By BARBARA VAUDREUIL
GREENWOOD — A fine Labor Day afternoon brought out over 500 members of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish for blessing of the church’s new property.
The ground blessing was followed by a Texas barbecue, complete with 150 pounds of beef brisket flown in from that state over the weekend.
During the ground blessing ceremony, Father Hayden J. Vaverek, pastor, told the assembled parish members, “The work we begin here today is for the glory of God and by his abundant grace it will be brought to completion.”
In mid-August, the parish bought a 21-acre site on Mathis Road, just south of S.C. Highway 72, to build a new church, a parish center and eventually a school. This was the result of the parish’s visioning process and a subsequent year-long study by the OLOL Building Council. The Council determined that the church’s current location on East Laurel Avenue could not satisfy future growth requirements of the parish.
They recommended to the parish at a Town Hall meeting in May that a new site be found that could accommodate the parish’s needs well into the next century. The parish has grown to over 600 families, doubling in size every 12 to 15 years. The current church building, dedicated in 1978, seats 208.
The parish hall, built as a multi-purpose church/hall in 1963, accommodates about half that many seated at tables for dinners or other social events.
The Texas barbecue has become an annual parish event since 1995 when Father Vaverek, who is from San Marcos, Texas, became pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes. This year it was held next door at the Cedarbrooke subdivision.