We draw great inspiration from our connection to the original sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, located in Lourdes, France, where millions of pilgrims from around the world have sought acceptance and healing. Just as with Our Lady’s mission in Lourdes, we endeavor to be a haven of hope, understanding and healing, sharing these gifts with all our neighbors, turning no one away. Our stained glass replica of the Grotto where the Marian vision appeared to St. Bernadette is a special place for silent prayer and contemplation. Our parish history stands as a testament to the fact that great challenges can be conquered when working together in hope and faith.
This is a brief outline of the history of the parish. If you are interested you can read more by looking at the published booklet of the Parish.
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Prior to 1940 there was no Catholic School or Church in west Toowoomba. The building of this school was an unrealised dream of Bishop Byrne and the new school would be called 'Our Lady of Lourdes', because the late Bishop Byrne died on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, 11th February. Through the generosity of parishioners a third of the cost of the school was covered by the time it was opened on 11 February 1940. The Parish of Toowoomba West was established on 15 July 1951. Mass continued in the school until the opening of the new Church, the foundation stone of which was laid on 25 November 1951.
The hard work, generosity, and willingness to 'pitch in' of the parishioners was largely responsible for helping to raise the £10,000 needed to build the church. When the church was finished it would hold 400 people. The church, facing Holberton Street, was blessed and opened on 17 August 1952, by Bishop Roper.
There have been many parish priests since the first, Father McMorrow, but the present church in Goodwood Street was built under the auspices of Father Frank Burke, Parish Priest from 1980 to 1997. Father Burke had marvelous business acumen and had a reputation and talent for building. The new church in Goodwood Street, Our Lady of Lourdes, was opened debt free, largely due to Father Burke's financial expertise and the support of the parishoners. The Church was officially opened and blessed by Bishop Edward Kelly on 13 February 1989 at a special 5.30pm Mass.
The special stained glass inset window designed and crafted by Classic Stained Glass was a gift from the Parishioners of Our Lady of Lourdes. The church pews we use today are from the old timber Church and were painstakingly restored to their current condition by a group of volunteer men from the Parish who worked very hard, over many days and nights for a period of approximately four months.
The Church was designed so that the entire congregation can be close to the altar and have a good view from wherever they may be seated. Goodwood Street was chosen rather than Holberton Street for the new Church because of heavy traffic conditions in Holberton Street. We, the present congregation, have the privilege of enjoying our proximity to the celebration of Mass and the surroundings are peaceful and quiet. The stained glass window is in a chapel, that is set aside for quiet prayer and reflection.
In 2011-2012 further structural alterations were made to the Church. These are in line with the original vision of Father Burke, and principally involved the re-positioning of the baptismal font.
The addition of multi-media stations and screens has brought the Church into the 21st century; and the old organ was replaced with a new one, which the musicians appreciate.