fr. John Krimm took over and summer attendance increased so much that the 11:00 AM Mass was held in the Ritz Theater starting in May, 1970.
1970: Fr. Krimm and his Building Committee visited Bishop Daley to discuss the direction of parish growth. The Bishop selected the 8 acres of farmland that would become the site of our new church. Construction began in 1971 and our present church was completed by September 2, 1972. 800 souls were members. 1975-1978-Fr. Bober was assigned as Pastor.
January 5, 1977: Our Lady of Lourdes became an independent parish and was no longer considered a mission.
1978-1987: Fr. John Travers became our new pastor and worked to relieve our parish debt and make great improvements to our office operations and rectory. Fr. John Creaven joined us as an assistant and our parish grew to 460 families with a total of 1350 souls.
July, 1990-1999: Fr. Patrick McGarrity was assigned here as pastor with Fr. Creaven continuing to assist. We were his first parish after years of teaching and forming Redemptorist Seminarians and were blessed by his teachings. Under Fr. Pat’s leadership, our liturgies were enhanced; new rubrics were put in place; ministries multiplied and grew; mission statements were defined; New Evangelization was introduced; and our Sanctuary was painted and got new stained glass windows, etched windows, and new murals. Fr. Pat noted our need of a larger social hall to accommodate growing ministries and parish activities for more than 700 parish families and began plans for a building project.
July, 1999 – 2012: Fr. John Schmalhofer became the first Diocesan priest assigned as Pastor. One of his first tasks was to address the pressing need of a parish center. Bishop Kevin Rhoades approved our Building Project and blessed our Capital Campaign Kick-off in 2008. Construction of the Parish Center was completed in September, 2010 and was dedicated by Bishop Joseph P. McFadden on September 26, 2010.
June, 2012-2014: Fr. Pang J.S. Tcheou made improvements to our Sanctuary, Rectory, and Pastor’s Office and made plans for our new lighting and sound systems. Under his leadership, many beautiful items were added to our liturgical celebrations, our music ministry was enhanced by the addition of cantors, and we were blessed by his teaching and artistic productions.
June, 2014- 2019: Fr. Walter Guzmán blessed us with his prayerful gentleness and his compassionate and reverent spirit. Under his leadership, our office computers and phone systems were updated, our sound system was improved and our parish’s first permanent deacon, Deacon Dan Waloski, was installed. Fr. Walter encouraged Eucharistic Adoration after daily Masses and instituted the Prayer of St. Michael the Archangel at the end of Mass. He oversaw the payoff of our 20-year parish center loan in less than 8 years.
June, 2019 – Present: Fr. Steven Fauser is blessing our parish with his prayerful and dedicated leadership. Since his arrival, our parish parking lot, grounds and rectory house have received maintenance and repair, and our parish center water heater has been replaced. Fr. Steve’s deep devotion and love of our Lord is guiding our parish to a closer relationship with God. We joyfully continue on our pilgrim journey with Fr. Steve.