History of St. Luke's Parish
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In the early 1960s the Westpark area of Dollard des Ormeaux was growing rapidly. Paul-Emile Cardinal Leger was asked if a local parish could be established. The bilingual parish of St. Luke / St-Luc was canonically erected on July 28, 1964 with about 400 families.
The first weekend liturgies were celebrated in the gymnasium of Dollard-des-Ormeaux School; weekday mass, in a chapel in the home of founding pastor Fr. David McKee. Baptisms, weddings and First Communions were held at Mary Queen of Peace church.
The parish grew and soon a church was needed. The first fund-rasing campaign, under Jim Thompson, netted $36,000. The founding Wardens including Jim, Dave Beasley and Michel Dubois decided that construction should begin. Quebec architect Andre Ritchot and local contractor Marcel Rivard were hired. The estimated cost was $400,000 for church and rectory. St. Luke’s borrowed $400,000.00 from the Toronto Dominion Bank at 5 3/4% interest. The church opened in the summer of 1967. In 1988, the parish centre was added to provide offices and meeting rooms; in 2002, part of the rectory was converted to accommodate Faith First classes, Children’s Liturgy and meetings.
Over the years, parishioners have formed a variety of groups and organizations, including an active Parish Council. In 2003, the Parish Council was disbanded and eight Topic-Specific Councils were formed to coordinate Liturgy, Growth in Faith, Youth and Young Adult activities, Communication, Special Events, Works of Mercy, and Welcoming. Welcoming and Communications later joined forces to become a single Council. Each of these now serves as an umbrella organization for several different groups. In June 2008 a new Parish Pastoral Council (P.P.C.) was formed, its membership comprised of the chairpersons of the individual Councils and the members of the Welcoming and Communications Council. The chairperson of this last is the designated chair of the P.P.C..
The Parish Mission Statement was introduced at all Masses on the weekend of June 12-13, 2004 - one of many projects undertaken to mark St. Luke`s 40th Anniversary year. Large Mission Statement hangings were placed in the church and in the Parish Centre and souvenir bookmarks were distributed to all Mass attendees. (Link to Mission Statement?) A highlight of the Anniversary Year celebration was the Mass for the Feast of Pentecost that was celebrated in the DDO Arena on May 30 and attended by some 700 parishioners. It was followed by a barbecue hosted by the Youth Council.
The Charismatic Prayer Group, founded in 1974; the Meditation group which meets weekly; and twice-yearly Life in the Spirit Seminars have helped to deepen the prayer life of countless parishioners. In the 1980s, more than 400 people attended a series of three-day Parish Renewal weekends, strengthening their faith and prompting them to become actively involved in parish life. ‘Growth in Faith’ programs, Adult Faith Enrichment events, Parish Missions and Retreats, Faith Sharing groups, RCIA and Alpha sessions provide nourishment for the soul and food for reflection. Our Healing Ministry offers teams to pray with those who are in crisis or who have special needs following monthly evening Masses for Healing and once-a-month weekend liturgies. People of all ages participate in the Good Friday Walk of Faith - an important ecumenical event that brings members of local churches together - and in the many different parish ministries.
The Catholic Women’s League (CWL) provides opportunities for women to form friendships; to serve others within the parish and beyond ; to be actively involved in current day issues; and to grow spiritually. CWL has donated the funds to provide many furnishings for the church: an electric organ, vestments, microphones, sound mixers for the P.A. system, the materials for the Jubilee banner that hangs over the altar, the four candelabra that commemorate the Consecration ceremony - and it has contributed to the refurbishing of the Monstrance and the purchase of the large cross in the sanctuary. (Of interest to longtime Montrealers is the fact that this last was procured from St. Augustine’s Church in Notre Dame de Grace at the time of its closure.) The League also paid for an electric stove and microwave for the parish hall kitchen; blinds and a carpet for the library; the renovation of the washrooms in the parish hall; and an outdoor storage cabana in the garden behind the rectory.
St. Luke’s has a strong Faith First program for its children; Children’s and Youth Choirs; and regular meetings, activities and helping-others projects, (e.g. Christmas baskets), for the various youth groups. Large numbers of teenagers and young adults attend World Youth Day events with the help, support and presence of dedicated parish Youth Ministers and some financial help from parishioners. We rejoice in our diverse cultures which are celebrated with ethnic foods and entertainment on "Multicultural Sunday" every second year. Our ‘Helping Others’ programs offer not only local emergency aid, but support major projects abroad. Past involvements include the building of 57 homes in India in 2000 and the building of a school in Malawi in 2005. We continue to contribute to the needs of this last by sending regular containers of clothing, school supplies and electronic equipment at intervals. In 2007, St. Luke's added a nutrition wing to Katete Hospital - also in Malawi - for the convenience of patients' families. Hospitals in that country are few and far between and are unable to provide food for their patients. The added hospital segment provides mothers, in particular, with a space to cook for their loved ones and to sleep. In the winter of 2010, parishioners raised $22,000.00 to contribute to disaster relief for Haiti.
Beginning in the Fall of 1997 occasional newsletters entitled La Vie a St-Luc / Life at St. Luke’s were mailed out to all registered parishioners, but this venture proved to be too costly in terms of manpower and money and the final edition was published in the Fall of 2001. With the launching of the parish web site in the spring of 2009 parish news, announcements and general information became available to anyone interested - at the click of a mouse! This was a major project undertaken by the Welcoming and Communications Council which remains responsible for overseeing its content. The web site is a work-in-progress and comments, criticisms and contributions from readers are always welcomed by our webmaster who strives to keep all facets of the site updated.
St. Luke`s Parish marked its 45th Anniversary Year with the Consecration of the church building and the altar by Jean-Claude Cardinal Turcotte on October 17, 2009 - a memorable occasion and one of thanksgiving and jubilation for the closely knit `family’ of St. Luke’s. The event was well attended by enthusiastic parishioners and invited guests including local dignitaries, clergy and former parish clergy. A souvenir DVD of the ceremony was produced and may be ordered by sending email to .
The same year, an FM system was installed to enable the hearing impaired to fully participate in liturgical celebrations and other events taking place in the church. As a parish, St. Luke’s is sensitive to the special needs of disabled parishioners and guests and is eager to learn of ways in which their needs may be met.
Volunteer help is always needed and new parishioners are invited to join organizations which accommodate their interests and availability and in which they can best develop and use their gifts and talents. For more detailed information about the various organizations and / or the names of contact persons, please click on the web site Councils tab or request a copy of the Parish Directory from the parish office.
*Written by Catherine Cherry in May 2000
This banner is suffused with prayer. Throughout, we offered our questions, our discernment, and each stitch – for the healing, reconciliation, and spiritual growth of every member in our parish community.
Originally we pondered: What do you put on a Jubilee banner? What message should it embody? We decided that the statement of paramount import was: "And God so loved the world that God sent his only son". Thus we centered the world and surrounded it with a large heart. It is within this center, this world, that God’s act of love 2000 years ago was and will be made manifest. Thus, this center will change seven times throughout the liturgical year. At first it will encompass the Star, then Jesus on mission, Jesus in the bread and wine, a stark cross, a resurrected cross, the dove and flames of Pentecost, and finally Jesus as the tree of life.
We began with the Star, the symbol of all those who look up and try to discern the presence of God in their own lives and God’s loving action in the world. Even today wise men and wise women follow the way of the light, the wise follow the star to Christ. Thus, all those of the age of wisdom, all those over seventy, who led the way for us, came up on the last Sunday before Christmas to place silver streamers, shining star dust, on our star.
After the Epiphany, the star was replaced by Jesus – a Jesus, arms outstretched in welcome as he began his mission. Before Jesus was placed on the banner, everyone in the parish was invited to sign his robe. This way we were in Christ, and could be Christ to the world. Lacking hands and feet, we were to be his hands and feet in the world.
On Holy Thursday, a chalice and paten were placed over his heart – as he gave himself to us in the bread and wine.
The stark cross of Good Friday gave way to the vibrant resurrected cross of Easter Sunday – a mosaic made from two inch squares of fabric donated by each of the parishioners – so that we too are part of the resurrected cross of Christ.
At Pentecost, the world is aflame with the Spirit of God. Later in the summer, we recognize creation in all its glory. Jesus becomes a large tree out of whose arms flow branches, leaves and fruit of all kinds. All of this is centered within the five-foot circle of the world.
This world is held so gently and yet so firmly within God’s hands – a strong male hand, and a gentle feminine hand. This feminine hand points down to the stories of God’s faithfulness to all generations: our first parents, the tree of life, and along the bottom, the waters – the primal waters of life, of Noah and the flood, of the parting of the Red Sea, and ultimately of our Baptism. On the right, beneath the rainbow, the symbol of God’s steadfast covenant of love, rest the stone tablets, the Ten Commandments of Moses, represented by the first ten letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
Above the world, and decorating one arm of God, is the symbol of the Jubilee: the five coloured doves overlaying the cross of Christ. As this interlocked circle of doves represent the presence of the Spirit of God throughout the world, we were inspired to make the five people on the banner the colours of the doves, for the Spirit is present, alive, and subanimates all peoples.
Beside this decorated arm is a large sun radiating the light and warmth of the son of God who sustains and motivates the family on the road to the right, as they head off on mission. They have been illuminated by Spirit of the Son of God.
If we too have been illuminated by the Spirit of God, what then is our mission in this year of the Jubilee? Why, it is to proclaim the Good News that "God so loved the world he sent his only son. 2000 years ago God sent Jesus to declare his steadfast love to all generations".
The Genesis of St. Luke's Parish
This is a retelling of the St. Luke history as it was lived by many parishioners. It was presented at the Ministering to Ministers workshop held in October 2010.
In the beginning, the Spirit of God hovered over the Christians of the West Island. His Spirit instilled in the hearts of the citizens of Dollard-des-Ormeaux the desire to found a parish; a parish that would, without reservation, welcome the two founding cultures of this country with full confidence.
The citizens listened to their hearts and approached the Archbishop with this request so that the needs and wishes of the people of this new town would be met. The Cardinal accepted their proposal and the parish St Luke/St Luc, was created.
God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
The parishioners practiced their faith and celebrated the Eucharist in a school gymnasium. Soon the request for a more worthy place of worship was voiced. From that moment, funds were raised, a framework and plans were proposed; all kinds of ideas were tabled and discussed to determine the style - modern or traditional - that our building would eventually project. Many people took up the challenge and worked, some of them almost full time, to ensure the realisation of this house of worship.
God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
The construction phase of the church building was completed in 1964. The parishioners were filled with gratitude for the good work done by the pastor, the wardens and the many who worked so hard at getting many different tasks accomplished with great success.
Through the years, many different pastors ministered to the congregation. We knew that God was always present through His Spirit in the parish. The times were good, the community increased and the town grew.
God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
As the Spirit of God heightened in the hearts of the priests, deacons and lay people the desire to start a Parish Renewal program at St Luke’s was sparked. Many parishioners participated in the three year process of Parish Renewal. The participants came through it with changed hearts, with open minds and with a new understanding of what a parish really is. This newly acquired knowledge inspired their tender hearts to understand that they themselves are the parish. They again accepted the challenge and responded with enthusiasm as they became real stewards of their parish.
God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
Individually we were guided by the Spirit, who transformed and welled up in us a desire to initiate activities of all kinds. Evangelisation for the young adults, prayer groups and Bible sharing groups; events to celebrate our different cultures and the mutual respect that we have for one another. Wonderful liturgical celebrations took place in the local arena in order to accommodate large numbers of participants and special festivities followed. To ensure the transmission of faith at all levels new personnel were hired. Youth groups were formed. These young people were and are filled with energy and a deep love of God. They are animated by people who live their faith and celebrate it with enthusiasm. Together they participate actively in the life of the parish. More choirs were formed for Sunday and other liturgies.
Groups such as the CWL contribute generously to the physical needs of the parish that become necessities every year. Many additional activities have added much life to this parish. Many organizations and Councils continue to animate the Christian life of the parish today.
God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
God wanted more for his children at St. Luke. He knows that the Spirit can animate us, his children, to spread the Good News to more people; to improve the lot of those less fortunate; and to strive to sensitize others around us to a new awareness of God’s love for us all. He is calling us to His service.
Through the Holy Spirit, God fosters our desire to serve in venues other than the ones in which we are now serving. He opens our minds to the multiple possibilities now before us. We in turn, see the needs and spaces that need filling here at St. Luke’s.
God knows that, guided by the His Holy Spirit, we will do our utmost to better serve Him by identifying those needs and taking action to fill the voids; by creating the missing pieces of the puzzle before us; and by seeking out the sometimes hidden needs to make them a reality to which we can attend.
God is asking His Spirit to fill our hearts with a strong desire to engage ourselves in the life of St Luke’s so that together we may take up the challenge of evangelisation.
God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
On the seventh day, God rested… and now God calls us to be His hands, His feet, His arms, His eyes and His voice to others.
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- Copy of the official Decree from Cardinal Léger creating St. Luke's Parish on July 28, 1964.
- New Catholic Parish for Dollard, News and Chronicle, August 1964
- 1965 Land Fund Campaign, The North Shore News, February 25, 1965
- St. Luke's site is chosen, The North Shore News, June 17, 1965
- Dollard Gets a Church, Canadian Style, The Montreal Star, October 29, 1966
- St. Luke's parishioners vote to accept new church design, The North Shore News, 1966
- The First Mass, The First Bulletin, et. al.
- Pastors and Assistants 1964-current
- 40th-50th Anniversary Mass at the DDO Arena
- Friendship Sunday at St. Luke's - 1982/1983
- Parish is a model of English-French unity, The Catholic Register, March 3, 1990
Chuck McCallum, who was one of the early wardens (seated on the left in this picture), had written some personal accounts of the early days of St. Luke's through a series of emails sent to Fr. Roger Martineau. As he himself admitted in his introduction, the facts may not be accurate but the stories are very interesting and thoroughly entertaining.
- Installment 1: How Dave McKee was trapped into becoming the founding Pastor and how the Pastor of the parish church on Pierrefonds Blvd. was blindsided by the diocese when St. Luke’s was created.
- Installment 2: How we raised $50000 on a single Sunday afternoon in 1964 equivalent to $303000 today and how we won a bottle of Cognac from the (I believe) Monsigneur who was the diocese financial guru.
- Installment 3: How we had to dissuade the Jews from burning down the Dollard city hall because they believed the politicians were persecuting the Catholics.
- Installment 4: Why the Mounties spied on a late night warden celebration.
- Installment 5: How we acquired a curate.
- Installment 6: How I was organist at the very first wedding in the church even though I can’t play the organ.
- Installment 7: How we chose the architect and why we battled over the mortar between the field stone bricks which form the walls.