Founded in 1965 to serve the growing Catholic community of southern Jefferson County, St Luke began a journey, a journey of faith and endurance.
On May 4, 1964 Father Vincent J. Manger received a letter from Archbishop Floersh instructing him to establish the parish of St. Luke Catholic Church. Fr. Manger was our first pastor.
The first Mass was held on August 8, 1965 at St. Rita Catholic Church. St. Rita also provided space for the first parish meeting in August, the first card party in September and the first CCD class.
The rectory was completed in June of 1966 and the first Mass was held in the rectory basement.
Construction was begun on the church/education building in July 1966. The new church was completed in time for Mass to be celebrated on Christmas 1966. The pews were not delivered until March of 1967.
Bishop Maloney dedicated St. Luke Catholic Church at the 10:30am Mass on April 23, 1967.
During the 60’s Bingo was held at Swiss Hall; the first on site dance was held and the Teen Club was formed. Boy Scout Troop 397 and the Brownies were begun. Choir practice began.
In 1968 the Stations of the Cross were installed and the sacrament of Confirmation was conferred for the first time in March of 1968. The parking lot was blacktopped and the ball field was taking shape.
The garage was completed in April of 1969.
The 1970’s brought the first Saturday Mass; the first meeting of the Mother’s Club and the LUC (Lectors-Ushers) Men’s Club; and the first Parish Council elections. Bingo was held in St. Luke’s Hall.
Daniel Patterson became our first deacon in 1976. In 1976 thoughts turned to beginning a parish school, something that had been a dream since the inception of the parish. Parents petitioned and were denied their request to begin a parish school.
Finally in April 1977, Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Fr. Joseph McGee announced that Archbishop McDonough had granted permission to open St. Luke Catholic School. The school opened in September 1978 with Elizabeth Berry as principal. Soon after Miss Berry was received into the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. She stayed on as principal.
In June of 1982, Fr. Manger retired after 45 years in the priesthood, the last seventeen as pastor of St. Luke. Father died in November 1993.
Fr. John W. Birk became the second pastor of St. Luke in June of 1982 and Mrs. Elizabeth Kenobbie was hired as the principal of the school.
Our associate pastor, Fr. Aloysius Robben retired in May of 1985 and continued to reside at St. Luke until his death in 1988.
In 1986 the first class to complete all eight grades at St. Luke graduated; our church was remodeled and our church bell was erected.
Bishop Maloney, who celebrated our dedication Mass with us in 1967, was back to celebrate Mass for our 25th anniversary. in 1989. Archbishop Kelly visited us at the afternoon parish picnic.
The 1990’s were a challenging time for St. Luke. Due to rising costs and a decline in enrollment, the school was forced to close in 1993. We became a member of Thomas Merton Academy, a school which represented four parishes: Guardian Angels, Resurrection, St. Ignatius and St. Luke. Thomas Merton is now closed.
The same year, 1993, Fr. Richard Berding became our third pastor and Fran Sohl became our Director of Religious Education. With the closing of the school the parish was headed in a different direction. New programs were implemented, including a three parish Religious Education program, Junior and Senior Youth Ministries, RCIA program, Children’s Liturgy, Sunday evening Holy Hour and Vacation Bible School, and the Sociables (senior group) was reactivated.
Just as we were getting our footing we were faced with the Archdiocesan reorganization plan in 1995. This is a period when parishes were being closed. St. Luke was on the closure list and successfully petitioned the Archdiocese to remain open. So we continued on.
Then on January 17, 1997 St. Luke Church and Education Center were completely destroyed by fire. So we were faced with “rising from the ashes” again. Archbishop Kelly was present for the groundbreaking ceremony for the new St. Luke Church complex on October 19, 1997.
During these years, from January 1997 until June 2000 Mass was held on Sunday mornings at Knights of Columbus Hall and outdoors in the spring and summer on Saturdays on parish grounds. Children’s Church was held on Sunday mornings in the bar at Knights of Columbus Hall. Religious Education classes were held at Guardian Angels Parish and other meetings were held at the rectory or in parishioners homes. The parish office was in the basement of the rectory. St. Rita’s and St. Jerome allowed us to have our summer picnics on their property. The concession stand was rebuilt in 1998 and softball leagues began in the Spring.
On June 10, 2000 Archbishop Thomas Kelly celebrated the Dedication Mass at the new St. Luke Catholic Church. Deacon Charles Walther was assigned to St. Luke and served as our deacon until his death in November of 2006.
In 2005 Fr. Rick Berding, after serving twelve years as our pastor, left due to illness. Fr. Berding passed away in September of 2007. Our new Archbishop, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz had the Mass of Christian Burial for Fr. Rick. at St. Luke.
Fr. Thomas Hommrich was assigned as our pastor and Fr. Kenneth Fortner as associate pastor in June 0f 2005. Fr. Fortner resided in the rectory at St. Luke. Fr. Hommrich was also the pastor of Mother Seton Parish.
Fr. Joseph Rankin was assigned as our pastor in June of 2007. Fr. Rankin is also the pastor of St. Rita. At the same time Joan’e D’Haene became our Pastoral Associate and Roger Costello signed on as Business Manager. In 2008 Traci Ware was hired as our parish secretary. Debbie Minton serves as our Director of Religious Education and John Sohl heads up our regional Circle of Life Youth group.
Now in 2017 we are a parish that is growing. One of the biggest changes we see today is more regional planning of programs and activities.
At the same time, many opportunities to worship our God and be of service to our fellow man remain at the parish level : such as serving on the parish council, formation committee, worship committee, finance committee, bereavement committee or cleaning crew; being a lector, communion minister, choir member or server; decorating the church, working at the ball field, chicken dinners, summer picnic and card party; being a greeter before Mass, serving on the phone tree or volunteering in the office; working with the St. Vincent de Paul Conference of St. Luke, the RCIA program, Religious Education and Sacraments programs; or enjoying the friendships in the Men’s Club and Sociables Senior group.
We have come full circle. As we began our journey as a parish, St. Rita was there to help us. Now we share a pastor with St. Rita as well as staff and programs.