History of the Parish

The Archdiocese of Miami

     Archbishop Coleman F. Carroll, the founding bishop of Miami, established Our Lady of Mercy in June, 1974. The parish was created from the existing churches of St. Ambrose and St. Elizabeth of Hungary. Archbishop Carroll appointed Reverend Leonard Stachura as the founding pastor. The first Mass was celebrated at Deerfield Beach High School and forty six families attended. In 1978, the Reverend Wendel Schenley became pastor and the parish meet in store-front space rented on North Dixie Highway in Pompano Beach. Father Schenley worked tirelessly for the development of the new parish community, personally building altar appointments for the growing congregation.

     In 1980, Reverend Michael Reilly was appointed pastor and oversaw the move to Crystal Lake Country Club for Masses for the now 386 families. In 1982, ground was broken for the first building on the present site at North Military Trail and the first Mass was celebrated on Christmas Eve that year. Reverend Peter Lambert became the fourth pastor in 1988. He energetically updated the interior of the church and facilities.

     In 1995, Reverend Michael Sullivan began a program of liturgical and pastoral improvement to serve the parish which included renovating the chapel, renewing the church liturgically and adding a much needed Parish Center. Monsignor James Parappally was appointed pastor in June 2003 and furthered the work of his successors in developing the Catholic identity of the parish with stained glass windows, altar accoutrements, and a new façade for the church reflecting the identity of the namesake of the parish.

     Reverend Kenneth D. Whittaker was appointed as the seventh pastor in 2010. Addressing the parishioners, Father Whittaker spoke of the work each does in the Church; it is the work of “our day” for it continues the tradition begun before us which will succeed after our work is done. That continuity of growth and development for priests, parishioners, and faithful all is the foundation for the life of the parish and the measure by which each will be accountable for their labor in the vineyard of the Lord.

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Continuity of Growth

Help us continue the growth of our parish and enrich your life by participating actively in the different Ministries of the Parish...