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History of Our Lady of Lourdes


On September 14, 1947, Bishop Walter Foery, recognizing the need for service to a growing Catholic presence in the Elmwood/Valley area of the City of Syracuse, announced the formation of a new parish to be known as Our Lady of Lourdes, Syracuse. The territory for the new parish was to be formed from sections of St. Anthony’s, Most Holy Rosary, and St. James parishes. The new parish church and buildings were to be erected on land that was purchased on Valley Drive and West Newell Street. The founding pastor would be Fr. Martin Watley.

Under the exceptional guidance of soon to become Msgr. Watley, over the next twenty eight years,the parish was to erect a temporary Church, a School to eventually educate and graduate more than 4,000 children, a convent for the Sisters of St. Francis, a rectory and, in 1969, a permanent Church.

At the passing of Msgr. Watley in August 1975, the succession of extraordinary pastors was to continue. Msgr. Thomas Costello assumed the pastorate and would serve until 1978 when he was elevated to Auxiliary Bishop. He was then replaced by Fr. Ted Sizing, a native son of the parish. He would serve until he was called to minister in the Maryknoll Missions in Central America in June 1983.

At this time, Fr. Fred Mannara was appointed as pastor and served until July of 1995. During Fr. Mannara’s tenure, the now-famous statue of Our Lady of Lourdes was erected atop the church to watch over the Valley for many years.

After Fr. Mannara’s transfer, Fr. Thomas Fitzpatrick was appointed pastor and served for 22 years, retiring on June 30, 2017.

Fr. Christopher Ballard was selected to be the next Pastor, to serve from July 1, 2017 to the final closing of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish.

Our Lady of Lourdes Parish had, for 70 years, been a dependable, valuable asset and anchor in the Elmwood/Valley area of the city. As the demographics of the Pastoral Care Area changed, so changed the need and purpose for the parish as geographically situated

Having fulfilled its original needs for service to a burgeoning, growing population in the Valley area, it now was time to reconstruct the mission of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish and combine with St. James to facilitate the needs of the Church in a different manner. The Parish of Our Lady of Lourdes became inactive after the final Mass on October 7, 2017 and was to be officially closed after the final disposition of all parish assets.

Mission accomplished. Job well done.


Our Lady of Hope

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