Our Lady of the Lake
201 East Lakeshore Drive
Located in Ashland and Bayfield counties
Year established: 1873
Number of households: 1,100
Pastor: Franciscan Fr. Paul Paré
Associate pastor: Fr. Joseph Kumar Mayakuntla
Deacons: Bill Holzhaeuser, John Grek, Owen Gorman,
Weekend Masses: Saturday: 6 p.m.; Sunday: 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Describe your faith community
Our Lady of the Lake, with 137 years of being ministered to by Franciscan Friars, is one of the oldest parishes in the Superior Diocese. Our congregation, like many, is aging, but with our pre-K through 8th grade elementary school, we continue to engage with and attract young families. From our beginnings in the mid 1800’s, the St. Louis Franciscan Friars have served this parish in mission outreach to northern Wisconsin. We have approximately 1,100 families who call Our Lady “home,” many of whom have longstanding membership with our parish for four or more generations.
“When visitors come to our parish they will …
… be amazed with our church building’s 1887 neo-gothic architecture and beautiful 100-plus year-old stained glass windows depicting the nine ranks of angels, as well as the carved statues of saints and the Holy Family. Franciscan Friar Adrian Wewer designed and built our church building using locally quarried brownstone from the Apostle Islands. Remodeled in 1994, our parish works hard at preserving the integrity and beauty of our historic building which celebrates the splendor of God’s beautiful creation on earth.”
In what ways does our parish proclaim the Gospel with its actions?
Our Lady of the Lake’s main ministry is to education – our 135-year history of Catholic schooling. Over the many years, thousands of children have been formed in the Catholic faith through this ministry. In addition, we also have children ages 3 through 18 involved in our vibrant faith formation program. Adult faith formation and devotional ministries include our 24-hour adoration in chapel, Bible study groups, feeding the hungry through our weekly community meals program and local food pantry, ecumenical ministerial association, free holiday meals, and very active Knights of Columbus and Catholic Order of Foresters chapters.
What is something about your parish most people might not know?
Ashland is one of the oldest sites of Catholicism in all of the northern United States, dating to 1650 — yes, that is over 365 years — when Jesuit priests landed with French fur traders at “Mission Springs” on the west side of Ashland. Mass was celebrated at Holy Ghost Church on Ashland’s Maslowski Beach in the early 1650s when the entire region’s economy centered around the fur trade at La Pointe on Madeline Island, and Jesuit priests worked to spread Catholicism throughout the region. The continuous Catholic presence began in the 1850s with missionary ministry from Franciscan sisters and priests in service to Native Americans and many cultures of new European settlers. Over the years, Holy Family Parish, St. Agnes Parish, St. Joseph Catholic Hospital, two grade schools, the DePadua Catholic High School and St. Agnes Cemetery were all established to serve the large local Catholic presence on the south shore of Lake Superior.