Crucifix copyOur Lady of the Lakes
507 West Main St.
Balsam Lake, WI 54810
Phone: 715-405-2253
Number of households: 225
Pastor: Fr. Gene Murphy
Weekend Masses: Saturday: 6 p.m.; Sunday: 8:30 a.m

Describe your faith community
“The core and heart of our parish is our liturgy and the sacraments. Our faith community is a combination of three parishes that became one. They were Our Lady of the Pines, Balsam Lake; St. Patrick, Centuria; and Holy Rosary, which was located to the east of Balsam Lake in the Georgetown area.
The three parishes worked together and built a church for our new cluster upon the land where previously Our Lady of the Pines was located. It was built to accommodate our many summer visitors, who are a vital part of our church.
Each spring we welcome the ‘snow birds’ back to the lake. We form many friendships with our summer visitors that last year after year. They are indeed a part of our faith community.”

“When visitors come to our parish …
…they will always find a parking spot and a hearty welcome by our ushers and other parishioners in our narthex. Our parishioners want them to feel welcome. The core and heart of our parish is a well-prepared liturgy. There are always ushers, an organist, a cantor or the choir, a reader, and ample eucharistic ministers.

If the summer visitors stay throughout the season, they are invited to be a part of the service of the hospitality following the Mass on Sunday mornings. There are various other ways to participate in our activities. In July there is a garage sale; in August we have our parish festival.

Ours is a community-based church and there is vacation bible school, along with the Lutherans and Methodists. Late in summer we sometimes have a picnic in the park to say goodbye to our summer people. We have kept our community service busy in the winter with an area choir that has performed for 20 years.”

In what ways does your parish proclaim the Gospel with its actions?
“When people register they are given a pamphlet with the heads of various committees listed to acquaint them with the parish and what it has to offer. They receive a small gift bag with business cards and pamphlets that advertise what is available in our town and the surrounding area.

“We open our church to the Red Cross for their blood collection. Many parishioners volunteer to work at the blood drive.

“Our Knights of Columbus are active and raise money. They also ring bells for the Salvation Army. This past year our youth also helped with the bell ringing. The Knights give away nearly all of their money to people in need.

“The CCW serves a dinner at each funeral, chooses a Pax Christi recipient to represent our parish, gives gifts to first communicants, presents Bibles to students preparing for confirmation, recognizes seniors as they graduate, and works at parish events. In June they set out a baby playpen and post a list of what is needed by the Tri-County Life group in Osceola.

“The prayer shawl ministry makes prayer shawls, Alzheimer’s blankets, and baby afghans that are given out at baptism. Another group makes rosaries for people in Third World countries.

“We work hard to proclaim the Gospel by our works and our friendship.”

What is something that most people might not know about your parish?
“One of our priests was Native American. The Town of Gordon is located in Douglas County, which is on Lake Superior. This town was named after the grandfather of Fr. Phillip Gordon, the Indian Priest. In May 1924, Fr. Gordon, one of 14 children, was appointed pastor of St. Patrick Church, Centuria, and St. Theresa, which was out on Long Lake.

“One day, when he was a child, his parents went to town and Phillip was supposed to stay with the younger children. When his parents came home, some of the children were crying. Phillip had taken the curtains off the window and made himself a priest’s robe. The children said, ‘Ma, Phil made us pray all day.’
“There are members of the current parish who were baptized, confirmed and married by Fr. Gordon. In 1954, the church at Long Lake was moved into the Village of Balsam Lake and named Our Lady of the Pines. That church, along with St. Patrick, which was rebuilt, was used until our new one was dedicated in 2003.”