Founded in 1948, Our Lady of Fatima began with a group of women called the Ladies Guild who held events to raise money to purchase the land and build the church from scratch. The same design from 1948 was still present at 6 Cottonwood Rd. until recently when the church underwent a restoration.
“The parish began with very dedicated women who wanted a parish in this part of Port Washington,” said today’s pastor Father Steve Peterson. “The first pastor was Father Joseph McGoldrick and since him there have been about 12 pastors or administrators.”
Today’s parish has two nuns, one as the director for faith formation and Director of Parish Social Ministry Kathy Sommerville. Music Director Helen Mochwart leads the choir of 10 to 12 singers each week and prepares the hymns. The parish also has different advisory groups including a pastoral council, a liturgy committee and a leadership committee.
“The reason for the advisory groups is that we are supposed to share wisdom with each other before we make decisions,” said Peterson. “They are all very interested in the welfare of the parish.”
The parish of about 800 families holds community events throughout the year like brunches, hospitality Sundays each month, parish picnics and garage sales.
“Every month there is another event that takes places,” said Peterson. “The families are very supportive, sharing their gifts and sharing their treasure.”
The Parish Social Ministry meets each week to reach out to those in need around the community. Families recently came up with the idea to start a wheel barrel collection where parishioners put extra pocket change in a wheel barrel placed at the back of the church. The change collected will go to the food pantry.
“Folks will come who might need food or help with bills,” said Peterson. “They might need help with expenses or to get advice. Our food pantry is open Monday to Thursday every week. We figured out we help about 90 families a month.”
The church is in the process of being restored, with phase one of two complete. Phase one focused on restoring the main part of the church, adding new pews, redoing the walls, floors and replacing the organ.
“It was a major undertaking,” said Peterson. “We’re looking to start phase two, where we will restore the wing of the church. That will involve new seating and the addition of four rooms. There will be a meeting room to hold parish meetings, a new reconciliation room, a room for children and a handicapped accessible bathroom.”
Masses in the newly restored church are held on Saturday at 5 p.m. in English and 7 p.m. in Spanish. Sunday masses are held at 8, 10 and 11:30 a.m. in English only. There is also mass held Mon. through Fri. at 8 a.m.
“The idea of the parish is that we try to welcome everyone,” said Peterson.