Dear Mom and Dad • September 17, 2023

It is with Open Arms that I welcome you here today! 

Pope Francis has made it clear that the Catholic Church’s doors are wide OPEN to anyone and everyone – but this is nothing new at Our Lady of Lourdes! We have long been a church that welcomes ALL- rich, poor, LGBT+, straight, documented, undocumented, pierced, inked, all religious traditions and everyone in-between (make sure you read Our Welcome cards.)

As Pastor of this community, I am grateful that you are visiting us today.  Part of our vision is to be a church where people can truly belong.  We want to be a church where you can know others and be known.  It is a church where we can love and be loved. At Our Lady of Lourdes, we strive to be a church where people can know they are loved by God, AND RESPOND TO THAT LOVE  by loving others.

I have asked folks why they come to our parish.  These are some of the responses: 

“By coming here, I’ve learned how to truly make a difference in our community. I never knew that justice and mission were so important to being a Christian”.

“I always leave church feeling uplifted, even when your message is a bit challenging!” (I think they phrased it as nice as they could!)

“I have been going to church for 70 years. I have learned more in a few months than I have in my whole life.  I wanted to understand scripture better and finally, by listening to your message (homilies) here every Sunday, I can honestly say that I do. I finally understand the bible isn’t a newspaper nor a history book! I got it!”

“The music and energy here keep me energized for the entire week.  Even though I attend, I listen to Mass all week from YouTube.”

“My son is gay, and I love that when he visits me, he enjoys coming to church with me, knowing he is  truly welcome. I wish there was a church for him where he lives”.

“I was divorced over 25 years ago, and I felt I was no longer wanted at church. I am so glad I feel welcomed here and know that I am not excommunicated.”

“I look forward to coming back to Church each week and connecting with so many people. I really feel I have more friends in my life than ever before.”

“I enjoy after Mass gathering week after week in the café.  I really feel I belong.”

If you are searching for a community, where faith makes a difference in your life, then I encourage you to continue to check us out here at Lourdes.  I can’t promise that your life will change overnight, but I can promise you this; your life WILL change!  When we open ourselves to the love of God and when we are fed by understanding the message of Jesus Christ, we can’t help but respond to God’s love.  This year our theme is to connect, belong and change the world.  Being a community is not only about ourselves but how we go beyond ourselves to make our lives and the lives of those around us better.  We are here to serve our community of Volusia County.

I hope you will join us here at Our Lady our Lourdes on our journey of faith together, where “we love the God we cannot see by loving the neighbor we can.”

If you have further questions, I am hosting “Ask Father Phil anything” Thursday, September 21st at 6:30 PM Café.  I will do my best to answer your questions about our community.  I do believe we live the questions together.

I really do believe “Love lives here” and would love for you to share in the joy of that love.


Fr. Phil

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