June 21, 2012

Oakland County parish and school fulfill 12-year project through Changing Lives Together

Dennis Strelchuk (left), a member of the Changing Lives Together leadership team at Our Lady of the Lakes, discusses the campaign with Archbishop Vigneron and Father Delonnay

Rev. Lawrence Delonnay has been pastor of Our Lady of the Lakes in Waterford for 18 years, the last 12 involving a steadily successful effort to prioritize and fulfill improvements to the church and school campus. The parish began a strategic planning effort in 2000 which, with updates along the way, has largely been achieved with Changing Lives Together providing the opportunity to cross the finish line.

“We started our first campaign more than a decade ago, which enabled us to build a $2.5 million parish hall and make a bunch of repairs and renovations to the church including a $750,000 roof,” explained Father Delonnay. “When the opportunity to participate in Changing Lives Together came along, we joined right away, because we really needed to renovate our school,” he added.

Our Lady of the Lakes School students helped with campaign visibility in the parish and school.

Enrollment has been steady at Our Lady of Lakes Catholic School, which has more than 500 pre-K through 12th grade students attending this fall. “We hope the improvements will help us increase enrollment and provide a better academic environment for all our students,” said Father Delonnay.

Over 500 parish households have pledged more than $830,000 through Changing Lives Together toward a $1 million goal for Our Lady of the Lakes. The parish was among the first in the Archdiocese of Detroit to participate in Changing Lives Together, launching its campaign in early 2011. “It really helped that parishioners knew our parish plan, could see the results, and saw that we were committed to making the school a great facility for learning,” said Father Delonnay.

Our Lady of the Lakes students and parishioners gather for Mass

School renovations began in 2010 and are accelerating this summer. “We’re replacing the boilers and every light fixture along with the ceilings and floors,” explained Father Delonnay. “We’re also installing state of the art wireless technology, smart boards in all our classrooms, and new computers in our labs,” he added. “Our students already excel academically and have a great deal of Laker spirit. This makeover will contribute to an atmosphere of pride and excellence. First class technology in a first class learning environment will reward our current students and be a real draw to recruit new students,” he concluded

Updated June 2012

Changing Lives Together is a series of parish campaigns to generate resources to fulfill parish-developed plans and priorities. Learn more about the initiative in your parish.