History of Our Lady of Lourdes
The dedication of Our Lady of Lourdes Church was held at 11 o’clock Sunday, Oct. 26, 1941 with His Excellency, the Most Rev. James E. Kearney, Bishop of Rochester.
The exterior is of seam face stone, quarried in Ithaca, with Indiana limestone trim. The outer doors are of heavy studded oak. The rear of the church is of Appalachian white oak with walnut finish. The roof over the nave is a scissors truss with composition plank ceiling.
The most striking feature of the interior is a replica of the grotto at Lourdes, France, which forms a background for the table altar of extreme simplicity. The grotto was designed to duplicate in smaller scale the site where the Blessed Virgin appeared to St. Bernadette at Lourdes. The cavern-like apartment was made of plaster of parish and hemp, modeled and assembled in sections. A statue of the Blessed Virgin stands at a high level while a statue of St. Bernadette in kneeling position is at a lower level. The altar is of wood with a white finish. The tabernacles of the main and side altars are of polished hammered bronze. The Gospel side altar is dedicated to the Sacred Heart while the Epistle Side altar is dedicated to St. Joseph and the Child.
The Stations of the Cross are oil paintings on copper plate, having gold leaf background with a mosaic finish. They are copies of work of an Australian artist.
In 1950, thanks to the generosity of the parishioners, three stained glass windows were installed by the Pike Stained Glass Studios of Rochester. The center window depicts the Blessed Virgin holding the Infant Jesus, Angels are shown in the two side panels, one holding her crown as Queen of Heaven and the other with a smoking censer. At the top of the gothic-arched glass panels are symbols of the Blessed Trinity. In the center section, hands above The Madonna symbolize God The Father. In one side section is shown a lamb, representing God the Son and in the other there is a dove, representing the Holy Ghost. Other smaller windows were installed through the years.
The first steps in a campaign to raise a $125,000 for a new school and convent began on Dec. 4, 1954. The original building plans were to construct a two story 214 foot long by 92 foot long structure made of field stone to match the church exterior. The first floor was to be a “modern” 8 classroom school, complete with audio visual room, library and kindergarten for 300 students. The second floor was to be a convent to accommodate 8 nuns, complete with chapel, and include a combination gymnasium and auditorium. Plans were revised in 1955 for the current separate properties that allotted for a more residential type convent and ample parking space. And the story goes on.
History of St. Casimir’s Church
Polish immigrants who came from Europe first settled into the Tioga County of Pennsylvania working in the coal mines migrated to the Elmira area. In 1890 they constructed the first St. Casimir’s Church which was a small wooden structure located on Roe Ave. As the number of parishioners increased, it became necessary to build a larger church.
In 1912 the present red brick edifice facing Davis St. was dedicated and opened for services. The exterior is of Romanesque design, while the interior is neo-gothic. The most striking features are the carved wooden altar and pulpit. The stained glass windows were installed in the 1950s. Two lovely hand paintings adorn the ceilings.
Building renovations were done in preparation for the Centennial in 1990. During these renovations, the construction of the Divine Mercy Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapel was completed in the basement of the church.
History of St Charles Borromeo Church
After a 1892 lottery of residential and factory sites, the Village of Elmira Heights was incorporated in 1896. St. Charles Borromeo Church was launched in 1897 as a mission of St. Mary Our Mother in Horseheads. The first Mass was held in a home at 245 Prescott Ave. Later Masses were held regularly at the Odd Fellows Room on Oakwood Ave. the hall was rented for $2 per week and the Priest arrived at the church by horse and buggy carrying the Altar stone with him. Parishioners then returned the stone to Horseheads each Sunday afternoon via the Lake Road trolley.
In January, 1905, the first church was opened at 201 Grand Central Avenue. An addition and stained glass windows were added around 1925. St. Charles was established as a parish in 1935.
The present rectory building at 130 Oakwood Ave. was purchased in 1945 and the church present church was built in 1959, dedicated in May 1960.
Christ the Redeemer