Syro-Malabar Catholic families started their immigration to USA in the early sixties. They came in search of better opportunities and living conditions. They settled in major cities mainly. As time went on, seeing the dedication of the Kerala people in workplaces, job opportunities were offered in different states and cities. Though Raleigh, North Carolina was less known in the earlier immigration times, one or two families reached North Carolina. Many more families, mainly families of nurses, landed in Raleigh-Durham area during the nineties.
In 1997, Rev. Fr. Philip Kollithanath began to celebrate Liturgy and organize Syro-Malabar faithful at the request of enthusiastic Syro-Malabarians. Syro-Malabar Qurbana was celebrated every second Saturdays, and the fellowship continued to grow. People from all over neighboring places joined for Qurbana and other religious meetings, with great enthusiasm.
Seeing the job opportunities and facilities of study at the North Carolina Universities, many more families chose Raleigh as a favorite place. Moderate climate also was a reason to choose North Carolina. By 2006, more and more people began to settle in Raleigh-Durham-Oxford areas. A request was sent for regular Syro-Malabar Qurbana to Mar Jacob Angadiath, Bishop of Saint Thomas Syro-Malabar Diocese, who promptly agreed to send priests from Chicago to celebrate Syro-Malabar Qurbana. Holy Qurbana used to be celebrated at St. Mathew’s Church Durham once a month. Meanwhile the number of people moving to Raleigh area increased due to favorable climate.
In 2008, Mar Jacob Angadiath visited the community and seeing the enthusiasm, agreed to send a resident priest for the community. In October 2008, Rev. Fr. Augustine Kizhakkedam was appointed as the Mission Director. He began living in a rented apartment, and daily Liturgy was celebrated at the apartment. The new mission was named “Lourdes Matha Syro-Malabar Catholic Church.” A synagogue was partially rented for liturgical celebrations; occasionally, Liturgical celebrations were conducted in various other places due to the unavailability of the rented Synagogue. Realizing the need of an own church, the parishioners began to pray and collect funds for the realization of the dream.
in 2011, the present building was bought and renovated by the dedicated members. The generosity of the parishioners will surely be rewarded by the Almighty. On 27th November 2011, Mar Jacob Angadiath consecrated the new parish church and dedicated it for the worship of God Almighty. Rev. Fr. Augustine Kizhakkedam was appointed as the first vicar and the mission was raised to the status of a parish: “Lourdes Matha Syro-Malabar Catholic Church”.
2012: Rev. Fr. Paul Chalissery takes up the yoke from Rev. Fr. Augustine in the month of November. Fr. Paul organized the children and youth. Requirement of more space for catechism classes and youth activities was felt. Fr. Paul began to work for the expansion of the facility.
2014: In February 2014, Rev. Fr. Paul was appointed as the diocesan financial officer and Rev. Fr. Joby Joseph Chelakunnel was appointed as the new vicar. Much of the expansions were executed during his time: the parish hall was constructed; a new rectory building was bought. The parish grew up into a period of self-sufficiency.
2018: In July 2018, Rev. Fr. Joby was transferred to Infant Jesus Syro-Malabar Church Sacramento, CA. Fr. Kuriakose Vadana took charge as the vicar on July 12th, 2018. The dedicated community continues its journey with regular liturgical celebrations and other programs for the overall progress of the parish.